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Grand Canyon- Double Crossing aka "Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim"- BPL Group Run
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brian blair

Locale: Silverado Canyon
Red Patagonia Beanie on 04/16/2012 10:02:34 MDT Print View

Anyone find a red Patagonia beanie? Mine is MIA.



John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: A Northern Perspective on 04/16/2012 10:41:38 MDT Print View

"Going up was slow - it wasn't a problem to keep moving, but this was MUCH more excretion in a day than I've got under my belt before my hiking season has even started."

David, excretion could be the right word for a trip that (kidding you)

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim on 04/16/2012 11:01:02 MDT Print View

I don't know, but I think this might be the most impressive "trip report" I have seen on BPL. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the posts involving this epic adventure, the preparation, the logistics, and the actual hike. I'm in such admiration for all of you that participated, and I look forward to reading everyone's follow-up posts. Congratulations to each and every one of you, regardless of how things went for you individually. To me, just to try such a noble day merits great respect, especially with that weather.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: R2R2R on 04/16/2012 12:02:46 MDT Print View

John V. and I were the only ones who opted for the 5 mile longer Bright Angel version of the RRR. So at the end of the day I guess it made sense that we were the last ones to return to the South Rim.
As we headed down at 5am, the newly fallen snow made the trail sloppy due to the barely freezing temps.
30 minutes down we caught up to a group of 8 ultra runners from Utah who were also attempting the RRR, and we played tag with them most of the day. 4 of them were slightly under dressed (shorts) and wisely decided to turn around about 2/3 of the way up the North Kaibab.
As for our guys, as John and I hit the river, Eugene, who had come down South Kaibab, came running up to us. He had passed by his bridge to cross the river, and I think maybe he had decided 42 miles was not enough and wanted to get in a few more before heading up to the North Rim. Anyway when he met us, he turned around and took off like a lightning bolt back to the bridge.

We met David at Phantom Ranch, and eventually linked up with Adan up until Cottonwood where we met Mike. At that point John and I continued and I think Mike and Adan decided to make it a more leisurely day.
Along the way we met Dan H. who had injured his knee and wisely decided to turn back. It will be there next time.
The conditions were never good, but at least the bottom of the canyon was not freezing.
As we approched the North Rim the cold set in, the wind picked up, we were trudging thru 6 inches of new snow ... yes it was great.
Part way up the North Kaibab we met Marty (Eugene's father in law) and decided to stay together, for the remainder of our trip, to keep an eye on one another during challenging conditions.
As we got higher, Brian and Josh came blazing down the trail. A while later we met Greg in his power walking glory, laughing at the storm. Eventually, Craig, Torrey, and Eugene, and then we were at the north rim, snow picking up, wind picking up, "make this quick and get out of here" were our only thoughts.
John raced down ahead of Marty and I because he was getting chilled and needed warmer weather ASAP. We met him down at the balmy Pump House resort, and all continued on again.
We reached Phantom Ranch at 4:55pm and a dozen people were all milling around outside the general store ... for what ? and then the magic door opened, delicious odors wafted out and a woman began reciting the evening menu (wine included) ... but not for us.

As we left Phantom, I told John the next 10 miles up Bright Angel would probably take 4-4.5 hours. He thought I was joking. We were ultra runners, and while not fast, never go that slow. He soon discovered it wasn't a joke. The relentless up hill, the drizzle which turned to wet snow, the giant puddles on every step, the mud that sucked your foot to the trail and would not let you lift it.

But eventually we made it to the rim, and a quick 200 yd hike got us to the warm cafeteria before closing.
Marty did great, John did great but was near hypothermic and as David started to offer his hotel room floor to us John blurted out an emphatic YES before David could even finsh his sentence (thanks David and Mike for the warm floor).
A great adventure ... and wonderful coffee (beer) mugs to prove it.
and yes, George Mathews was with us all, thanks to the nice remembrance buttons Eugene had made for us to carry.

Edited by asandh on 04/17/2012 11:13:07 MDT.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
A good days work on 04/16/2012 14:18:27 MDT Print View

A good days work.

