Winter Grand Trip, 1st or 2nd Half? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-17-2007   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 254
Winter Grand Trip, 1st or 2nd Half?

so i got an invite for a winter grand trip leaving late January.

can't handle the full trip, thinking of half.

any recomendations on first or second half?

was thinking second, only because it will be easier to hike down than up....is lava on the second half? better whitewater on first or second? will there be any kind of noticable temp change (warmer lower?)???

will be kayaking, with wife in duckie and/or on raft....

any thoughts/advice appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

S

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Old 10-17-2007   #2
 
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I think you're right...the second half might be just a tad warmer, with a bit more sun. you'd also see more of the big, classic GC rapids on the second half. better side hikes on the first half though...I want to say the second half is longer, too...
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Old 10-17-2007   #3
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Are you planning to hike in at Phantom?

The big disadvantage to hiking in to do the second half would be that you would miss Marble Canyon all together. Crystal and Lava are both downstream of Phantom so you would have plenty of big water. I am a big fan of the Lava Falls area - something about seeing lava cascades plastered onto the canyon walls that is just so amazing. Both air and water temp should be higher the farther downstream you go. If you hike-in in January try and get all your gear on the boats before they lauch (to lighten your load) and watch out for ice on the trails (especially those that don't get a lot of travel).
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Old 10-17-2007   #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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cool -

yeah, planning on phantom. are there other options?

what is the attraction of marble? how does it compare versus the rest of the canyon?

what about hike in? i heard there is a 5 mile and a 11 mile trail. what is recomended from those that have done it?

thanks again - S
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Old 10-17-2007   #5
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kahn View Post
cool -

yeah, planning on phantom. are there other options?

what is the attraction of marble? how does it compare versus the rest of the canyon?

what about hike in? i heard there is a 5 mile and a 11 mile trail. what is recomended from those that have done it?

thanks again - S
There are tons of trails to the river. Many may not be practical in the winter. For example hiking in at Tanner would get you to the river at RM 72 upstream from Hance and the Upper Granite Gorge. Tanner is a long trail (with great views) and can be pretty rough. I would not be excited about doing it if there was a bunch of ice on the trail. The Bass Trail would get you to the river at RM 108 (downstream from Crystal) but might be an option if you have limited time. However the road out to Bass in rough and is probably not passable in the winter (Tanner is off a paved Park Road). You can even hike in right at Lava - its more of a route than a trail (itís a very long drive on dirt roads to the trailhead but I have done it in December).

Marble Canyon is in my opinion the most dramatic part of the canyon. The walls are shear and its more intimate than the lower sections. That said the whole canyon is amazing. Elves Chasm, Deer Creek Falls, Lava Falls are all downstream from Phantom and are very special places. Do the second half now and the first later.

In terms of deciding which trail to take to Phantom I would call the Backcountry Office before you go and ask which is more snow/ice free.
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Old 10-17-2007   #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi,

Most exchanges are done at Phantom, which is about 1/3 of the way through if you're doing the whole Canyon. It's about 8 miles to the river via the Bright Angel Trail, and maybe 6-7 via the South Kaibab.

The first couple of miles, you might want instep crampons, as the trail will be hard-packed and icy that time of year. The recommendation to have your gear on the boats already is a good one.

I'd do the lower if I had to make a choice. But there are very good arguments for the upper as well. Whether you do the upper or lower, you'll have lots of opportunities to have a great time.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
VP, GPCBA
gcpba.org
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gcpba/messages
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Old 10-17-2007   #7
no tengo
 
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Baytopia, Colorado
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suck it up and do the whole thing. you wont regret it even if you get fired.
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Old 10-17-2007   #8
 
Hood River, Oregon
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First of all, cutting the trip in two is one of the worst offenses you can commit on the river.

If you have to choose, do the second half, Lava is down there, better whitewhater, better scenery, better hiking. Also, the second part of the trip is the longer part.

Honestly though, there should be no excuse for a boater to cut that trip short.

David
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Old 10-18-2007   #9
 
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Make sure your wife has LOTS of clothes
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