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William Salmon
Hiking the Grand Canyon on 12/29/2011 11:46:36 MST Print View

For getting a picture of the various conditions you might encounter, I recommend Colin Fletcher's 1968 account of two months spent hiking the Grand Canyon:

Note that his gear was mostly from sources that no longer exist, but the general principles remain the same because the Canyon is the same.

Benjamin Ludwig
(Ender) - F

Locale: Mid-West
Savin my bacon James on 12/29/2011 17:06:15 MST Print View

James: Ive got a map and im matching everything up with what your telling me, its all making sense. I guess the only question now is my permit and whether I want to camp 2 days or 1.. walk 14 miles down hill or up ;)

Ill talk it over with my partner and see what we come up with. Once I get the Schedule and permit in place I can start working on that gear list. Thanks for all the info guys.

Oh and James, do you prefer the North to South or South to North? I was thinking North to South so that I wasn't hiking up hill 14 miles on the home stretch, but what do you think?

EDIT* One more thing, is there a shuttle that runs back to the other side or do I have to hike the thing twice lol?


Edited by Ender on 12/29/2011 17:07:50 MST.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Trans-canyon shuttle on 12/29/2011 19:31:12 MST Print View

C Nugget

Locale: Pacific Northwest
other thread & ramblings on 01/01/2012 16:34:13 MST Print View

Some more info on Grand Canyon here:

Carol Crooker seems to be well informed in dessert hiking round here. She has a gear list for desert hiking and articles about hiking the different times of year. I wish I could pack this way but it's something to aim for:

The Rims are still chilly(as in still snow possible) at night but gets warmer as you go down. If your pack is heavy the going down can be brutal... don't forget to prepare for the trip. (go up and down steep stuff with a pack on). Make sure your food and fuel is not overdone. They can really weigh you down if you go over prepared. Many people just take way too much on the corridor trails and you can even find people giving stuff away at the bottom trying to make their packs lighter. If you get stuck needing a few extras(snack etc.) you can always buy some at Phantom Ranch.. Snacks are especially heavy.. I wouldn't volunteer to take the tent and snacks.. If your taking the tent make sure your partner takes all the food.. I think technically if you are just corridor camping 2 nights and staying at bright angel camp & then say cottonwood camp.. you could even go to the bottom.. buy all your food there including having a steak dinner(needs to book ahead) some sandwiches & snacks for the following day/night..(if you want to spend money). Then you won't need to bring a kitchen with you at all.. No stove, no fuel! Maybe a bowl/mug and spork for cereal w/Nido(powdered whole milk) and maybe some hemp hearts for protein :P... This does not address hot coffee at all though... unless you like it cold... Via rocks over Nescafe (of course that's according to me)!! I cringe at the packaging waste of Via but still use it.. doh!

Mike Clelland's book is just great for info even if your not going ultralight. I recommend the ebook version and you can use it as a reference where ever you go(plus it's lightweight!!:

If decide you like backpacking and would like good gear for it, I really recommend trying some gear before you buy. You will most likely find that your first purchase after you get it could go lighter. My first pack was 5lbs and it was my first purchase after I had saved a bunch of money... I didn't know about going lighter then, all I knew is I wanted to go hiking. I wanted to go somewhere and bammit, I just wanted a pack to do it with. It's bomb proof but after doing some reading and discovery around here and in the articles you may find that a frameless pack may be just as good. Or, you may find that you can save some money and go for something ubber nice that everyone wished they had bought for their first pack(most likely not from a major manufacturer though)...

Last year I went with a Go-Lite Pinnacle pack I got on clearance for $50.00.. It was a little sweaty but I found I didn't need the frame and the difference was 3lbs between pack weights.. That's 3lbs off my back!! Just with a different pack!! When your in the Canyon you will thank your lucky stars you don't have more weight. IMHO it's the going down that'll get ya... and then, you have to crawl out.. hahahahaha. Try gear anyway you can... Join a local hiking group in your area, beg from your friends or family if someone has something stowed away just to try it out.. Also REI will rent gear as well... Try it out first!! Or, if you want I can loan you my 5lbs pack and you can load it up run around with it and consider your options. For 3 days you don't need a huge pack.. and if you do and you fill it, you've brought/bought too much and you'll be wishing you hadn't.. ps... the bottom is like car camping without the car... There are even picnic tables at the bottom.

