Grand Canyon Hike One Day

Old Feb 1st, 2007, 09:08 PM
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Grand Canyon Hike One Day

I am looking for feedback from experienced hikers that have hiked from the south rim to the river and back in one day. How many hours? How physically demanding? Am looking to go the the canyon in mid April. I have read all of the warnings about not atempting this but have talked to some hikers that do it every year and don't feel that it is that bad. I would appreciate as many opinions as possible. Also which route down and up? BA/SK?
thanks very much in advance.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 09:22 PM
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The dire warnings are for the inexperienced, and for hot weather. April is a good time to it. I do know a number of people who have done it, and after hiking down with a full overnight pack, felt that I could have hiked back up the same day if I needed to. So it is quite posssible to do, IF you are fit and experienced, and you carry enough water.

Do you have an idea of your own hiking ability, in terms of mileage and elevation loss/gain? That should give you a pretty good idea whether you can do it.

The usual recommendation is to go down the SK and up the BA, because there is no water available on the SK. If you go that way, it is 4800 feet down and 4400 feet back up. It took us 4 hours down and 5.5 up, not counting lunch stops. That was with full overnight packs. We carried 2 liters of water down (each) and drank 3 liters (each) on the climb.
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Old Feb 1st, 2007, 09:24 PM
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Did the same hike last March. Went down Kaibab, took a break at Phantom Ranch, and then back up Bright Angel. Started shortly after 6 AM and finished about 4:30. Am active 62 year old who does several similar hikes each year (Half Dome, Canadian Rockies) and didn't have any problems. Was raining/snowing the last couple of miles up so it got a bit chilly.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:58 AM
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thanks very much. that helps quite a lot.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 05:09 AM
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Here's the best description of such a hike you'll find:

Note the final comment about this hike: "you feel a bit rushed and donít have the proper time to take in the beauty that nature has blessed the canyon with."

In other words, taking a hike to the river and back (instead of one to Indian Gardens and Plateau Point) means you risk a lot more, lose what the Canyon offers, and gain nothing but bragging rights -- and you only get to brag to yourself.

Be aware that desert canyon hiking is different from any other kind of hiking you may have attempted. This hike is NOT one to learn about its unique challenges and perils. If you've done a lot of desert canyon hiking without any trouble, a day hike to the river and back can be done with good preparation. But other day hikes are better for scenery and carry a lot less risk for beginners.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 06:05 AM
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I did this hike mid-May last year. Started on the South Kaibab at 7am went back up on the Bright Angel done by 4PM.

If you expect to finish in 9 hours, you are moving at a steady pace. I was in average shape at the time....I quit smoking 3 months in advance of the trip and worked out a few times a week for a few months in advance...definitely was not a marathon runner or even a 5k runner. I'll admit, about 1 mile from the top I didnt think I was going to make it (as in I thought my body was going to shut down...I cant explain it any other way), but that was because I ran out of food a LONG time before that. So bring plenty of food.

If you are questioning yourself as to whether you can do it-----dont do it.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Hikers that do this every year don't feel it's that bad because they're used to it and know what to expect. I would suggest doing an overnight trip to familiarize yourself with the route and the difficulty while allowing a bit of a safety net. The canyon is always going to be there, so you can go back and do it in a day anytime.

If you decide you still want to do it in a day this time, then prepare yourself for the worst (mentally and physically) and it'll be easier than you expect. I thought hiking down SK was going to be awful because everything I'd read talked about how steep it was, but I thought it was pretty easy once I got past the first 1.5 miles or so. After that it was a pretty easy hike for me, but that's partially because I had built it up to be so difficult. Same thing on the BA return - I only had one bad stretch, and that was because I didn't stop to eat because I thought (for over an hour) that Indian Garden was right around the corner.
Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:07 AM
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Advice from an old Arizonan: if you have ANY doubts about your physical abilities, DON'T try a round trip in a single day. The cost of being airlifted out by helicopter is very high. Doubt this happens? Ask the National Park Service people. It happens all the time.
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