Grand Canyon Winter Solo Trip - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-12-2009   #1
mrkyak's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 320
Grand Canyon Winter Solo Trip

A Grand Canyon winter solo raft trip. Anybody been there done that?

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Old 10-12-2009   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I launched with 5 on new years eve once and two hiked out at phantom so then there were three. It's certainly doable but I would recommend you have gone at least once so you know where the scouts are.
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Old 10-12-2009   #3
logan, Colorado
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I did a 2 boat three person winter trip and think it is awesome. As long as you know how to row and read water you should be fine. Wear a dry suit and get a good map.
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Old 10-12-2009   #4
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16
That would be bad ass.
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Old 10-12-2009   #5
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
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There was a guy (I think his name was McGinnis) from Glenwood that I ran into on a Nov/Dec trip. He was solo in a kayak. Not a lightweight trip either. He had a full gallon of JB and had his 3 person dome tent bungied to his back deck. He knew the river well and we watched him run Hance without scouting (rolled once also). The water was big too as we had a steady 24K. I thought he was way out there on a skinny limb but he seemed to be enjoying himself.
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Old 10-12-2009   #6
Join Date: May 2009
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Do it!
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Old 10-12-2009   #7
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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I'm launching Jan. 12 for 29 days alone. PM me if you want to talk about it.
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Old 10-13-2009   #8
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Sep 2007
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read Collin Fletchers book about his solo trip. I'd carry less tea and more whiskey.
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Old 10-13-2009   #9
Join Date: Sep 2006
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I've been thinking for a long time about a solo trip, would also like to do a winter trip. But not a solo, winter trip. Margin of error goes way down and you will spend most of your time getting, staying warm. Between that and having groover duty, cook duty and clean up duty EVERY day, there would be little daylight for anything else. Would also need two of everything for warmth/safety (two sleeping bags, two pairs of Sorens, all packed seperately). Swimming or getting gear wet in the winter becomes a survival issue, not just an inconvience. Understand with the current permit system, winter is when permits are available. Also understand the desire to truly have the river to your self. A summer solo trip you would be seeing many people all the time.

One advantage of a solo trip for me would be spending much more time floating the river early morning and in the evening, times typically spent in camp. Would also do many more short hikes. With a big group it is easy to stop at all the standard hikes/attractions, but easy to miss the less popular hikes and side canyons. After five trips I still have a long list of camps and hikes I would like to see. Also could stop at the crowed spots (Matcat, Havasu, Deer Creek, etc) very early or very late to avoid the crowds. Would be no issue with finding camps, there are hundreds of spot where one boat, one cot will fit.

Would greatly reduce the amount of time spent setting up camp and preparing meals. Gear and food would be more backpack style than typical float and bloat. For a summer trip I would sleep on the boat much more often than a spring or fall trip.

My boat would be rigged differently, in that all safety gear would need to be accessed from the top and the bottom. Would travel much lighter than on a big group trip with a much cleaner load, just in case. Despite trying to go lighter, I wouldn't have someone else to cover if both flashlites broke or the security of having 5 plus boats with repair kits/ spare parts.

Just came off of a Sept trip with floats at a steady 10k for 24/7. Would have made a perfect time to run solo because you would not have to worry about moving boat in the middle of the night, or hauling boat back to river if you were a sound sleeper.

A couple nights at Phantom Ranch might be a pleasant break. Warm bed, shower and someone else doing the cooking! Please keep us updated on your plans and hopefully a trip report when you get back.

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Old 10-13-2009   #10
alta, Utah
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 124
I have been thinking about it too. Does anyone know if it is possible to make arrangements to resupply yourself via a US mail package (or someother arrangement) at Phantom and Havasupai. I am pretty sure I could mail a package to phantom...not so sure about havasupai in the off season. Considering all the other gear you have to bring, it sure would be nice to carry an 8 or 9 days supply of bacon (carvedog) rather than enough for the whole 21-28 day trip.
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