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Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby climbing_rob » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:14 am

I've personally done the Rim-rim-rim 11 years in a row, all but one year in mid-April (once, last year in late March). Basically, these days with my older bones, I walk the entire way and manage about 17-18 hours. Under 20 is easily doable with more stops. This time of year (April) is great, plenty of daylight, nice temperatures, not too hot at the bottom, nor too cold at the top. I prefer mid-April over late March, as there are more crowds in late March (spring break crowds), and potentially more snow to deal with on the North rim.

We will be doing RRR-XII this early April, if you have any interest in joining the group. We've had as many as ~25 folks before on this little outing, it has dwindled slightly in recent years to mid-teens. We drive down on a Friday, crash either at the Mather CG or the Yavapai lodge (I like the lodge), get up in the wee hours and hit the trail. Recent years I've been going down the Kaibab trail to the river, up and back down the North Bright Angel (only option), then back up the Bright angel. Makes for about 43.5 miles. If you go back up the Kaibab, it is right at 42 miles. The BA trail has a water stop at Indian gardens that makes it nice on the way back up the south rim.

Let me know if at all interested! We start doing long walks for training around town after work on weeknights, tons of fun... our staging ground is the Platte River Bar and Grill, where we meet at 5:30 pm or so, walk anywhere from 16-20 miles around various city trails (mostly soft surface), return to the PRB&G and have beers and burgers. Fun stuff! This little "walk in the park" is all about foot toughness and body resource management. We've "trained " lots of RRR rookies over the years, thought they couldn't manage it, went anyway and had a blast.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby jomagam » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:18 am

soad wrote:Correct. Just a 20 mile run on the Bright Angel to the river then back up to the south rim. Thanks for your help!


Have you considered taking a different trail down, like South Kaibab ?

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby soad » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:36 am

climbing_rob wrote: We start doing long walks for training around town after work on weeknights, tons of fun... our staging ground is the Platte River Bar and Grill, where we meet at 5:30 pm or so, walk anywhere from 16-20 miles around various city trails (mostly soft surface), return to the PRB&G and have beers and burgers. Fun stuff! This little "walk in the park" is all about foot toughness and body resource management. We've "trained " lots of RRR rookies over the years, thought they couldn't manage it, went anyway and had a blast.


That sounds like a blast! If I lived close I would be there!


jomagam wrote:
soad wrote:Correct. Just a 20 mile run on the Bright Angel to the river then back up to the south rim. Thanks for your help!


Have you considered taking a different trail down, like South Kaibab ?


We are staying at the lodge, so I liked the idea of rolling out of bed and starting the run without having to drive. Is S. Kaibab more runable than the Bright Angel? I read that its more scenic, but I'll be running down in the dark so that doesn't matter.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby peter303 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:06 am

The best part of a GC hike is the view going down. You'll be missing most of that at night. It would be like climbing a 14er in a fog- You know you did it but didnt see much.

The upper half of the canyon is in the shade in the early morning and late afternoon. Avoiding the sun helps a lot.

I'd go down the South Kabib and up the Bright Angel. Park at the South Kabib, if they still allow it and close the five miles on the rim with the shuttle. I dont think the shuttle starts until about 6AM.
The reason for ascending the Bright Angel is that there is always water at Indian Gardens about 40% the way up. You can refill water at Phantom Ranch and Indian Gardens.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby jomagam » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:35 am

soad wrote:
jomagam wrote:
Have you considered taking a different trail down, like South Kaibab ?


We are staying at the lodge, so I liked the idea of rolling out of bed and starting the run without having to drive. Is S. Kaibab more runable than the Bright Angel? I read that its more scenic, but I'll be running down in the dark so that doesn't matter.


