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Grand Canyon sub 36 hours
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/14/2010 20:46:28 MDT Print View

On my trail run tonight the following scheme was hatched by a voice in my head...I want to run some ideas by anyone who's been Rim to Rim to Rim.

Here's the plan:
1. First or second weekend of this October
2. Drive from Los Angeles to South Rim on Friday after work. I'm off at 2pm so yes, I'll be getting there pretty late.
3. Sleep in the car/wherever at the South Rim.
4. Wake up around 4 or 5 and begin running/hiking the South Kaibab trail.
5. Sleep at North Rim campground.
6. Wake early and run/hike back to the car and drive home...back by some crazy hour on Sunday night/Monday morning.

I want to run the whole thing in a day this Spring and I figured this would be a great recon trip given I've never been there.

I know the mileage/elevation required for going R2R2R in a night and I'm fine with it.

I have the following questions if anyone can help:
1. On the Grand Canyon website it mentions permits by FAX or Mail but not via telephone. Is there a faster way?
2. What are my chances of getting a one night permit for an October Saturday? I have no idea what their peak seasons are. I can't really do a walk-up if I'm getting in late and hitting the trail early.
3. Can I count on finding a place to stealth camp/sleep in the car at the South Rim/South Kaibab trailhead on Friday night?
4. If I want to split the daily mileage equally, is the North Rim the best (or only) place to camp?
5. Most stuff I've read about seasons/weather show mild temps down in the canyon, freezing at night at higher elevations. I've gathered snow and ice aren't an issue yet in October (most sites I've read say snow isn't typically around until December)???
6. I'm going S-N-S because it's what most folks do, but I could just as easily go N-S-N if it makes camping/permitting easier.
I believe North Rim is open through October. ???

Thanks for any advice.
Maybe this won't work on short notice, but I'd love to go if I can put it together...the gas money's in my pocket.

Edited by xnomanx on 09/14/2010 20:51:39 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/14/2010 22:02:09 MDT Print View

1. You don't need a permit to sleep on either rim, or to traverse the canyon.
3. Drive to the Grandview Point parking lot, go to one of the last parking spots on the way out and sleep there. It's dark, it's quiet, it's where hikers park, and no one will bother you. I've done it many times.
5. Who really knows about weather, but it can easily snow on the North Rim any time in October. After mid-October, probability goes up fast.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/14/2010 22:15:25 MDT Print View

That gives me some confidence.

I've been searching and reading tonight and the permitting seems like such a fiasco I've been worried this trip will get shut down before it even starts.

So basically, I'm not "backpacking" the canyon. As far as permits are concerned, I'm sleeping at the rim, day hiking the canyon, sleeping at the other rim, and day-hiking the canyon out?

I was concerned because I read that permits are required not just for overnights, but any nighttime hiking as well. I figured I could take my time, but I guess it just means I'll pick up the pace.

A couple questions:
Looking at the map, Grandview is about 8-10 miles from Yaki Point, the South Kaibab Trailhead. Can I drive to the trailhead from Grandview and leave the car at Yaki for one night?

I noticed on their backcountry zone map that there are adjacent areas to Bright Angel Point designated "At Large Camping". I assume these are the areas that require no permit/reservation?

Thanks Greg.

Edited by xnomanx on 09/14/2010 22:35:30 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Night Hike on 09/14/2010 22:35:55 MDT Print View

I'd plan the trip for a full moon if at all possible. It's much easier hiking (or running) without a lamp in those conditions.

Moon Phases, October 2010
Last Quarter – October 1, 03:52
New Moon – October 7, 18:44
First Quarter – October 14, 21:27
Full Moon – October 23, 01:36
Last Quarter – October 30, 12:46

Just looked it up, for a full moon you'll miss out on the campground at the North Rim still being open.

You might want to include some Yaktrax runners for the North Rim if there is any snow around. I've hiked in November up the Bright Angel from Indian Garden Campground and found icy sections of trail left from mule train urine. What will you be bringing with you to camp at the North Rim? I suggest taking the South Kaibab to the North Rim and returning via the Bright Angel. Indian Garden will have water available.

I know there's not much time but I would recommend a Rim to River to Rim hike from the South Rim as a trial run in learning at least sections of your intended route. If you've never been to the canyon before it's easy to underestimate the vertical gain and how that effects your normal mileage.

