Grand Canyon with Kids? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-09-2009   #1
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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Grand Canyon with Kids?

After all the tradegy this year on the river I am rethinking our Grand Canyon trip in March. We have 2 kids who will be almost 11 and 13 and we have a permit for March of 2010. My husband and I have plenty of rafting experience -Cataract, Salt, Shoshone, Westwater, Yampa, Ladore, Desolation, Blue, Colorado (never on the Grand though), the group has had plenty of experience including several Grand Trips and the kids have done the Yampa, Ladore, Desolation, Upper C and Blue and my oldest did Shoshone at high water. The oldest has taken many swims, including Shoeshone at high water and kayaks. The youngest however, has only had one not so bad swim on Ladore and walked Warm Springs at High Water. I plan on having them completed outfitted with dry gear, helmets and of course PFD's and they are taking swimming lessons. The Grand is a trip of the lifetime and we have always wanted to do it as a family-but I am a bit nervous this year. I am seeking opinions from those who have been on trip as to what they think, especially if they have gone with kids.
Thanks so much!

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Old 07-09-2009   #2
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Baytopia, Colorado
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I was on a trip with some kids - one 11 year old. He did great. His dad flipped in Crystal which is pretty much the worst swim and everything was all good. Don't let it stop you.
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Old 07-09-2009   #3
 
Durango, Colorado
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For what it's worth, at the company I work for our minimum age is 12. That's pretty common for row trips. On a motor trip I did, we had an 8 year old. I think they'll be ok as long as they are as prepared as they can be, and you are as well. It sounds like you've got the experience and so does the rest of your crew.
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Old 07-09-2009   #4
 
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Knife Fork of the Spoon Paddling Since: 1984
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If you have good warm gear (the water is cold) and a good high floatation pfd go for it. All the big drops are easily scouted and walkable. It is such a wonderful place and so few get to do it as a private. As always its your call
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Old 07-09-2009   #5
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Thanks for the input-I am feeling better already. All of this stuff on the river lately was making me nervous. This really is a dream of a lifetime and the kids have already talked to school about getting the time off; but as a parent I want to know that I am not getting them into something that can't be managed (I understand there is always risk on the river). Still taking comments if you desire.
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Old 07-09-2009   #6
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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One nice thing about the Grand is that there are almost always big pools to recover in if you do flip - there isn't anything like the Big Drops on Cataract or high water Westwater. A lot of the big drops have pretty mellow sneak lines too - I don't think I even got wet in House Rock, Hance, Crystal, Dubendorff, or Upset.

Make absolutely sure you go right at Bedrock, avoid the rock gardens in Crystal and Dubendorff, and stay out of the Ledge Hole in Lava and there isn't all that much to worry about even if you do flip.
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Old 07-09-2009   #7
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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atg
Great information on running the rapids! I figured we could save the wild runs for another time and just want to enjoy the river and the canyon and get down safely.
We flipped in Big Drops -fortunatly it was 3-thought we would see what our big Cat would do in a big hole. Flipped us over like nothing. Now we know.
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Old 07-09-2009   #8
 
Durango, Colorado
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Those lines aren't necessarily "sneak" lines. They are lines that are mellow if you make them, but they are the standard lines and if the lines get blown, the consequences can be swims and flips. Don't go into it thinking that there will be easy sneak lines. They are all hard moves.
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Old 07-09-2009   #9
 
denver, Colorado
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I did the Grand with a couple of teenage kids back in 1990. No problems. The dad (the oarsman) got knocked out of the boat in Crystal but the rest of the family stayed aboard. Once they looked back and figured out no one was at the oars, they recovered well.
With kids that age, in the big rapids I'd consider having a policy of making one adult responsible for a kid. If the kid swims, the adult swims with them. Swimming alone in big water can be scary and could spoil the trip for the kid.
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Old 07-09-2009   #10
 
Durango, Colorado
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One of the first rules of rescue is to never put yourself in the same potentially dangerous situation on purpose. Yeah, it's probably going to be ok, but having extra eyes and hands on boats to help with pulling swimmers in or recovering a flip is, in my opinion, better than sending people purposely swimming after someone. Maybe in certain situation, and if that person is a good rescue swimmer it's ok, but i'd have trouble doing it for someone who is just swimming.
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