I'd start at 4:45, about 30 mins before sunrise just as it's starting to get light. You do want to enjoy the views ! I did it in June 5 years ago and it I wasn't horribly hot. Even had energy to check out Plateau Point on the way up, and back then I had no experience in trail running, only hiking.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby climbing_rob » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:15 pm

soad wrote: Is S. Kaibab more runable than the Bright Angel? I read that its more scenic, but I'll be running down in the dark so that doesn't matter.
It is these days, didn't used to be. They've greatly improved the S. Kaibab trail a few years ago; very nicely runnable. Some of the faster folks in our group make it to the river in less than an hour (I take about 1:40, speed walking). The south BA trail is now the worst one w.r.t. ruts, etc. Fine for going up, horrible for down. Don't worry about "missing the views" starting in the dark, the north side is the most beautiful anyway, and you'll see plenty on the south side later in the day. don't forget to take money for the Canteen (store and snack-bar) at Phantom ranch! They are open until 4pm, but don't be late, they close on time. Not sure what time it opens, I'm always by there at 5-6am heading north.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby jomagam » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:26 pm

Rob, he's not going to head north.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby climbing_rob » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:04 pm

jomagam wrote:Rob, he's not going to head north.

Woops! Should have read more of the thread, sorry. Still, most of my comment holds, the S. Kaibab is a fine trail for a running descent, and even with an 0-dark-30 start down, plenty of daylight views later in the day, though of course you would miss the S. Kaibab views as already said.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby valleygirl » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:12 pm

All I can say is, if you're in a hurry to go R2R2R, avoid going down the South Kaibab trail at all costs because you will be forced to stop and stare at the absolutely incredible views around every turn. Seriously, going down the SK and going up the BA makes a lot of sense. The views on the BA are not as fabulous, but the water and shade at Indian Garden are wonderful.

BTW I have never seen Phantom Ranch crowded - I think it is one of the most charming places in the national park system. I remember coming down from the North Rim and watching the Rim to Rim people running by while I soaked my feet in the river, and I gotta admit I was really glad I was going to have a beer and a steak dinner and a bunk before I went up to the South Rim the next morning. Although I understand the feeling of accomplishment that must come from doing it all in one day, or even more with R2R2R! Wow! Just make sure that someday you go back and really enjoy the canyon at a slower pace, because it is gorgeous.
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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby vwaldoguy » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:24 pm

Just stumbled on this thread. Lots of great info here. I'm scheduled for my first R3 run on May 3 next year. Have been thinking about this for awhile, and am getting excited to finally try it. Thanks for sharing your advice everyone. I've currently got a nice Google Doc with all the information that is relevant, with links, etc. Looking forward to it.

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby anthony156 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:38 pm

Hey All,

Excellent information. So it turns out I have changed plans entirely since the start of this thread. I went from wanting to do RRR in 3 days to 2 days. I found an awesome hotel at the North Rim, North Rim Lodge that we could hike right to in one day, stay the night and hike back to the South Rim. This would eliminate having to carry any supplies for the night (tents, food, sleeping, water etc.) Then the gov't shutdown hit and they closed this down in October(the weekend I was supposed to go)

I can't stop thinking about the Grand Canyon and was thinking I'll have to go soon otherwise it's gonna be a long Winter(this weekend my Chargers play the Broncos so can't miss PFM)

Wondering if any of you have experience doing this mid November. I would drive out Friday, hike from South Rim to the North Rim on Saturday and setup a campsite on Saturday night, to return on Sunday. I know it will be cold, but wondering if there are any issues/considerations.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson

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Re: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

Postby rlrjamy » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:09 am

The weather was stellar in the GC last weekend. The forecast for this coming week is also awesome but its starting to get cold and obviously can change fast. A couple of points...the North rim is closed for the season. So you will have to haul your water for Phathom and or filter BA creek. Sometimes the caretaker faucets may have water above cottonwood camp sometimes not. You still need a permit to camp eventhough its closed. If you wait until Dec. 1 that is when the yurt becomes available. A whooping $5 per night plus the permit. Sometimes there is duct tape on the lock. :) :shock:

here is a good source http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/winter-recreation.htm i haven't read it recently for updates. I have a few friends that live/work at the south rim and I can text them if/when you need realtime info. I may be up there in the next few weeks to bag a few peaks in there. . One more thing, there are dirt roads (to avoid paying the $25 entrance fee) or if you get there early morning(can't remember time) no one mans the booth. Dirt roads also have some good camping if you need more details, I can plot a route for it.
Good luck its a great hike.

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