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Questions for you Escalante Route/Grand Canyon Experts
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Aidan Kerr
(akerr) - F

Locale: Northeast
Questions for you Escalante Route/Grand Canyon Experts on 12/02/2011 06:26:19 MST Print View

So my wife and I applied for a permit to backpack the Escalante Route from Lipan Point to Grandview Point in late April. We are both really excited as this will be our first trip to the canyon, although not our first big backpacking adventure.

1. For those of you who have hiked/camped this route, did you have free standing tents or use tarps (tents that required stakes)? We have an Rei Quarter Dome (free standing) and an MLD Duomid. I would love to bring the Duo as it is so much lighter, but im concerned that most of the camp areas along this route will either be rock or sand. (i could tie it down to rocks, but i dont know if they will be available, if we'll see strong winds, etc).

2. Water filtration: I have a gravity filter (made with a sawyer inline) and was curious what methods you used to prefilter the water. Would a bandana suffice as a prefilter? (i understand that i will need to backwash in the field frequently to prevent clogs)

I appreciate any info/insights you can provide.
Thanks.
~Aidan

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: escalante route on 12/02/2011 08:11:14 MST Print View

I've done only the western 2/3s of your hike, but reckon I can comment anyway.

Prefiltering won't be necessary when getting water from side canyons and springs. It will when filtering from the Colorado. The Bandana should work fine, with frequent back flushing. I always used drops myself.

You're right that stakes are often not much use in the canyon. You'll most likely to camping on either sand or hardpack. Rocks tend to be very abundant. I always used a tarp in the Grand Canyon, and finding things to use as deadmen was never hard. A few sand stakes might be good insurance against a night when you don't want to hunt rocks.

Have a fun trip, the hike up from the river to Grandview is one of my favorite stretches.

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Questions for you Escalante Route/Grand Canyon Experts on 12/11/2011 19:25:11 MST Print View

Most of the beaches can hold stakes, deep in the side canyons, not. Not sure how many days you plan but as long as you plan for beach camps take the lighter tent.

Water...plan on there being no water between Tanner Beach and Red Canyon beach. You may luck out but April can be pretty dry. Also plan on the Colorado being muddy due to the Little Colorado draining snow melt from the White Mountains. I bring a glacial silt filter for my spring hikes when I need to count on the Colorado.

At Red Canyon, about a mile up canyon you should be able to find a spring at or just above where the New Hance trail drops to the Red Canyon bottom (it is on the map). And then more water at Page Spring about 1 mile below Horseshoe Mesa.

Aidan Kerr
(akerr) - F

Locale: Northeast
Re: Thanks on 12/12/2011 12:05:16 MST Print View

Thanks for the insight. We applied for 4 nights although not sure if it will take us the full 4 nights or 3.

I might consider getting some aqua mira for this trip and eliminate the filter all together.

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
escalante on 12/12/2011 21:38:11 MST Print View

I've done tanner/hance in 3 days/2 nights. One more for a Grandview exit.

Sites: Cardenas, Red Canyon beach, Horseshoe Mesa.

For your April hike, water I'd plan:
* Colorado River at Tanner beach
* Colorado River at Papago
* Spring in Red Canyon
* Page Spring on the hike up to Horseshoe Mesa

Any other water in side canyons consider a blessing. So take industrial strength filtration to handle the Colorado. Aqua Mira or Katadyn tabs will work for side canyon sources as long as it isn't raining. If raining these will mud up pretty fast.

Aidan Kerr
(akerr) - F

Locale: Northeast
Re: escalante on 12/13/2011 06:19:06 MST Print View

Steven,
What do you recommend as far as "industrial strength filtration"? Will the gravity filter (sawyer inline not be sufficient at filtering from the Colorado? Is there something specific I will need to use?
Got my permit in the mail yesterday!! Woo!

