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The Grand Eight
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
The Grand Eight on 03/28/2014 17:59:03 MDT Print View

7 days in the central Grand Canyon. 6.5 of those off trail. Rappeling, packrafting, and tons of rock hopping and downclimbing. Brendan Swihart and myself.

Days 1 and 2: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/28/the-grand-eight-days-1-and-2/
Days 3 and 4: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/28/the-grand-eight-days-3-and-4/
Days 5 and 6: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/29/the-grand-eight-days-5-and-6/


Rest to come.

Edited by DaveC on 03/29/2014 09:31:06 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: The Grand Eight on 03/28/2014 21:17:17 MDT Print View

Great series so far--and I like the double entendre of that last line.

Slaton Whatley
(AlpinistoOutdoors) - M

Locale: Catalinas, Saguaro, Grand Canyon
Wow. on 03/28/2014 21:32:55 MDT Print View

The wheels are turning after reading this one! Looks like an awesome trip. So cool to see folks getting after it in the Canyon. So many incredible places to explore there!

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: The Grand Eight on 03/28/2014 21:33:45 MDT Print View

SPECTACULAR ADVENTURE Dave... thanks for sharing!

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Re: The Grand Eight on 03/28/2014 23:40:26 MDT Print View

Parts of the Canyon rarely seen. Interesting and thanks for the pics. Had to look at that black pic for a few seconds to realize the shot.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: The Grand Eight on 03/29/2014 10:59:01 MDT Print View

Final installment, with gear talk.

http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/29/the-grand-eight-day-7-and-epilogue/

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
The Grand Eight on 04/02/2014 15:16:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for writing it up. Looks like a great adventure.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: The Grand Eight on 04/02/2014 22:01:41 MDT Print View

Nice job Dave. It must've felt very committing to pull the rope for the first time.

Kevin Buggie
(kbuggie) - M

Locale: NW New Mexico
Kudos!...... and packrafting downstream? on 04/03/2014 13:18:47 MDT Print View

Dave,
Man, great read and trip! Looking forward to reading Brendan's perspective.

Can you elaborate a bit on the process for getting your permit from the NPS? To what degree did they understand or approve of the packrafting portions of the trip (ie. how much downstream travel in a packraft is allowed in the park, as opposed to just crossing over)?

I'm planning a flood enabled packraft descent of the LCR someday and would love to be able to skip the Beamer Trail and just float the Colorado from the LCR confluence to the Tanner Trail exit to the rim. I had read that kayakers did this in the past, were caught by rangers, and given a helicopter ride to jail with a gigantic fine attached. Truthfully I haven't done much beta on this because I had assumed it wasn't allowed.

So.... would a portion of this trip fall under the western definition of 'stealth' packrafting?

Did the rangers just give you a wink/nod regarding that part of your trip?

Or, have the NPS embraced the packraft as a legitimate way to explore the river (without a GC river permit) and adjacent canyons?

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Packrafting and Brendan's pics on 04/03/2014 13:32:02 MDT Print View

The NPS aren't much into winking and nodding. Dave got the permits so he might be able to add more but the rule is you can packraft up to 5 miles.

My pics are up here:
http://outlivingblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/a-big-hike-in-the-grand-canyon-part-1/
http://outlivingblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/a-big-hike-in-the-grand-canyon-part-2/

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: The Grand Eight on 04/03/2014 13:39:27 MDT Print View

Do either of you guys have a map with a route drawn in, for those of us who are curious where you went but aren't fluent in Grand Canyon topography?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Kudos!...... and packrafting downstream? on 04/03/2014 13:41:05 MDT Print View

"Or, have the NPS embraced the packraft as a legitimate way to explore the river (without a GC river permit) and adjacent canyons?"


Thankfully the answer is yes. The NPS deserves credit for listening to users and working towards sensible regulations for packrafts.

Currently, when applying for a normal backpacking BC permit you can check the packraft box. Downriver travel is limited to 5 miles total. With portages we just squeaked in under this limit. Reportedly a more complete policy will come out later this year. It will almost certainly mandate wearing an official PFD while packrafting. Hopefully it will expand the floating limits a bit, perhaps using some kind of zone system. Conventional rafters are apparently quite territorial.

Additionally, you can put in for a river permit through the normal lottery system, but arrange to have a launch zone other than Lees Ferry, and a takeout other than Diamond Creek. You have to stay on "schedule" if doing this. For instance, if you wanted to hike Nankoweep down, put in, and float down to hike the North Kaibab out, you'd have to put in on the date when a generic river trip with your launch date would be reaching that area on the river. This might be a good approach for a Little Colorado trip.

I'd like to see the Lees Ferry road torn up, and all the rafters have to hand carry their gear ~2 miles to the put-in. It would be an efficient and democratic way to cut down user-days annually (~500,000 in 2012), oblige trips to have a lighter footprint, and unclog the lottery system.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: The Grand Eight on 04/03/2014 13:49:01 MDT Print View

Andrew, here's a quick sketch. Almost a figure 8 if you add in the driving.

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgICA7ZPwCQw

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: The Grand Eight on 04/03/2014 13:57:02 MDT Print View

Thanks, Dave. My first impressions are (a) that must have taken a lot of planning and (b) my mind reels at figuring out a way through the cliff bands between drainages. I'm sure you and M will have plenty to keep you busy if you end up moving to the desert. I'm currently planning a five day trip with Ellen that won't have packrafts but will have a double rack of cams and two ropes. A heavy pack every once in awhile is good for the soul and is a good indicator that you're doing something rad.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: The Grand Eight on 04/03/2014 14:00:01 MDT Print View

Todd Martin's Grand Canyoneering made the planning not so complex. I know Todd well enough to trust him to be meticulous with route information. The book is geared towards technical canyoneers, but is a good resource for backpackers.

Kevin Buggie
(kbuggie) - M

Locale: NW New Mexico
Re: Re: Kudos!...... and packrafting downstream? on 04/03/2014 14:13:50 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info, Dave. Those regs are surprisingly accommodating. My favorite/closest packrafting locale so far is the BLM managed San Juan, but man is the required gear a drag on a lightweight trip (extra paddle, groover, fire pan, and type III PFD).