Mar 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm #1314941
7 days in the central Grand Canyon. 6.5 of those off trail. Rappeling, packrafting, and tons of rock hopping and downclimbing. Brendan Swihart and myself.
Days 1 and 2: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/28/the-grand-eight-days-1-and-2/
Days 3 and 4: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/28/the-grand-eight-days-3-and-4/
Days 5 and 6: http://bedrockandparadox.com/2014/03/29/the-grand-eight-days-5-and-6/
Rest to come.Mar 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm #2087257
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
Great series so far–and I like the double entendre of that last line.Mar 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm #2087263
@alpinistooutdoorsLocale: Catalinas, Saguaro, Grand Canyon
The wheels are turning after reading this one! Looks like an awesome trip. So cool to see folks getting after it in the Canyon. So many incredible places to explore there!Mar 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm #2087264
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
SPECTACULAR ADVENTURE Dave… thanks for sharing!Mar 28, 2014 at 10:40 pm #2087301
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Parts of the Canyon rarely seen. Interesting and thanks for the pics. Had to look at that black pic for a few seconds to realize the shot.Mar 29, 2014 at 9:59 am #2087367
Final installment, with gear talk.Apr 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm #2088926
@drongobirdLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for writing it up. Looks like a great adventure.Apr 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm #2089077
Nice job Dave. It must've felt very committing to pull the rope for the first time.Apr 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm #2089263
@kbugLocale: NW New Mexico
Man, great read and trip! Looking forward to reading Brendan's perspective.
Can you elaborate a bit on the process for getting your permit from the NPS? To what degree did they understand or approve of the packrafting portions of the trip (ie. how much downstream travel in a packraft is allowed in the park, as opposed to just crossing over)?
I'm planning a flood enabled packraft descent of the LCR someday and would love to be able to skip the Beamer Trail and just float the Colorado from the LCR confluence to the Tanner Trail exit to the rim. I had read that kayakers did this in the past, were caught by rangers, and given a helicopter ride to jail with a gigantic fine attached. Truthfully I haven't done much beta on this because I had assumed it wasn't allowed.
So…. would a portion of this trip fall under the western definition of 'stealth' packrafting?
Did the rangers just give you a wink/nod regarding that part of your trip?
Or, have the NPS embraced the packraft as a legitimate way to explore the river (without a GC river permit) and adjacent canyons?Apr 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm #2089269
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
The NPS aren't much into winking and nodding. Dave got the permits so he might be able to add more but the rule is you can packraft up to 5 miles.Apr 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm #2089270
Do either of you guys have a map with a route drawn in, for those of us who are curious where you went but aren't fluent in Grand Canyon topography?Apr 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm #2089271
"Or, have the NPS embraced the packraft as a legitimate way to explore the river (without a GC river permit) and adjacent canyons?"
Thankfully the answer is yes. The NPS deserves credit for listening to users and working towards sensible regulations for packrafts.
Currently, when applying for a normal backpacking BC permit you can check the packraft box. Downriver travel is limited to 5 miles total. With portages we just squeaked in under this limit. Reportedly a more complete policy will come out later this year. It will almost certainly mandate wearing an official PFD while packrafting. Hopefully it will expand the floating limits a bit, perhaps using some kind of zone system. Conventional rafters are apparently quite territorial.
Additionally, you can put in for a river permit through the normal lottery system, but arrange to have a launch zone other than Lees Ferry, and a takeout other than Diamond Creek. You have to stay on "schedule" if doing this. For instance, if you wanted to hike Nankoweep down, put in, and float down to hike the North Kaibab out, you'd have to put in on the date when a generic river trip with your launch date would be reaching that area on the river. This might be a good approach for a Little Colorado trip.
I'd like to see the Lees Ferry road torn up, and all the rafters have to hand carry their gear ~2 miles to the put-in. It would be an efficient and democratic way to cut down user-days annually (~500,000 in 2012), oblige trips to have a lighter footprint, and unclog the lottery system.Apr 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm #2089279
Andrew, here's a quick sketch. Almost a figure 8 if you add in the driving.Apr 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm #2089281
Thanks, Dave. My first impressions are (a) that must have taken a lot of planning and (b) my mind reels at figuring out a way through the cliff bands between drainages. I'm sure you and M will have plenty to keep you busy if you end up moving to the desert. I'm currently planning a five day trip with Ellen that won't have packrafts but will have a double rack of cams and two ropes. A heavy pack every once in awhile is good for the soul and is a good indicator that you're doing something rad.Apr 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm #2089284
Todd Martin's Grand Canyoneering made the planning not so complex. I know Todd well enough to trust him to be meticulous with route information. The book is geared towards technical canyoneers, but is a good resource for backpackers.Apr 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm #2089290
@kbugLocale: NW New Mexico
Thanks for the info, Dave. Those regs are surprisingly accommodating. My favorite/closest packrafting locale so far is the BLM managed San Juan, but man is the required gear a drag on a lightweight trip (extra paddle, groover, fire pan, and type III PFD).
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