If it's just two of you.. you could try an alcohol stove. If your taking pre-packaged meals all you need to do is just boil water mostly anyway. I'm not sure mine is the best in the world but it's really easy to light and takes about 5-6mins to boil 500ml of water and the wind cover is the pot stand so it won't likely blow away on ya... I've had it for 3 years and it's still going. I had no problems with delivery from their site though it's not the worlds greatest website:

If you make a simple one you can save yourself money. Just google alcohol stove and check out all the images of them to get an idea of how varied they can get.. Simple to complicated. I've been reading about the penny stove lately..

See if you can rent a tent if your going with a tent.. Maybe a single wall? Pretty dry in the canyon so condensation shouldn't be an issue. A single wall fully enclosed could be 3lbs or under... Mine is bomb proof in the rain though I didn't think it possibly could that first time in a downpour. My friend also reflected the same thoughts when we got hit with rain in the Canyon on 2 nights.. (maybe we where just unlucky - everyone seems to think it doesn't there but yes it does and yes in May)... dries up fast though.

If you shave weight everywhere then you can put it back in the one place you'd really like..

For a super cushy mat this is what my aunt who's never been backpacking loved in the Canyon last year. She even wanted to buy it off of me... It's sinfully delicious but a whopping 2lbs... even comes with it's own repair kit and bag.

SynMat 7 M
Size: 183 x 52cm / 72 x 20"
Thickness: 7 cm / 2.8“
Weight:860 g / 30.3 oz
Packed: 21 x 15 cm / 8.2 x 6“
Temperature: -17°C / 1°F
Filling: Texpedloft Microfiber.
R-value: 4.9

Water... if your corridor camping you most likely will not need to treat your water. Check in with the backcountry before you go and they will have the water availability postings. If you want to ensure your safe.. bring some iodine or other small water treatment just in case.. I've had my eye on this as another alternate:

My 2 long cents.. happy hiking.. maybe i'll see in the Canyon May 2012

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: GC on 01/01/2012 20:53:34 MST Print View

I'm going to second Sumi on everything.

AZ and the desert (This includes the GC) are a different breed of backpacking than many people are used to. The nice thing is, assuming you aren't camping on the Rims, your insulation needs are minimal (at worse you'll just have an uncomfortable night if the weather turns unseasonably cold).

This site (BEWARE THE AUTO-PLAY SOUND!) has a better and more accurate assessment of the Canyon's weather. It's a gov't source you can trust!

And to reiterate, water and heat will be far more of a concern than cold and these are issues you need to educate yourself on. Health concerns from cold are pretty easy to understand, but dehydration and heat stroke are far more subtle and affect the brain making it even harder to recognize.

It should be a great trip, just remember the GC is far more rugged than many people give it credit.

EDIT: As an example, today is Jan 1, 2012 and the temperatures were in the high 50s on the South Rim, lows in the low 20s. Imagine what 5 months of the earth pointing the canyon closer to the Sun could do to those desert temps!

Edited by upalachango on 01/01/2012 20:57:41 MST.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: GC List on 01/02/2012 15:31:32 MST Print View

You'll want to spend two nights in the canyon. Maybe three if you can get them. A single overnight makes for a very strenuous hike, as the second day is very long and very steep and very relentless uphill. You'll probably be happier going south>north; make your last night at Cottonwood, which gives you around 7 miles uphill on the last day. Take your time heading uphill, and try to do it very early in the morning.

We hiked from the North Rim in late June a few years ago -- it was 37F at the parking area, and 105 at Roaring Spring. So be at least a little prepared for cold weather, though it's unlikely you'll need to camp/sleep at very cold temps.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Grand Canyon newbie on 01/27/2012 14:39:50 MST Print View

Even though it was written for Scouts and different climate, I think my paper might be easy to digest and useful to a newbie to the sport. You won't be below freezing. As others have said, you can get by with minimal shelter and staking can be a pain so maybe just a bivy. You will need food storage (Ursack, Outsak, etc) since you can't hang it, and you'll need decent water capacity. I think everything else in the paper would still apply.

I've only hiked it once back when I was a kid (July 82). I recall snow on the north rim and only 90 or so at the bottom. Wonderful time. Hope I can go back.