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Old 02-14-2007   #1
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 151
1/2 the grand?

ive got a permit for a grand canyon trip this summer, but cant make the whole thing. 15 others will be going through the whole canyon, and i'm pondering the notion of joining them for HALF the trip.

my questions are...
1. is this an option as far as the park service is concerned?
2. for those of you who have run the entire river, would you recommend doing lee's ferry to phantom ranch, or phantom to the take out? WHY?


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Old 02-14-2007   #2
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 321
I'm not sure under the new rules, but I don't think that's an option. The permit holder is the one person that I think is required to be there on the whole trip. If you have an alternate trip leader designated on your permit, you can pass it to them and then you would be able to hike in/out. Either segment of the grand is worth doing, although doing it all is definately the best. If they do let you hike in, I would probably go for the latter half.

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Old 02-14-2007   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,095
Not sure about the question of can you do it. I would assume that you could nominate the alternate trip leader to be the trip leader and that you could do 1/2 the trip. Hopefully the GCPBA guy Rich will chime in.

As for which half, I have done phantom to the takeout, and the whole thing as well. I would personally choose the 2nd half if I could only do one or the other. My reasons would be...
1) The biggest and most fun rapids are in the 2nd half. Lava, granite, hermit, horn, crystal, upset. The gem series was a blast too and kept on coming. While there are good rapids up top too, the best whitewater is in the 2nd half.
2) While the entire canyon has incredible hikes and side attractions, two of the coolest places on the river to me, deer creek falls, and elves chasm are on the 2nd half. Very cool.
3) I'd rather hike into the canyon vs. hiking out. Just me.

One thing that would be in favor of the upper half is the scenery. I think that the views in the upper part of the canyon in marble canyon are phenomenal. The lower canyon gets into the vishnu schist, which is really cool and majestic, but the canyon walls get closer and you don't get the endless views of majestic canyon that you see in pictures so much. Most of the breathtaking scenic shots in the grand canyon come from marble canyon.

Either way, its gonna be awesome.
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Old 02-14-2007   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
What they said...

Actually, those were very good responses. The permit holder has to be on the entire trip, and that's not something I'd try to evade. There are on-river patrols, and stopping at Phantom can put you in direct contact with ranger personnel. Huge, costly problems if you are caught.

If you don't have an alternate trip leader named, you're out of luck. However, if you have one and were thinking about turning it over the that person, I'd do that before the actual permit gets issued, if possible. Because I'm not sure about whether you can do that and still go on the trip yourself, I've put in a call to the River Office. I'm waiting for a call-back, and I'll post back here if I can get a sure answer.

On the upper or lower issue, that's a lot of personal choice. I would do the lower if it came down to it -- more fun rapids, I'd rather walk downhill than uphill, that intangible thing about coming out of the Canyon into open country and imagining how Powell and his men felt -- lots of individuality there.

Rich Phillips

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Old 02-14-2007   #5
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 151
one more thing...

thanks for the quick replies, but one more thing...
im a freelance photographer who does some work with paddler magazine and several outdoor gear retailers. thus, big canyon scenery might overrule big rapids...
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Old 02-14-2007   #6
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Man, you make it so hard.......

I agree the openness of the early canyon is great. But if you sort of think about where many of the great photos are taken, they're below Phantom. Elves Chasm, Deer Creek (Falls and the Narrows on top), Havasu, and lots of great places like that. I love the shapes of the eroded black rocks and the huge banks of columnar basalt, and all the geology on the lower end as well. But there are folks who could give you examples of stuff just as fine on the upper, I'm sure.

The River Office folks are out to lunch, so I still have to get back to you about the substitute-the-TL-but-still-go-on-the-trip thing. Seems like something I should know, but can't seem to recall that one having come up yet anywhere I've seen.

Have a good one.

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Old 02-14-2007   #7
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 151
i've designated an alternate tl, and did so long ago- that's taken care of...thanks!
just looking for what "aspects" of either half of the canyon make it better than the "other half"...
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Old 02-14-2007   #8
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
I would just rethink that you can't make the whole thing. Are you having a child or getting married? if not you have no excuses.
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Old 02-14-2007   #9
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 151
mania- your reply makes me laugh.
we're having our first child in march, and building a house this summer. other than that, not much going on.
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Old 02-14-2007   #10
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

The fact you have named an alternate may not solve the problem completely, particularly if you are there at the Ferry for launch.

What if they take the position that since you're going on the trip, you must be the TL, and you must stay on the whole trip?

That's the question I'm waiting to get an answer for. Hate for you to show up and get in a fix that could have been avoided somehow.



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