Craig and I arrived at the South Rim Thursday night and slept under a tarp in the woods nearby. Friday was spent around the fire, eating and drinking a bit more beer than I planned, but this was a fun group to chill with and we had a good time planning our attack on the canyon.

Going into this I overdid it on the training and suffered a bout of ITBS which affected my training big time, especially in the 6 weeks just prior to the run. I decided to stay on it and at least see if I could muster a decent run. The weekend before, I managed a slow 8 mile run before my knee flared up and left me with a long limp back. Not at all promising, but I kept my head in the game for better or worse. Glad I did.

I guess if I had a plan, it was to go slow and try to avoid hurting my knee too bad until I was in the vicinity of the North Rim. Then, i would have no choice but to limp back and complete the run. I started with Eugene, Craig and Dan and immediately they disappeared into the dark abyss as I fell back into an easy shuffle. By the time i reached the river my knee was front and center in my mind and I struggled to keep a good pace from that point on. The pain was manageable though and I eased into a good jog encountering Mike, Art and his buddy John. The four of us worked on the middle section together for a while. This really helped me out, as I could tell that in spite of my increasing knee pain, I was able keep up with them reasonably well and soon Mike and I were watering up at the pumphouse near Roaring Springs with Art and John well ahead of us and moving at an impressive pace.

Mike was going to turn around at Roaring Springs. He was already doubling the longest run he had ever done before, phenomenal work man. I heard that and I was inspired to push on. I filled up my bottles and began limping up to the North Rim. This was not to be however. My knee started to hurt bad right away and with the North Rim just 3 or 4 miles above me, I stopped and wrapped my knee, took some Ibuprofen and waited for the pain to subside which turned out to be a mistake as it stiffened and left me hardly able to walk. So i started the long limp back from there. I could just about see up to the North Rim, it looked like a mess up there and I knew my crew was in for a good one!

On my way back I was able to catch a cool video of Brian and Josh charging down the trail, they were moving! Awesome! This lifted my spirits alot and helped me muster the effort to get out of there. I expected to see the whole group come barreling over me any minute but I did not see anybody until the river where Eugene caught up to me looking strong. I was moving slow and urged him to go on up but he refused, he wanted to stick with me and ensure I made it out okay. I appreciated that big time. Wanting not to slow Eugene down too bad, I stepped up best I could and we made a pretty good climb together reaching the rim just as darkness fell. The whole day was windy and rainy, but the last few hours were the icing on the cake with wind-driven snow and gusts to 40mph. Thanks Eugene, you had my back!

Nobody felt like celebrating, however, as a good part of our crew was still out there. Conditions worsened considerably as night came on and after some nervous waiting on the rim in some pretty hellish conditions, I spotted Craig's light way down in the hole. Him and Torrey were moving up slow but we were glad to see them. Craig also was hit with knee pain and was limping back, so he did the entire thing with knee pain, insane!! Marty, Art and John appeared a bit later as well and everybody breathed a big sigh of relief.

Still smiling thinking about this one. This was a huge learning experience for me and solidified my love for running even more. On the last climb up I swore I would never do this again. After some pizza and a huge beer, I started contemplating the next one. Thanks to Craig for the mugs, Rob for all the hospitality and a warm cup of coffee, everybody, yall are alright in my book.

heading down

the box

almost to Roaring Springs


climbing out

climbing south rim

next morning

Edited by Lopez on 04/18/2012 17:58:56 MDT.

brian blair

Locale: Silverado Canyon
Great photos! on 04/16/2012 14:33:08 MDT Print View

Great photos Adan!

Dan Hewins
(hewinsd) - F

Locale: Chihuahuan Desert
Great day! on 04/16/2012 15:48:14 MDT Print View

It was great meeting, camping and running with you all on Saturday!