Thanks.
~Aidan

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
industrial strength filtration on 12/13/2011 22:48:02 MST Print View

i use a sweetwater glacial silt prefilter when I take water from the colorado while the little colorado is running. this prefilter can be backwashed, also dissembled and rinsed.

my experience is that a muddy colorado will overwhelmed just about any filter. MSR miniworks, katadyn, and sawyer. the sweetwater prefilter works better than anything else I've tried.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Alum treatment method on 12/14/2011 12:55:30 MST Print View

>> my experience is that a muddy colorado will overwhelmed just about any filter.

+1

You can also look into using alum.
http://wildernessvagabond.com/gcescalante2011/Alum%20treatment.pdf

David Lisak
(davelisak)

Locale: Grand Canyon hiker
Escalante Route in April on 12/24/2011 05:03:05 MST Print View

Ditto to the remarks that have been posted. I've used both tarp and tent. A freestanding tent would be a great luxury, because the Canyon is generally inhospitable to stakes. Fortunately, rocks are plentiful, even on beaches, and with practice you learn to pitch either tarp or tent with relative ease. I bring titanium stakes, slip them through a loop in the guyline, and then put a heavy rock on top of the stake. I have weathered 40 mph winds with this method.

Water: Between your kickoff at Lipan and Page Springs (just shy of Horseshoe), your only real source is the Colorado. It can be relatively clear, if you're lucky. But don't rely on that. In 2001 I hiked this route and the Colorado was so silty that we could pump only 16 oz of water before we had to dismantle the filters and clean them. Fortunately, we were using MSR Miniworks and they held up beautifully to the hard work. But it took us hours of filtering every evening. Lesson: If you are going to filter the water, be sure that the device is field strippable and that you are familiar with the procedure. Then maybe you'll get lucky with the water.

Have a great time!

David

Mike W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Water filter options on 03/17/2013 13:58:01 MDT Print View

..reviving this old thread..

I'm hiking the Escalante route at the beginning of April and I am deciding on which water filtration to use. Since I am assuming the Colorado will be silty, I am leaning towards using my Katadyn Vario (although it is my heaviest filter) because it has a ceramic pre filter. I've used this in muddy water before and had to field-clean it several times during the process. I'm careful about maintaining the filter by checking and lubricating the O-rings regularly. I plan on filling a 10L collapsible water container and then filtering from that.

Are there any better combinations that also have a charcoal filter? What would be a good backup? Steripen? Micropur?

Thanks

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Water filter options on 03/17/2013 20:07:54 MDT Print View

My son and I will be on the Escalante the first week of April as well!

You can check the color of the Colorado from the eastern viewpoints (Lipan, Moran, etc.) before heading down. If it's running clear, it will look green from the rim. If it's brown, it'll be cloudy. We're going to be below the rim for 8 days and will probably just take the MSR Miniworks. I take chemicals for backup.

I almost always let Colorado river water settle before filtering. I take a couple of 96oz Nalgene "Canteens" which are the collapsible/soft plastic containers with the wide Nalgene mouth. For settling, I prefer tall containers that stand up on their own. Make sure that the opening is big enough for the prefilter to fit. I prefer a closed container as opposed to a bucket so I can settle water overnight for the next morning; the mice like to 'swim' in open containers...

Mike W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Canteens on 03/21/2013 14:03:21 MDT Print View

Sumi,
Thanks for the advice on the canteens - I like that idea. I have a couple that I will be bringing on my trip. Maybe I'll see you somewhere between Tanner Canyon and Hance Rapids. We should have some kind of BPL flags or bandanas to hang off our packs - LOL.

Mike

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Canteens on 03/22/2013 20:23:25 MDT Print View

Say hi if you see us. We're easy to identify -- short asian mom and 14yo son. :)

I hear the spring melt is on and that the LCR is starting to run high and brown up in Cameron. It'll probably make a mess of the Colorado below the confluence. I was hoping it would hold off another week so we could get a glimpse of that travertine blue. Oh well.