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Hiking at South Rim of Grand Canyon in late Dec.

Hiking at South Rim of Grand Canyon in late Dec.

Sep 9th, 2005, 05:33 AM
  #1  
emd
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hiking at South Rim of Grand Canyon in late Dec.

We are staying in Sedona for a wk. between Christmas and New Years. We are thinking we might do an overnight to the south rim of GC. We were there once before but it was June and much too hot to hike. We are 2 adults, and 14 and 15 yr old. hikers (not interested in the mule rides, which do operate that time of year). I have read that the trails can get snowy and icy at the top portion that time of year. Has anyone here done a day hike down part of the canyon? How risky was it? Did you have to use crampons at the top portion?
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Sep 9th, 2005, 07:52 AM
  #2  
TheWeasel
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emd

A friend and I were at GC in early February. It snowed the night before (couple inches), but we were still able to hike down Bright Angel with no difficulty. We didn't hike far (maybe 45 minutes down), but the snow was all melted and temps were very nice. I'd say your experience will depend on which trail you do (I think Bright Angel would be easiest and safest) and weather conditions on the day you're actually there. I wouldn't think crampons would be necessary, but if there's a massive storm and freezing temps, who knows?
 
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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Stayed at the canyon just before Christmas in 2003. DH, son, daughter and I hiked some on the Bright Angel trail. There was a dusting of snow at the top but the trails were fine. What got me more was the loose soil on the surface of the trail. Luckily it was not crowded and you could take your time. DD and I went to the 1 1/2 mile rest stop while DH and DS went beyond the 3 mile stop. Definitely need to have plenty of water and to dress in layers. I was down to shirt sleeves on the way back up. Hikers who had started at Phantom Ranch were coming from 50+ degree temps. Rim was at freezing early in the morning. I would not hesitate to go at that time of year again.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 11:51 AM
  #4  
emd
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Thanks very much to both of you. This is sounding really good. We use good hiking boots and poles on the loose rock, so hopefully that will help.
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Sep 9th, 2005, 01:50 PM
  #5  
 
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emd

I was at the Grand Canyon the week before Christmas (last year) and the first 1/2 mile of the Bright Angel Trail was very icy - there were signs up saying that hikers should be using crampons for that first section.

When we saw how icy it was, we decided not to hike the BA trail at all.

This year we're heading back there, and we've decided to do the mule trip down to Phantom Ranch.

I hope the weather co-operates for both of us!

Gilbert
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Sep 9th, 2005, 07:22 PM
  #6  
emd
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Gilbert: I thought about the mule trip and called about it. There is one day/night open while we are in AZ, but since it starts so early in the a.m. we'd have to stay two overnights in GC, and since we have a rental house in Sedona for a week I don't want to do that. Also thought about the one day mule trip but 7.5 hrs straight on a mule down and up and saddle sores doesn't sound good either. Plus I think my daughter might freak on the mule. I called today and found that I can call the afternoon before we are to to to GC from Sedona and find out if there is ice on the first part of BA trail, and if there is then we may skip it this trip and just stay in Sedona to hike. I'm really hoping we get good weather and can do the BA hike for a half day though.
Good luck to you on your mule trip! I hear they go even in blizzards, ice, etc.
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