As those present know, I managed to get jammed up hopping onto a small bridge heading out of the box canyon and from there started having sharp isolated pain in the medial tendon behind my knee - I'll blame my lack of focus on the beautiful scenery winding up N. Kaibab. I ran on, but the pain stayed with me for several more miles. With no aid stations ahead, and storms on both rims, I decided that I didn't want to have to limp back across the canyon. I got water and ran down N. Kaibab, tanked up again at Phantom, and focused on keeping my legs moving up SK through the rain, hail, snow and wind.

I am still in awe of the enormity of the canyon and roar of the Colorado (that Eugene and I managed to cross 3 times on the day - figure that out...) - I had better pay attention to my footing until that wanes. Overall what sticks with me both about this great day and got to see practically all 4 seasons and several biomes in a matter of roughly 30 miles that I am calling my 'Grand Canyon Marathon/50k'.

I am already looking forward to running with you guys in the (hopefully near) future.

Pre Snow Camp:

And this gal just passin' thru...

Edited by hewinsd on 04/17/2012 17:20:03 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
R2R2R: My Take... on 04/16/2012 18:30:34 MDT Print View

Waiting, waiting, getting closer now, anticipating the sound of the 2:00 bell and the end of my day. Stopping at home, quickly packing, hugs and kisses for the wife and children. She has surprised me with all manner of pre-made food and drink, enough pasta to feed a platoon. Los Angeles traffic now, bouncing in my seat, the car is moving 5 miles per hour but my mind is racing...two hours of driving to pick up Adan.
Darkness, headlights, music and conversation for the next 8 hours, stops along the side of the road on I40...Ludlow, other nondescript roadside gas towns, standing and drinking beers in the desert, watching nighttime trains roll beside us. We finally arrive, set up a quick camp on the Arizona Trail in the the Kaibab at 2:30AM.

Adan and I sleep until 8:30, awakening to overcast skies and mild temps, drive in to get our site now, killing time around camp. Runners start trickling in, the odd and fun task begins of matching faces with online personalities, strangers yet not strangers, all good people, we mill about camp for the day. It becomes hard to believe that the following day is supposed to hold a storm, at times the sky even clears on Friday...Bizarre, it's as if we have to sit and wait for the storm to come in order to start our run.
As predicted, I wake to the sound of snow on the tent at around 10PM. Looking out the door, an inch or two has already accumulated. It is confirmed, finally, we will be running in some wild weather. I'm not a stranger to the Grand Canyon, having done R2R on back to back days while backpacking, and I know it is hard enough without the weather interfering. I know then and there that people in our group are going to get seriously challenged out there, some to a greater degree than ever before.

Alarm goes off at 3:30AM and the prospect of getting out of bed and going into the snow is not feeling too good. I get dressed, sort my gear, wander out. The vibe is one of business, everyone a bit hurried in the dark. Snow is falling pretty good at this point. I fry an egg and make toast, get a little coffee into me. Despite a bit of anxiety, I'm thrilled the day has finally come, that all the unknowns are disappearing. I don't care about the snow, at least I know what we're dealing with now. I double check gear, pack food, and soon we are off.

The second we reach South Kaibab and I look off into the darkness I know that this is going to be an epic and I'm completely excited. It's cold. It's windy. It's dark and it's snowing. And we're about to do a hell of a hike. My watch reads 5:20AM when I take my first strides down the canyon after Eugene and Dan Hewins. The descent quickly unfolds into one of the most beautiful mornings I've ever had in the mountains. I can see the blue glow of their headlamps weaving the switchbacks and ridges below me as a gray-blue morning light begins to filter through the clouds. Snow is falling, wind is blowing it into our faces, I'm absolutely ecstatic and alive, running smoothly down the mountain. In an hour or so I'm crossing the emerald waters of the Colorado River.

