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Grand Canyon Question


Olineman
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A friend of mine and I are planning to fastpack rim to rim in late May.  Not a round trip, rather just across.  I would personally like to finish on the north rim but can do the trip either way.

It looks like the easier trip would be from north to south but I was looking to any insight from any of you that have done it before.  

What direction would you choose and why?  

Which trail on the south side would you choose to connect with the North Kaibab? The South Kaibab or Bright Angel? Why?

I know that the general question will be what experience do we have and as far as hiking we are not avid hikers but have competed in various 6,12 and 24 hour adventure races as well as multiple Ironman events over the last decade.

Any advice that you could offer would be well received.  

Thank you,

Q

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What direction would you choose and why?

Since I'm often doing a R2R or R2R2R2R....etc as part of a longer hike the direction I choose is based on my longer term goals of where I want to continue after this segment, or what AP, train station, bus   station  etc I'm  taking after the end of the journey, if I have access to two cars, or if I want to endure the 5 hr driving by car or Trans Canyon Shuttle trip between North and South Rims.      

Which trail on the south side would you choose to connect with the North Kaibab? The South Kaibab or Bright Angel? Why?

This depends on my more defined timing. The BA is perhaps  the most traveled trail below the rim in GC NP both by people and stock. It is graded for stock with all the attributes that entails ie; urine, feces, pack trains, etc. It can be crowded to me during high peak usage. I only take it at night when I've seen it vacant,  early a.m. hours(before 7 a.m.), during off season non peak usage, if I'm ascending with a  heavy load which is rare,  when I'm spent on a long long trek, have to meet a deadline at the S Rim on the ascent, or it logistically makes more sense for the trip as part of a hike originating from the West Tonto Tr area.   It is slightly longer by 1.5  miles to the CR than the S. Kaibab and makes for a slightly longer R2R. The GC NP NPS website offers run downs on these different routes.  http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/trail-distances.htm The S Kaibab although a shorter distance  is steeper with less water, hotter/sunnier, greater exposure, more steps(some deep), only once  encountered  stock on it, etc. hence the NPS recs going only down the S Kaibab. I like the S K for its better views with the exposure. When in the zone as a seasoned  hiker I don't mind ascending on it especially with a light pack or no pack. 

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Thanks for the input!  

The idea of the crowds on the Bright Angel are not appealing.  From that angle we'll be leaning towards the S. Kaibab.

Direction is not an issue as the wives have agreed to drop us off and make the drive around either way!  (It's good to marry a cooperative woman!)  Was just wondering what some of the "vets" preferred.

Thank you again, appreciate it.

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  • 1 month later...
tmountainnut

I would recommend South Kaibab to North Kaibab. Water is scarce on south kaibab, and the views are gorgous, so going down the south kaibab is good for both of those. North Kaibab doesn't have quite as much relief since its longer and more gradual for the most part, but is still pretty.

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