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5-day Grand Canyon - decisions
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Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
5-day Grand Canyon - decisions on 03/21/2013 02:42:27 MDT Print View

I'm doing a 5-day Grand Canyon trip (Tanner-Eacalante-Grandview) in a couple weeks with a couple friends. This is my first time there and I need help deciding what gear would be best for this trip.

Tent: Hilleberg Akto or BA Fly Creek UL2. I have a spinntwinn but have not used it yet - unsure about wind conditions.

Stove: Soto od-1r or White Box solo II. EDIT: I am probably going to take the Soto due to the length of the trip - more BTU's per oz. Is that the correct logic?


Based on some reading, I've decided on the following:

BA Fly Creek UL2 (lighter is better). Not too concerned about wind and I will be sure to stake out properly.

Stove: Soto OD-1R. It looks like the fuel I will need will weigh less if I use a canister stove over 5 days.

Edited by rcmike on 03/22/2013 16:14:51 MDT.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: 5-day Grand Canyon - decisions on 03/23/2013 21:51:00 MDT Print View

FWIW, you don't need a double-wall tent in the Canyon. In fact, you rarely need a shelter. I take a tarp that I put up maybe one night out of 8. If you just prefer sleeping in a shelter for some reason, you won't be able to use stakes at least half of the time. But there are plenty of rocks. If you want to anchor a tent, it's easier if you have extra line on the loops.

Doubt that wind will be an issue in April.

Make sure you have some sort of food protection from the mice.

I've heard reports in the last few days that the Colorado is starting to get muddy below LCR from the spring run-off.

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Tarp, tent on 03/23/2013 23:51:54 MDT Print View

Well, I could bring a tarp and it would be lighter but this would be my first trip using a tarp since I have only set it up in my yard. Is it hard to get a taught pitch with just rocks (i.e., can I find rocks big enough)? Would I have to bring a warmer sleeping bag? I'm bringing a Marmot Helium.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Tarp, tent on 03/24/2013 07:09:40 MDT Print View

>> can I find rocks big enough?

Um... yes. It's the Grand Canyon. More big rocks than you can imagine. :)

My suggestion is to check the NOAA forecast for the inner canyon (google "NOAA forecast Phantom Ranch" and you'll get the right coordinates) a few days before your trip. Take a tent if they're forecasting any major rain (very rare.)

>> Would I have to bring a warmer sleeping bag?

Do you have any higher-elevation camps in your itinerary, say above 4,500 feet? If not, you won't even need your Helium.

I hike in the GC March/April or Oct/Nov. I've never taken anything warmer than a 30* bag. I often take my 45*. The coldest nights I've had were around 34*, cowboy camping on Whites Butte, which is probably around 4,500 ft (top of the redwall) and a snowy night on Horseshoe Mesa at 4,900 ft, under a tarp. Both were in mid-April. I had (a true) 30* degree bag for those nights and were fine. Note that average lows at the river is 48* for March.

ETA: Someone who hiked out yesterday 3/23 from doing the Escalante just reported mid-70's during the day and mid-to-upper 40's at night at the river.

Again, check the forecast right before the hike. We're currently planning on a 30* and a 25*.

You really don't need a lot of gear in the Canyon. Just lots of water. :)

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 03/24/2013 07:14:05 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: 5-day Grand Canyon - decisions on 03/24/2013 07:36:00 MDT Print View

"This is my first time there..."

"Not too concerned about wind and I will be sure to stake out properly...."

For your reading enjoyment Flying Tents

Edited by greg23 on 03/24/2013 08:05:03 MDT.

Slaton Whatley

Locale: Catalinas, Saguaro, Grand Canyon
Staking out Shelter on 03/24/2013 08:11:16 MDT Print View


I just got back from Horseshoe Mesa, Hance Creek and Cottonwood Creek Friday night. You'll more than likely be spending a night at one or several of those areas on the end of your trip. If you camp in Cottonwood Creek you'll more than likely find plenty of trees and big rocks to tie a tarp out to if you so desired in those areas. I slept out on a tyvek ground sheet and it was perfect. Probably 40 degrees at night in Cottonwood that night and low 70's during the day.

The Tonto and Horeshoe Mesa can be windy. Some of the strongest winds I've encountered in the Canyon were on Horseshoe Mesa (but again there are plenty of rocks and junipers up there to stake things out).

This is a trip I've wanted to do for a while! Such a great itinerary you have!

NOAA is a great resource for weather. If you search Grand Canyon Village then look on the left hand side of the screen there is a little map and you can actually drag it over to the area you'll be in and can even put the little "x" down into the canyon. It will tell you the elevation and give you pretty accurate read outs of the temps at that elevation. I found this super helpful instead of only looking at the rim or Phantom then trying to figure out what the temps would be 1,500 feet below or above that.

Have a great time! I'll be down around Horseshoe, Hance, and Cottonwwood March 27-29 and then April 1-4 and April 15-18 guiding some really big groups. I'm a tall blonde guy and will most definitely be carrying a massive Mystery Ranch Pack. If you see me say hi! Always fun meeting fellow BPLers on the trail!

Edited by AlpinistoOutdoors on 03/24/2013 08:15:59 MDT.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Uh... on 03/24/2013 08:34:05 MDT Print View

>> I found this super helpful instead of only looking at the rim or Phantom then trying to figure out what the temps would be 1,500 feet below or above that.

Not sure where you think Phantom Ranch is, but it's at the river. You really don't want to be 1,500 feet below there... ;)

Rule of thumb is 5deg differential for every 1,000 feet. It actually works.

Slaton Whatley

Locale: Catalinas, Saguaro, Grand Canyon
Phantom Ranch on 03/24/2013 11:03:22 MDT Print View

Sorry! hahah I was actually talking about 1,500 feet above Phantom or 1,500 feet below the Rim. Sorry that wasn't clear. Thanks for clearing that up. Had you not he could have found him self diggin in the bottom of the Colorado! Glad we got that cleared up :)

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: 5-day Grand Canyon - decisions on 03/24/2013 11:45:15 MDT Print View

Shelter options only get funky in the "Corridor" as the "ground" is almost rock-hard and you cannot stake outside your allotted area (a buddy of mine got ticketed for this). You will be far away from that zoo, so I'd check the short term forecast if there's any fronts coming through (don't forget south to Baja) or if the jetstream is coming down south (think a BPL trailrun got snowed on in May but I've gotten away with using a 45F bag for a week in March on the Tonto).

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
tents, stakes and weather on 03/24/2013 14:19:39 MDT Print View

Wow, thanks for all the useful information. This is really helpful.

Sumi, Slaton,
I hope to run into you on the trail. We'll be starting down Tanner from Lipan Point on the 1st and plan on hitting Grandview point on the 5th.


Edited by rcmike on 04/15/2013 11:06:35 MDT.