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R2R2R

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R2R2R

Postby steelfrog » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:50 am

OK. Now my head is full of wild ideas. I did BA trail this Sunday to Plateau Point, and back, in about 4 hours moving time and was not gassed at all. Very pleasant, and I was even handicapped by not having a headlamp on the way down, which made it longer going down than up.

I have lost 20 pounds the last couple months and am noticing the benefits!

Trying to lose another 10 or so to get to 200. At 200 (which I haven't seen since HS), I feel like I could do anything.

R2R2R?

Questions:

Best time of the year weather-wise? I would like to do it either late October/early November (maybe a 44th birthday goal) or April maybe

Best time of year water-wise--I want to do it when all the taps are flowing, or at least where I can filter water at every opportunity

One final question--where is the longest stretch without water available if I do BA/NK?

Many thanks!

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Re: R2R2R

Postby Jny5 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:09 am

You should not have problems with finding water doing Corridor trails. The spring/creek is beside you from midway down/up NK. Water should (ask) be on @ the Tunnel. On the BA The pipes are always on @ Indian Gardens. Unless there are weather related plumbing issues. Water will be off for winter @ the 2 resthouses on the BA. No issues with water @ Corridor trails.

I believe they start shutting off the upper water sources @ Oct. 15. You should ask a Ranger/s.

I prefer mid October for the temps. Starting to get much cooler @ November/December. The tops could ice and snow up some during winter months.

4 hrs to go to the Point and return...That seems fast to me...You should be good to go.

Have fun!

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Re: R2R2R

Postby peter303 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:42 am

Jan - Mar there is snow melt runoff.
Aug has monsoon runoff.
Otherwise the legal camping spots have water (for any traveler).
They are either on the river or edge of Tonto Plateau.

In the winter the top couple miles of trail might be quite icy.
You'd appreciate micro-spikes then.

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Re: R2R2R

Postby climbing_rob » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:37 am

Having done the RRR (rim-cubed, or "rim job") nine times in the last nine years, here's my two cents:

Fantastic little beautiful trek! Great fun and somewhat easier than it sounds because of the very friendly trail and available water.

The pals that accompanied me over the years have done this in anywhere from 8.5 hours (the record is just under seven hours) to
nearly 24 hours. I personally take around 15.5-16 hours, but I don't run much of it. I assume you're talking doing this in a single push,
not over-nighting it, right?

Two options if going South-North-South: The S. Kaibab trail from the south rim, 42-43 miles, nearly 11K vertical or the S. Bright Angel trail 45-46 miles, slightly less vertical. I used to do the BA route, now the SK route as the SK trail is much better.

We have always done this in April, always the third weekend. This time of year has much more daylight than October,
though plenty of folks prefer October. Late April is a nice combination of still-cool weather and the snow
is almost always gone from the North Rim. That being said, we have occasionally had to deal with a small amount
of snow on the North side, always just the last mile or so, never much of a problem.

Water: Doing the SK route, the first water available is at Phantom Ranch (~mile 7.5-8), then sometimes (about half of the 9 years
I've done this) at Cottonwood Creek CG (7 miles further), then always at the Residence (1.5 miles further). This can be the last water
stop, depending on the time of year. The tunnel tap (4.5 miles past the residence), about 1.5 from the North Rim) is always off in April, or has always been for us. So from the Residence to the north rim and back is about 12 miles r/t, so this is
the longest stretch w/o water available. I super-hydrate at the residence then carry two liters for this stretch. If you
do this in the spring (April), there should be some snow on the North Rim, and I have refreshed my hydration bladder
with some clean snow on the rim, maybe 1/2-1 liter or so plus it cools off what you have left.

If you go the Bright Angel route, the Indian Gardens tap (about 1/2 way to the river) is always on. Some years the
1.5 and 3 miles house water taps are on in April, but Indian Gardens is really enough.

So the only down side of the S. Kaibab option is there is no water from Phantom back up to the S. Rim. This has
never really been much of a problem for me, at least. I always down a huge lemonade at the "Canteen" at Phantom,
and carry about 1.5 liters for the final 7.5 miles out. (this canteen closes at 4pm, and take some cash for snacks/drinks).

The best training for the RRR is super-long walks to toughen up your feet. It's all about your feet! We always do the RRR in trail runners.

We'll be back again next April for RRR-X (RRR-ten) ! Can't wait.

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Re: R2R2R

Postby steelfrog » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:48 pm

Awesome info, Rob, thank you very much.

Yes, planning this as a one-dayer.

I agree about the BA Trail being good--that's why I would even consider this in the first place. Actually, dare I say, despite the fact of no headlamp and wearing Asolo Fugitives, instead of trail runners, and not having my usual light trekking pole, this 12.5 miles was actually easy. I found myself jogging up part of the BA, which for me is unheard of.

