Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Yoyo - January 2012
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James Patsalides
(james@patsalides.com) - MLife

Locale: New England
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Yoyo - January 2012 on 11/14/2011 06:23:45 MST Print View

Hi Friends,
Long time no talk... things have been crazy this year with school and work, but... finally got to organize a little trip for a small group from school. Six fairly experienced backpackers, all (except for me) traditional backpackers. Two WFRs in the group. I'm engaging them in discussions about going light(er), and having some success so far. Anyway, I'm looking for ideas/concerns/suggestions about this trip.

Here's the basic itinerary...
Friday - Arrive lunch time, hike down South Kaibab Trail, cross Colorado River, setup base camp at Bright Angel (permit approved).
Saturday - 4am start, hike North Kaibab Trail up and back to Bright Angel (permit approved)
Sunday - Hike out South Kaibab Trail, leave mid-afternoon.

If the weather is bad or something else causes us to baulk, we will abandon the yoyo and hike the Clear Creek trail on Saturday instead, returning to Bright Angel on Saturday night (permit approved).

Ideas? Suggestions? Things to look out for - good or bad? Has anyone hiked the Clear Creek Trail or done this rim to rim in January? Any advice? Thanks!

Happy trails, James.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Grand Canyon in Jan. on 11/14/2011 11:59:11 MST Print View

Sounds like a perfectly servicable plan. Not sure why you need to get up at 4am, but it'll give you plenty of time.

I'd expect significant snow above 6k on the north rim, and ice above 5k (seeps in the Redwall). Snow and ice are all but certain on the first 2k down from the south rim as well. I'd bring microspikes and poles for all, and expect to posthole for the last 3-4 miles going up to the north rim. Snowshoes are probably not worth the weight.

Clear Creek is a great alternate plan, it's a fun hike.

Pete Wilson
(Muddy-Pete) - F

Locale: east coast
Grand Canyon on 11/14/2011 12:33:25 MST Print View

Sound like fun. I've never been further then the observation platform. Colin Fletcher published a book back in the late '60's about his trip through the Grand Canyon called The man who walked through time.

James Patsalides
(james@patsalides.com) - MLife

Locale: New England
Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Yoyo - January 2012 on 11/14/2011 21:27:21 MST Print View

@Dave,
Thanks! So, how much time would you allow for the up to the North rim and back down to Bright Angel camp? Obviously prefer NOT to leave at 4am. Very psyched about this trip... :-)

@Pete,
Thanks - it'll be my first trip to the canyon floor. I read that Colin Fletcher book last year - great read!

Cheers, James.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
time on 11/14/2011 21:49:51 MST Print View

Cottonwood to the North Rim and back down to the river is 21 miles, with one rather large climb and descent. Time will depend on your group (of course). 7-14 hours seems reasonable. An alpine start can slow people (fumbling in the dark), or speed them up (brrr).

Because the 7 miles from river to the start of the climb up to the north rim goes gently up, the vertical relief over distance of the north climb and south climb are vaguely comparable. Use your descent the first day as a pacing guide, and don't underestimate that gentle descent back to the river! The last time I did a double crossing in a day my feet hurt a lot on the down, and I could not wait for the trail to go up again.

Enjoy, it's a great time of year to be there.