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Old 01-14-2015   #1
Brigham city, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Advice for GC in april

I have rowed the GC a few years ago in Feb, and now I have a permit in April. What can I expect, whats the temp like, advice on clothing and gear. Bimini, yes or no. Also we going all the way to Pearce, has anyone ever used a motor, is it worth it or too much hassel?

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Old 01-14-2015   #2
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
If you're going all the way to Pearce, a motor makes sense if the lake is up. Right now, and likely in April, you'll have current all the way to Pearce, or at least almost all the way.
If the lake was up I wouldn't consider Pearce without a motor. As to the hassle, yes it is; you need the gas (heavy and bulky) need the registration, need lights, a spare and/or parts etc. etc. etc. Plus, you need to assume that the motor won't be worth much when you finish with it, if you rely on it coming down the canyon. Silty water + machinery=trouble. I suspect it would be cheaper in the long run to just take out at Diamond.

It was me, and the lake was down like it is now, I'd just run with oars.

My trips were both August trips so I can't help much with weather/water.

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Old 01-14-2015   #3
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 298
I have only done 1 trip all the way and I was very disappointed. It was very flat, with plenty of native motor boat and helicopter traffic, limited and marginal camping. I'm sort of glad I did it once but not really. Our full trip was last April and we did not have motors and didn't find it too difficult. On my next trip I will take out at Diamond and spend more time in the heart of the canyon. If I were doing it again I would use a motor and camp 1 night instead of 3.

I thought my March 25th put in, 24 days, was my best trip weather wise. A little cool till phantom but then toasty. I didn't bring my bimini and really only would have used it a couple days.
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
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Old 01-14-2015   #4
trevko's Avatar
Fort Fun, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 117
Depending on the storm track, the weather can be either very pleasant to slightly warm (no need for a bimini) or cold and windy as hell. It is a beautiful time to go with a good chance of the flowers being in all their reproductive glory but the winds can be downright ferocious. One April trip I remember was so windy it was all we could do to get to Salt, pulling our guts out all day.
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Old 01-14-2015   #5
Las Vegas, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 97
What a great time of year! The NPS/GRCA has charts of historical monthly highs/lows at Phantom. The weather in April should be very nice. Highs in the 80's most of the time. Phoenix and Las Vegas temps are very close to River Side temps. I wouldn't think you wouldn't want a bimini, but having an umbrella may be nice lower down. Remember, it will get hotter as you go.

I think I am the exception that I like the Diamond Down section. There are still some good rapids, nice hikes and it's still the Grand Canyon! Past mile 240 you will not have any rapids, but there is current all of the way to Pearce. No need for a motor. You also have the option of night floating through Helicopter Hell if you prefer.

We put in early March this year and plan on night floating from Spencer down. It will be my second night float, and we ran it in 3.5 days back in October for fun. Ignore the Diamond Take out crowd and head to Pearce, leave the motor and enjoy the last few days of your river trip! Just FYI, there is a pretty good camp on River Left about a mile above Columbine. Something like RM 274.5-275. it's right where the river turns left, can be hard to see and it is the last good camp in the canyon. There is also a large camp just past the Grand Wash Cliffs on RL above Pearce.

Have fun!
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Old 01-14-2015   #6
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
Westfield, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 178
I have done one trip with a motor all the way to south cove, and one trip without a motor to Pearce ferry. Lake mead was down, there was slow current the whole way. In my opinion, skip the motor. Yes it was faster, but such a head ache. Plus our captain hit a sand bar, ruined the impeller, and we then had to use the foot pumps on the hand wash system to keep water flowing through the engine....McGiver'd yes...but time consuming rigging the motor and everything.

I suggest you barge all the boat together when u hit the flat water. And have a flotilla party till u reach the end. Just have a few oars for maneuvering the barge and keep a steady rhythm with the current. Hit the river early and stay out late. Party on man!
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Old 01-14-2015   #7
eddy hopper's Avatar
DURANGO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 79
What day are you launching? I have an April 18th launch, 16 days to Diamond. I'd say for sure no motor you'll have current all the way.
"Eddies are our friends"
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Old 01-15-2015   #8
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 36
I have done several trips in April I would bring the Bimini. Every trip I have been able to use the Bimini as a spinnaker with and oar as a rudder through QuarterMaster and got cheered from all of the Vegas gapers and boat captains. Makes for some fun in in the final flat water. Weather is usually brisk for the first week, but beginning of the super group it is nice to have.
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Old 01-15-2015   #9
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Bimini seems like a hassle for 80 degree days. There's plenty of current, so no motor necessary! April is awesome - have fun!
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Old 01-16-2015   #10
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 148
The night float was a highlight of a trip a few years ago - launched the giant raft barge from Separation Canyon at 8 PM, woke up a few miles before the Grand Wash Cliffs at dawn. We all really enjoyed it - no helicopters, and bonus points if you have a full moon. Much more pleasant than taking out at Diamond in my opinion.

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