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Old 08-16-2007   #1
Fuzzy's Avatar
Knife Fork of the Spoon Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 365
Grand Canyon in Dec

I may have the option of a run in Dec how cold is it down there??

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Old 08-16-2007   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883
Hi Fuzzy,

I've never done a winter trip, but if you post your question over at you should get a pretty good response.

Also, IIRC over at , there's info on the Canyon that includes files with temperature info and camp sunlight by hours of the day.

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips

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Old 08-16-2007   #3
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 321
Do it! Christmas and New Year's in the big ditch is unforgettable. I did a trip down in December 05 and weather was really good. Then again, it was one of the warmest and driest winters on record for AZ, and I've definately heard of people geting pelted with cold rain and wind on some winter trips. But its very rare for it to snow below the Redwall (halfway up the canyon walls). Drysuits are a nicety, but not an absolute necessity. Just take lots of warm shit like you're headed out on an early season april trip in the mountains.

Have fun!
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Old 08-17-2007   #4
Fuzzy's Avatar
Knife Fork of the Spoon Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 365
Cool buzz thanks!!
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Old 08-17-2007   #5
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 28
Did a November Trip many years ago... Halloween Launch -

Weather was nice enough, but days are short down in the canyon...
Hard to get people up and at'em / off the beach before the sun hits.
Sun goes away early too, made for some epic days trying to make up distance. Short days was a bigger issue than weather for us..
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Old 08-17-2007   #6
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,910
I know a guy that once had a launch on the winter solstice - he said that they never had any direct sunlight down in the canyon and that it was like boating in dusk all day, every day.

I think he said that drysuits were a necessity.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 08-17-2007   #7
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
Hi Fuzzy, I have done a number of winter trips in the canyon, and do not own a dry-suit, so you should know there are many ways to skin the winter cat. Bib bottoms and a good splash jacket or rain jacket with lots of poly pro can serve you just fine, as they do me when i row. It depends if you are a passenger just sitting, rowing your own boat or kayaking.

Go Man Go! You will have a blast! Yes, it's cold, yes, it might and has snowed on the river in December. It will most likely freeze at night, but not drop much below freezing. The river doesn't freeze over, but I have seen a lot of ice built up on the shore on a couple of trips.

There's a huge wealth on info at these two sources:

River Runners For Wilderness’s listserver. It's a great place to stay abreast of and participate in the latest river issues. It’s as easy as sending a blank e-mail to

Also, check out RRFW’s Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki for free information on DIY Grand Canyon rafting info including info on winter trips.

Finally, e-mail me direct if you have further questions. Have a wonderful journey, Tom Martin

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