Edited by cobberman on 09/14/2010 22:38:19 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/14/2010 22:44:13 MDT Print View

'At Large Camping' are areas with non-designated campsites. You still need a permit to camp in that "zone" for that specific night.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Night Hike on 09/14/2010 22:56:31 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'll miss the moon, but I should be able to do the ~20 miles before dark.

I would probably carry microspikes just in case.

Wouldn't Bright Angel Campground have water too?

I'd be packing as light as possible...probably 7-9 pound base. I'd bring a small mid, 20 degree bag, and down jacket for the North Rim in case of bad weather though.

As for mileage/elevation, I'm pretty sure I'm OK with it.
A regular long run to a local peak: 20 miles round trip, 4,400 foot gain/loss (8800 cumulative), in ~4:30 hours running.
This isn't too far off from a Rim to River to Rim.
I've done other trips with a similar profile:
Onion Valley to Whitney Portal, including Whitney summit in <36 hours, etc.

I'm certainly not trying to overestimate though.

Thanks for all the tips folks. Not sure if this will work on such short notice, but I appreciate it.

Edited by xnomanx on 09/14/2010 22:59:21 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: Night Hike on 09/14/2010 23:04:45 MDT Print View

Good luck. Hope you get to go. Night hiking rocks!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/15/2010 07:24:38 MDT Print View

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/15/2010 07:53:19 MDT Print View

"A couple questions:
Looking at the map, Grandview is about 8-10 miles from Yaki Point, the South Kaibab Trailhead. Can I drive to the trailhead from Grandview and leave the car at Yaki for one night?"

Private cars are not allowed on the Yaki Point road in October. But there is a picnic spot just east of the Yaki Point road you could park at. This assures a waiting car on your return, versus no late bus service to Canyon View.

(Grandview is about 15 minutes away.))

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/15/2010 08:37:24 MDT Print View

I've read those links, thanks John. Skurka's writeup is good, especially his water source data log.

I'll be calling the backcountry office with more questions today. If anyone is interested for future's sake, I'll post what I learn from them.

I'm looking at Saturday, October 9th. My wife says go, my legs feel good, the gas money is in my pocket...
Now if I can just navigate the regulations and the weather doesn't turn nuts that weekend...

Thanks everyone.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/15/2010 09:12:46 MDT Print View

Calling the BCO can be frustrating, depending on the time of day and the number of people waiting at the desk. There are only 2 or 3 rangers to handle all of it.

Just keep trying until you get a voice versus the machine.

Relax. Have Fun. Good Luck.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Grand Canyon sub 36 hours on 09/15/2010 14:13:54 MDT Print View

I just got off the phone with the BCO...

It's all pretty simple actually.

I was told I could park and leave my car at the picnic area on Desert View Drive across from the South Kaibab trailhead, probably the same one you're talking about Greg.

Leaving on Saturday morning, I don't need any permits since I'm not staying in the canyon.
Arriving at North Rim Campground Saturday afternoon/evening, I can get a walk-in site without reservations, which I was told never fill up.
Sunday morning I hike out.

Cool, this just might work!

Edited by xnomanx on 09/15/2010 14:14:52 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
North rim campground on 09/16/2010 15:14:31 MDT Print View

Craig, you know the NR campground is about 3 miles (each way) from the N Kaibab TH, yes? You can either try to hitch, walk the road, or walk the horse trail.

Alternately, you could sneak into the woods not far east or north of the TH and stealth camp. Highly unlikely to be found, especially that time of year.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: North rim campground on 09/16/2010 16:35:11 MDT Print View

No, I didn't know that, thanks David. On the phone they made it sound as if it's right there and I don't have a map set for the area yet.

I was hoping to hide in the woods to camp from the beginning, but not knowing the area I have no idea how much ranger/park service presence there is, where to go, etc.

I guess I'll feel it out and decide when I get there.

Adding 3 miles shouldn't be too much of a deal if I have to, given I'm spending the night as opposed to doing a double crossing in a single day....but I'd rather not.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: North rim campground on 09/16/2010 17:03:50 MDT Print View

North Rim Map

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: North rim campground on 09/16/2010 18:58:37 MDT Print View

Well Craig, I know that hiking an extra 3 miles each way and stealth camping will not be a new experience for you :)