Grand Canyon 2004
Sept. 24-27, 2004

Participants

Dave O'Brien
Jason Barnes
Jani Radebaugh
Catherine Neish
Oleg Abramov
John Keller

Background

This was the second Grand Canyon hike I've done since I've been at LPL. My first hike was with Jason and Jani, who went on this trip, as well as Ross Beyer and Rachel Mastrapa. We recruited some new victims for this trip:-)

The Route (Maps by Jason)

Medium

Large
Whole Hike
Medium

Large
Day 1
Medium

Large
Days 2 and 3
Medium

Large
Day 4

We actually took off straight up Cottonwood Creek towards the Grandview Trail
instead of heading over Horseshoe Mesa, as shown here.

Hike Description

We came in via the South Kaibab trail and stayed the first night at the Bright Angel Campground on the north side of the Colorado river. The hike was only about 7 miles long, but we dropped 4650 vertical feet! On the morning of day 2, we loaded up with over 2 gallons of water per person (over 16 pounds) and hiked 1500 feet up to the Tonto Trail which we took towards the east. We camped our second night a bit to the west of Boulder Creek, which we got to around sunset. The morning of day 3, we woke up at 5:15 and took off towards Grapevine Creek, where we got to our first water source since the Colorado. We got to our campsite in Cottonwood Creek around sunset. Days 2 and 3 covered about 10 miles each, most of it relatively flat (except for the initial climb from the River) but with little shade. On the last day, we woke up at 6:00 and hiked out the Grandview trail The hike out was only about 5 miles long, but went up about 3700 vertical feet.

The South Kaibab trail is well maintained and not too scary. The Grandview trail is not maintained, but is in pretty good condition. It has a few scary parts, but it's not too bad. I'm definitely glad we hiked up it rather than down it, though, as there was a lot of scrambling over and through boulders and it was really steep. The Tonto Trail, which runs east-west about 1500 feet above the river and which we used to get from the Kaibab to the Grandview trails, is unmaintained and has numerous scary sections, which despite being somewhat scary are passable. At one point, however, as we were heading out of the eastern side of Grapevine Creek and reconnecting with the main Canyon, we felt we would probably die if we took one particular washed-out section of the Tonto Trail and were forced to make our own route. When we got back, I wrote a letter to the backcountry office encouraging them to warn people about that section. I initially just called the office, but the woman I spoke to seemed to not be that worried. If you're taking a route like this one, you'll see the section I'm talking about---veer off the trail and make your own route to get around it.

Selected Pictures

All of my pictures, organized by day (~300)

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Other people's pictures

Jason Barnes
Oleg Abramov