Can someone explain how SK is better trail than BA? Just smoother and easier to run?

Question--if I park at SK trailhead, and I come back up BA, what does it take to get to my car; 3 miles?

So, here's what I am thinking, tentatively:

Start around midnight, with the intention of taking the full 24 hours if necessary; staying plenty hydrated and nourished;

Try to get to the top of NK by about 9 a.m.

Rest at least an hour; then head back down NK and try to get to Phantom Ranch and lemonade/snacks by 3 p.m.

Up and out by 8 p.m. This is 20 hours RT with I think very conservative assumptions.

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Re: R2R2R

Postby climbing_rob » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:10 pm

steelfrog wrote:Awesome info, Rob, thank you very much.

Yes, planning this as a one-dayer.

I agree about the BA Trail being good--that's why I would even consider this in the first place. Actually, dare I say, despite the fact of no headlamp and wearing Asolo Fugitives, instead of trail runners, and not having my usual light trekking pole, this 12.5 miles was actually easy. I found myself jogging up part of the BA, which for me is unheard of.

Can someone explain how SK is better trail than BA? Just smoother and easier to run?

Question--if I park at SK trailhead, and I come back up BA, what does it take to get to my car; 3 miles?

So, here's what I am thinking, tentatively:

Start around midnight, with the intention of taking the full 24 hours if necessary; staying plenty hydrated and nourished;

Try to get to the top of NK by about 9 a.m.

Rest at least an hour; then head back down NK and try to get to Phantom Ranch and lemonade/snacks by 3 p.m.

Up and out by 8 p.m. This is 20 hours RT with I think very conservative assumptions.
Here's the deal with the SK trailhead: There is no parking allowed at the actual t/h; but right at the SK turnoff (off the main road), and across the road is a small parking area. Park there, and its a 1/3rd mile walk to the actual trailhead. scope it all out in the daylight first so when you get there at midnight, in a fog (like I am), so you know the turns to get started. If you come back up the BA trail, you can take a shuttle back to the SK trailhead. It would suck to have to walk that. Check into what times the shuttles stop running. Something like 9pm or so. If you camp at the Mather cCG, it may be a mile to the CG from the BA trailhead, so you could always just do that single mile (if you don't make the shuttle), and take the shuttle to you car at the SK in the morning, if you follow.

The SK trail is simply in much better shape than the South BA trail. Smoother, less rutty, easier to cruise both up and down. They recently did a lot of work improving it (last few years). Its also 3 miles (total r/t) shorter. Again, the downside is no water between the t/h and Phantom ranch. I always start with just one liter, make it to Phantom in about 1:45-2 hours, hydrate like crazy there and fill about 1.5 liters for the trek to the Residence, 8.5 miles up the north side. Hydrate like crazy again and fill 2 liters for the roundtrip to the N. Rim and back. If you're going to hang and rest on the N. Rim, I'd probably take 2.5 liters up from the residence, unless you know for sure that the tap at the Tunnel is on.

BTW: do not trust what the rangers say w.r.t water. every year its the same story: "No, the water tap at the Residence is off, sorry!". Every year we believe them and take a water filter with us. Every year they are wrong and yea verily the water tap in the Residence yard is ON. Cottonwood Camp is about 50/50 on/off on the late Aprils we've been there.

20 hours is actually a fairly decent time; our first time we took 22, with zero running and lots of rest stops. My 15.5-16 hours has a bit of running down the south side to the river and in the box canyon on the way back to the river. we always leave right around 2am local time, which is one hour earlier than Denver time (AZ does not go on Daylight Savings time).

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Re: R2R2R

Postby steelfrog » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:21 pm

Good stuff. I love it when a plan comes together. Thanks.

I was planning on taking a filter anyway to give me a safety factor. And a 8 oz bivy sack if I conk out. And I MIGHT even bring a headlamp or 2 this time!

I was thinking of training here in my Vibrams to help strengthen my feet.

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Re: R2R2R

Postby Prairie Dog » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:43 pm

OK - I'll throw in my $0.02. Take what I say for what it's worth - just an opinion.

I have done the R2R2R as well as numerous multiday trips in the Grand Canyon. My girlfriend and I did the R2R2R in May of '08. Our goal was not to set any speed records or anything, rather it was to have an easy, enjoyable, cushy trip (as easy, enjoyable, and cushy as R2R2R can be anyway!). We started on the north rim, descended the NK and ascended the SK. We then took the shuttle bus to Grand Canyon Village and spent the night in one of the lodges. We got to takes showers, had a nice dinner in a restaurant, and slept in a comfy bed! We got up early the next morning, descended the BA and ascended the NK. The weather in May (at least that year) was fine - still a bit of snow on the north rim - but not enough to create an issue. I did the trip with 3 liters of water each way and finished with plenty to spare (I didn't even take a filter on that trip) - but different people use different amounts of water.

