A big hike in the Grand Canyon, part 1

Dave already killed it with the narrative here, here , here, here, and here so I’ll keep the words to a minimum.  I think we both had a bit of nerves headed into this one; Dave hadn’t hiked on dirt in months and until this trip I had managed years of travel to all corners of the Colorado Plateau without the use of ropes.  Technical canyoneering has always had some appeal as a tool to get places as part of bigger trips, but I’ve gotten by without it and I don’t really have any peers into it so it’s been easy to not learn.  I jumped at the chance to dive in when Dave emailed me a big mess of lines on a hillmap link–a rough route idea for eight days in the Grand.

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It was immediately strange being in such a familiar landscape with such unfamiliar geology.  I know the personalities and tendencies of Navajo, Wingate, and Kayenta intimately–where to find water, where to look for routes in and out of canyons; but Supai, Toroweap, and this strange slick thing called limestone was a bit disorienting.  Patterns emerged, though, like (at least this early in the spring) running water every time we went through the Supai.

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After our first rappel things got special in a hurry.

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Things remained fun and interesting all the way to the river.

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Sleep was easy as was distraction from hard walking and heavy packs.

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I don’t think we had a day without a lot of serious boulder hoppin.

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I like a good mix of big views and rims in addition to canyon bottoms so it was to see what things looked like from above for a bit.

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The Redwall rim was pretty easy if hot travel but getting up through the Supai was probably the most tedious stretch of the trip.  Even bigger views once on top…

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…and a bit tamer route down…

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Olo from above:

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I woke up before dawn to the unmistakable barking/call of a Mexican spotted owl that had made its way to within probably 30m of our camp.  Being reminded of what the walls looked like once light came made it apparent that a significant amount of patience and/or luck would be required to actually see it.

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Dave’s attention to detail on anchors was appreciated…

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After a final short rappel to the river it was several miles of (at times razor-sharp) boulder hopping up to Kanab Creek…

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to be continued…

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11 thoughts on “A big hike in the Grand Canyon, part 1

    • Thanks. I’ve become pretty used to shooting while moving through places and still capturing what I’m looking for, though this trip indeed had very little photo lingering.

  1. Beautiful photos, Brendan. Very cool you got to experience this landscape from the sharp end of a rope. Now, to find some time to get to the all of Dave’s posts on this trip in my “unread queue”.

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