By the time I'm down the SK and approaching Phantom Ranch, ITB pain has started in my left knee, an injury I haven't dealt with in years. Not even a single hint of it in any training run, I can only assume it's been brought on by 7 miles immediate downhill running without warming up. I've dealt with it before; my stomach sinks, basically knowing that's it's only a matter of time before I'm going to be brought to a limp. I know from the outset that I'm not going to stop due to it, so I'm trying to psyche myself up for a really long, slow day. Along the canyon I pass and get passed a few times, all of us shifting positions back and forth. By Cottonwood my running day is about over, I can only hike at this point to alleviate pain. From here on out, I have the pleasure of doing a R2R2R mostly on one leg, trying to take the brunt of the stepping and descending on my right leg. Despite it, I'm still having a blast. There is a certain anxiety building, however, that with every step forward I'm just going to be in worse shape going back. I'm pretty convinced that the North Rim is going to wreck me pretty good, making for an epic on the return.

I reach the top, feeling pretty terrible. I'm just behind Torrey and Eugene at this point. I'm a little loopy in the head, beginning a bit of a bonk. I know Eugene looked at me with a little concern before I waved him off. For a brief moment I'm alone and a really bad feeling comes over me. My knee is killing me, my stomach is protesting the Snickers bar I've eaten, and I'm getting cold. I get a sinking feeling that I've gotten myself into something bad, that it's going to be a really long way out of this stupid affair. Fortunately, I'm able to shake this low pretty quickly; I down a bottle of Cafe Mocha Perpetuem and the calories/caffeine really help. I get my head together and head out. Within 10 minutes I'm somehow I'm able to tune out my knee pretty well and actually run the entire NK down. I picked up a killer runner's high in the cliff section and rode that energy hooting and hollering all the way to Cottonwood before grinding back into a limp. I'd pay for the burst big-time, as my right foot now started to really ache due to all the compensating for my left knee. The downward spiral. Fortunately though, everything else felt fine and my energy was good.

Slogging it out back up SK was another highlite of the trip. Despite pain and fatigue, it was a brilliant climb, reaching near-blizzard feeling conditions higher on the trail. Torrey and I were literally dropping to all fours in places in order to avoid being blown off by the wind. One gust had us pinned on hands and knees for at least 15 seconds until we started making our way up to a rock outcropping. Epic times, but a little worry beginning to form about the runners behind us. I knew we'd be out fine, but these were the sort of conditions that truly bad things can potentially happen in. We can only trust all of our partners will make good decisions.

Soon enough I see some headlamps flashing down at us and know we're in the final approach. Before I know it, Eugene and Adan are running down to greet us; there's palpable concern in the air that things were looking pretty bad out there, coupled with relief that we're up. I'm actually feeling pretty good with the exception of my leg. Final time: about 15:20?

Attention shifts to finding the last runners, making sure everyone is accounted for. A bit scary at first, not really having any idea what sort of shape they're in or where they are, all the while seeing conditions really begin to deteriorate and rage in the darkness below.

Soon everyone is accounted for and mood finally turns to celebration and fun, the trip begins it's fade into memory, and all the moments of pain and swearing off adventures like this are slowly forgotten. How quickly they get replaced by the sparks of new cravings for new adventures. A completely F'n great day, long live the full-spectrum experience!


Thanks to all you great people, not a single one of whom I wouldn't want to share a run with again.


Edited by xnomanx on 04/16/2012 18:57:57 MDT.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: R2R2R: My Take... on 04/16/2012 18:38:58 MDT Print View

This is Stone Poetry. William Carlos Williams is digging you today.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: A good days work on 04/16/2012 20:26:07 MDT Print View

Congratulations everyone! Sounds like a fun trip and everyone returned safely, but a little sore.

P.S. Good thing you weren't doing this in Australia, where they have real weather :)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Rights and wrongs on 04/16/2012 22:22:44 MDT Print View

Things I should have done differently: Train more, train more, train more.

I brought 8,000 calories, only used 4,000. 6,000 would have been plenty with reserves. And gosh-darn-it-to-heck, the pound bag of dried apricots that I meant to eat a few of on the way down went with me the whole hike! That was a needless pound on my back.

Things that went well: My gear was great. You guys had put me on to the Hoodini, Nano Puff and a 2.4 ounce Sea-to-Summit sil-nylon pack all of which worked great and were light and compact. The Hoodini over a wicking t-shirt and a nylon LS shirt was so good, I never used the Nano Puff, but was VERY reassuring to have it in reserve in that weather.

