Grand Canyon Rigging for a 15' in Sept.. - Page 3 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-25-2016   #21
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,088
Schutzie is jealous!
First, don't over think stuff. You will, but stop it. Yes, its the Grand Canyon. Yes, it's your longest trip. Yes, it's going to be awesome. Yes, it can be scary. and yes you want to do it right. You most probably will get it right anyway, but overthinking everything won't change the outcome.

If you've done multi day before, you already know the basics of how to do this. You do not need to alter much.

You are going to be amazed at the sheer volume of ............. stuff you have to carry. Take beer. We planned a 6 pack a person a day for a 15 day trip; there were 8 of us. That works out to 30 cases of beer. 30! And we ran out about day 11. Liquor is more compact but you really don't want anything in glass. Also, remember that a Gin and Tonic is really good, but by about day 12 you'll be wondering what else you could mix in there for some variety.
On both of my Grand trips I over packed clothes, and still smelled like a goat when we got to Las Vegas. Really think about what you need and want. Fashion should not be a focus below Lees Ferry. Comfort and utility should be.

You will find that creature comforts become more important; a soft place to lay your weary head; a comfortable place to sit. Dry shoes. Plan accordingly.

Plan your meals and consumables carefully; do not over pack, but do not skimp either. If your menu says 15 slices of bread for french toast, you take 15 slices; not 14, not 16.

Do not let Lava (or any of the big rapids) psyche you out. They will, but stop it anyway. The thing is, the Grand is all about BIG. Big rapids, big water, big holes, big rocks, but your itsy bitsy boat will have lots of room to avoid the really monster stuff, just pay attention to your lines, and remember that the currents can be really strong.

In Schutzie's opinion any ballast you could load on your boat will not make one bit of difference if you miss the line in Crystal or Lava. And, if your boat is heavier than you normally have it, you have a greater chance of missing the line anyway.

Just keep telling yourself; a lot of people have been here before me, and some of them weren't as good as me, and they made it, so I know I can as well.

Of course, a few of them didn't make it because the river Gods have a sense of humor.

Schutzie is truly jealous. You don't so much run the Grand Canyon as get swallowed up by it, and spit out the other end as a different person.

A grand trip is kind of like getting married; no matter how well or how long you plan, no matter how much you spend, something will not go as intended. But, it's what didn't go as planned that makes for the best memories. Take lots of pictures, TAKE AND KEEP A JOURNAL. If you can, get a copy of Edward Abby's "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and take it with you for reading.

And one other thing; you will discover that a Big Mac tastes much better at Pearce Ferry than it does at Lees Ferry.


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Old 07-26-2016   #22
whip's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 524
All you need to know: " Everyday is rig to flip day in the Grand Canyon!"
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 07-27-2016   #23
dgoods's Avatar
Montrose, Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 97
Lots of great tips on this thread.

Clothing- as said already, bring a minimal blend of comfort and tech cloths: comfy camp clothes, good rain gear, 1 pair of river footwear plus a back up pair, small day-pack for hikes.
*I like using small different colored stuff sacks in my dry bag to stay organized and know where stuff is.

Rig-wise- low and tight. Try to rig so that your heaviest stuff is down low and fairly centered-front to back for faster pivoting with a bit bow heavy for punching.

For strapping, rig so that if Godzilla picked up your boat and shook it around violently up-side-down, nothing would move. For stuff like heavy dry boxes and coolers I like to use 2 straps over the tops and 2 off the sides. Also, think about at camp are you going to have to completely un-rig your boat to get at stuff in the front and back- or just be able to de-rig one end of the boat and minimize your work.
*Roller-cam straps are nice and bomber.
*Use beefy straps for attaching your frame to boat-either wide poly straps or roller-cam nylon straps.

Sleep system: I love sleeping on my boat in the Grand. It's way cooler than on shore and I just love my boat. A roll-a-cot w/a paco on it is comfy, but gets old setting up every day. Having a nice long deck to throw a paco on works well. On past trips I've brought tents for rain, but a Black Diamond mega-mid works good for shore and on-boat shelter-unless the wind is cranking.

Misc...For a couple side hikes like mat-cat and havazoo it's nice to have some climbing chocks to set tie-up anchors in the rocks. Have a good shade system. I like to bring a weed spraying mister to cool off on long days - cost about $10 and are worth it IMO. Good water-proof camera with back-up batteries and memory card.

Grand trips are awesome-especially in the fall. Keep your boat tight with minimal foot entrapment potential. Take your time, hike a lot, tee up for the big stuff, run the glory line at Hermit-even if boats in front of you flip, leave your watch at home, get into river mode!
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Old 07-27-2016   #24
BoscoBoater's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 235
I like this version the best. The audio, combined with the short arm perspective, makes it seem like some random family vacation post from Jabba da Hutt.

You can hear Jabba saying' "sweet dude! beer me!"..... or some shit like that. I don't know, I'm not really that fluent Huttese as of yet.Those rolling r's just kill me.

Originally Posted by 90Duck View Post

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Old 07-27-2016   #25
trevko's Avatar
Fort Fun, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 142
Originally Posted by dgoods View Post
Lots of great tips on this thread.

For strapping, rig so that if Godzilla picked up your boat and shook it around violently up-side-down, nothing would move.
Because if you go into the Ledge Hole this is what is happening! I have seen some wicked carnage from there. On one trip I had someone in my group get lost at the top and went into the hole. The frame was torn off the raft, ripping webbing and tearing off D rings. Only thing we lost was our backboard table.

I was running sweep - funnest damn thing to see coming up the tail waves and seeing the passenger trying to row the boat-less frame (the ammo cans and dry boxes floated it). Had to count boats 4-5 times until I figured out the frame was detached.....

But like Shutzie says, don't let it psyche you out.
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Old 08-01-2016   #26
Laytonville, California
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 1
Lucky You

I've done the Canyon 11 times in everything from a kayak to a 18' gearboat to a 16' Dory, but mostly in my 15' raft. There are a lot of good tips here, and I would second a few--you certainly don't need extra ballast, just distribute what you have so that you have an even trim. Maneuverability is good in a 15' boat. I believe it's much more important to square up to what's coming than to try and get out of the way. A fair sized sidebox in critical to my thinking, something that is very easy to get stuff out of quickly. It's still very hot in Sept. and you won't want a splash top or dry top 98% of the time, but the water is cold and the rapids plenty splashy, so I always keep a splash top in my left sidebox so I can whip it on and off quickly. I also wear Chaco's because they won't come off in a swim, unlike Velcro'd sandals. Stay in the flow and don't sneak, you may never get the chance to run the meat again. My favorite trip launched Sept 23rd--23 days, 286 miles solo in my 15' Sotar, I got it on 6 days notice when the hardware broke down for the fall make-up lottery....
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