Hammock camping in Cataract Canyon... - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-25-2014   #1
 
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
 
Silverthorne, Colorado
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Hammock camping in Cataract Canyon...

Just curious if hammock camping is a viable option in Cat Canyon? This is my first trip down (March) and am trying to consolidate down as much as possible and the hammock shelter is was smaller and lighter than the tent...

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Old 01-25-2014   #2
 
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Watching to see the answers you get. I'm also a hammock user from time to time. I've been curious about hammock camping in canyon country.
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Old 01-25-2014   #3
 
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I have seen a hammock at brown betty, rapid 10 and ten cent. There are usually enough dead tamarisk nearby to be creative with.
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Old 01-25-2014   #4
 
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Sweet, that's good to know. If things get sketchy I can also rig it as a ground shelter as well.
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Old 01-25-2014   #5
 
Westminster, Colorado
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I think it will depend largely on where your group stays, but you could potentially be left pretty unhappy with your options and using the ground shelter more often than not. A lot of the vegetation down there is either pretty wispy or so socked in it will take some serious machete work to clear out an opening between solid limbs. In March I'm a ground tent sleeper down there, and in summer a boat sleeper if possible. Hammocks seem more dependable in Deso and Lodore than Cat or the San Juan.
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Old 01-25-2014   #6
 
cedar city, Utah
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Likely have major problems with hammocks before the confluence which is at least a 2 day deal for most of us oar powered folks, especially in March. Options exist in the heart of the canyon but you might have to base camp decisions on trees which is hard to do considering you register ahead for camps from Spanish Bottom to Dark Canyon. Some camps would be great others would suck. And then it gets slim pickings again from Imperial down which another 2 nights normally.

I would rate Cat as generally non-ideal for hammocks. In March you will generally be using sand bars on the Colorado above the confluence. This should be especially true this year. Below Imperial you will be sleeping on un-vegetated mudbanks that resemble the scene from the Golden Child where Eddy Murphy is jumping from pillar to pillar. I have had the mud pillars sink 4 feet while setting up camp down there.

If you are going for it then definitely consider one of the upper Spanish Bottom camps on river right. I think it is the first one you come to. Spent a day in a hammock there plus it will give you a easy hike up to the Doll House which is a must see the first time. I also think one of the Ten Cent camps has options but a little vague which one (thinking lower).

Enjoy your trip. Great year and season to be floating down there.

Phillip
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Old 01-25-2014   #7
 
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My Hennessy hammock can be set up as a ground shelter also. I've never used it that way but it can be done with trekking poles, paddles, or maybe a line set up on weaker branches since it only needs to support the rain fly and not your body weight.
If your hammock material is not waterproof then this would be a bad idea in the rain. If its not raining you can use it as a loose bivy without the fly. I use a pad when hanging a hammock (to add rigidity/comfort) or using a tent/bivy, so if you hammock without a pad using it on the ground may not be ideal.

Mr French
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Old 01-26-2014   #8
 
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After seeing the responses & thinking about the topography, I think I'd opt for a pad & ultralight tent if I were kayaking. Or maybe your hammock, tarp & trekking poles like Mr. French suggests. I love sleeping in my hammock when trees are available, but much prefer my underquilt over a pad in the hammock for warmth.

I'm thinking about a Stillwater/Labyrinth trip this summer in a touring kayak and this very question has me puzzled. I'd love to save weight & space with my hammock set-up, but wonder about the practicality?
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Old 01-26-2014   #9
 
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Thanks for the beta on this, folks.

I am normally a boat sleeper myself, but I am not going to be able to do that this go around. My current set up is an ENO with a Kelty UL tarp strung over head with either a paco or thermarest stuffed inside.

After reading through this and taking cataraft.girl's idea of looking at a topo, I'm going to rethink this option for sures
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Old 01-26-2014   #10
 
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If there were places to use rocks or canyon walls as anchors that might work. But most of these canyons are sand with shrubby Tamarisks, Russian Olive(ouch), Pinyon Pines, and Junipers. Not very big or sturdy tress for a hammock. The canyon walls are a bit too far away to be practical. I tried to hammock sleep on Deso, and even there, with some big cottonwoods it was a bit of a challenge in places.
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