I eat normal food, mostly, and the three steak wraps, two Thai-chicken wraps and some honey-roasted cashews worked well. Mike gave me two Goo packets and I definitely felt a pick-up from one 2 miles from the top.

Two 20-ounce throw-away water bottles were good for me. I'd never do that in summer, but filling plus drinking a pint or two at each water stop was fine that day - I was peeing once an hour, usually more.

Here's a safety tip: I left the car key on top of the driver's corner tire, back where you couldn't see it unless you were looking. And I told everyone where it was. Mike was able to hop in the car and get warmed for the 45 minutes until I got there.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: R2R2R on 04/16/2012 23:16:07 MDT Print View

Im not much of a distance runner but I would have loved to do this. I am getting more into running and trips like this actually make it look fun.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: R2R2R on 04/17/2012 09:06:20 MDT Print View

We need a fall hiking trip out there in the first week of October to dayhike across the first day, sleep in a cabin, and then dayhike back the second day.

Edited by jshann on 04/17/2012 09:19:01 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Fall R2R2R on 04/17/2012 09:40:29 MDT Print View

John: That sounds like a great trip to me!

I met a guy on the trail Saturday who was overnighting Phantom Ranch (he had reservations for a cabin). He also had reservations for a room on the North Rim in early September and planned to hike Rim-to-Rim in a day but hadn't figured out his return shuttle logistics. I suggested he just train a little more and walk back the next day. I think I convinced him - I at least put the idea in his head.

Buy dinner, breakfast, and more trail food on the North Rim and you could do a two-day Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim with a 3-pound pack (plus water weight). A shower, clean sheets, and sink to wash out your undies is pretty cool, IMO, between two moderately long days on the trail.

And, if you're passing through Phantom Ranch between 8 am and 4 pm, a $20 bill weighs MUCH less than the Lemonade ($2.50), two more refills (2 x $1), a beer ($6), and 5 Luna or Powerbars (5 x $1.75) you can buy with it at the Canteen.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Grand Canyon- Double Crossing aka "Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim"- BPL Group Run" on 04/17/2012 16:50:50 MDT Print View

I snapped out of my post RRR state real quick, spent the last two days climbing up and down ladders all day with tools and equipment, not exactly ideal recovery conditions. I popped a few ibuprofen for the first time in years; felt a bit dirty.

I did get a bit of time to do some thinking back on the weekend. As the week winds down I will get a chance to post some photos that I took and share my day of running in the GC. Strangely, the run was almost overshadowed by the time spent hanging out with the group before, during, and after, despite how brief the weekend was.

Ya'll are some of the coolest cats I have met and I hope to share a beer and some miles with you in the future.

R2R2R 2013?

I think that needs to happen.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Grand Canyon- Double Crossing aka "Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim"- BPL Group Run" on 04/17/2012 17:31:47 MDT Print View

"R2R2R 2013?"

Hell yeah, only since we've already done the flirting with hypothermia thing, I think next we need to try it in July.


torrey saylor
(everyday) - F

Locale: south rim
R2R2R again on 04/17/2012 18:23:46 MDT Print View

Ima go again in a couple weeks to see how it is without a snow/hail/wind storm, sometime between May 5th n May 14th. :)

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: Grand Canyon- Double Crossing aka "Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim"- BPL Group Run" on 04/17/2012 18:25:03 MDT Print View

for anyone who truly wants to trash themselves,
there's always a 5 day run of the JMT.

Edited by asandh on 04/18/2012 08:16:15 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: R2R2R again on 04/17/2012 18:29:18 MDT Print View

torrey I believe there is a fairly large group from San Diego going to the GC weekend of May 5. Some will be trying the RRR.

Edited by asandh on 04/18/2012 08:15:18 MDT.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Grand Canyon- Double Crossing aka "Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim"- BPL Group Run" on 04/17/2012 18:52:56 MDT Print View

Great adventure, all. Thanks for sharing.