IMHO - the corridor trails suck! They are crowded - lots of people (depending on the time of year). But worse than the human traffic, there is a ton of mule traffic (especially on the south rim). When I was last on the BA trail, it was so worn that the erosion bars stuck up out of the ground like hurdles. You are constantly stepping in mule crap, there's so much of it that it's tough to avoid - plus you are frequently wading in muddy puddles of mule piss. The whole trail is dusty, dirty, and smells like a barnyard. The north rim (NK trail) is quite a bit nicer and less crowded.

Not trying to talk you out of R2R2R - it's a worthy goal, but if you just want a nice Grand Canyon adventure, there are many places in the canyon that are more scenic, less crowded, and more remote than the corridor trails. (Keep in mind that if you are going to camp below the rim - you need a backcountry permit). The Hermit trail to Hermit rapids or Monument Creek makes a nice 1 or 2 night trip. One of my favorite trips was descending the grandview trail to horseshoe mesa, traversing the tonto plateau through grapevine canyon then ascending the SK trail (2 nights). I understand that you are inquiring about a day trip and I'm suggesting multiday trips (like comparing apples to oranges), but for my taste, I'd rather spend a few nights in the backcountry than hike up and down the corridor trails.

Like I said - just my opinion - take it for what it's worth!

Chris

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Re: R2R2R

Postby bob863 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:39 am

took me awhile to figure out the ACRONYM, but that's OK, the Alzheimer's is doing OK...

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Re: R2R2R

Postby climbing_rob » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:42 am

Prairie Dog wrote:IMHO - the corridor trails suck! They are crowded - lots of people (depending on the time of year). But worse than the human traffic, there is a ton of mule traffic (especially on the south rim). When I was last on the BA trail, it was so worn that the erosion bars stuck up out of the ground like hurdles. You are constantly stepping in mule crap, there's so much of it that it's tough to avoid - plus you are frequently wading in muddy puddles of mule piss. The whole trail is dusty, dirty, and smells like a barnyard. The north rim (NK trail) is quite a bit nicer and less crowded.
Chris nicely illustrates the condition of the S. Bright Angel trail. I highly recommend the S. Kaibab option for this. That trail does NOT suck, nor does the north side (N. Kaibab) trail. In fact, the NK trail is one of the most incredible trails I've ever been on.

The nice thing about doing the RRR in a day, South Rim->North Rim-> South Rim is that you can do this in the very crowded GCNP without dealing with hardly any people (or mules) at all.... in fact the first year we did this we saw ONE person total, the entire trip.

The magic itinerary that does this: Leave the S. Rim at 2am (or some other wee hour). You get to phantom ranch two hours later, the hoards down there are still sleeping. In April, the North rim is still closed, so on your hike to the North rim and back to Phantom, there is a good chance that you won't see hardly a soul, other than other RRR'ers, as this has become a more common thing to do over the last 10 years. As I said, our 1st time RRR 9 years ago, we saw one person the entire way. Now we might see a dozen or so on the North side.

So depending on your speed, you get back to Phantom in the late afternoon and you'll see some folks milling about there. Take a nice break, have a lemonade and head back up the S. Kaibab trail. That time of day is uncrowded, you might see another dozen people, again, depending on what time you hit it. You will see NO mules that time of day. If you take 20 hours and don't begin until 2am or so, meaning topping out at 10pm, you might not see more than a couple few people (except when walking through Phantom).

So Chris, with all due respect, you did this thing exactly the wrong way and maximized the crowds during your trek. I can see how you had a less than perfect experience! Yess, there are tons of other options for hiking in the GC, but the RRR, done with a good itinerary is a classic Tour D' Canyon and is not to be missed.

Edit: Chris mentions the Tonto trail; many in our little annual April RRR group (including Gerry and Jennifer Roach) choose to do a nice even 50 miles by combining the BA / Tonto / SK trail on the south side. Holler if you want details of this.

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Re: R2R2R

Postby steelfrog » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:42 am

It sounds like SK to NK is the way to go.

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Re: R2R2R

Postby JsinDeAZ » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:07 am

I did it in late November last year, and will again this year. And having hiked it in the Spring, I prefer late Fall. Seems like in the Spring, there is always packed ice on top of SK. Not for a long stretch, but enough to suck. And it's key to stay light on your feet. Try to minimize weight. Only take necessities.
-----------------------------
I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. - John Muir

...I love not man the less, but Nature more... - Lord Byron

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