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Boots for Grand Canyon

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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby jthomas » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:10 pm

dman wrote:Water is a valuable asset in the Grand Canyon. Twice several group members ran out of water, and consequently into dehydration problems including muscle cramps. In order to keep the group moving and prevent further problems, I was forced to share my water, which is never something that you want to do. Eventually we made it out, but the reason for this problem even starting was because several group members decided not to fill up with water all the way because we were expecting water on the way up from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim. DON'T ever assume anything about water in the middle of the Grand Canyon. You can get caught in a bad situation fast.

I am not saying bring ridiculous amounts of water, because that will do the exact same thing and slow you down, but speed and comfort should never be substituted for a life threatening situation of low water.

And for food, don't forget to bring the GORP!


Great advice; thanks. I have read several accounts where people breezed down the initial descent to the bottom and didn't drink much. Then, on the way out, by the time they realized they were at a deficit, they couldn't make it up. Result was not pleasant.

I'm curious what time of year it was, as I thought water was nearly always available on the Bright Angel trail to the S. Rim. It is the N. Rim that has me concerned.
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby Wisdom » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:01 am

If the North Rim is still open, then I suspect that you will have spigot water available at Cottonwood. If not, you're going to be right alongside Bright Angel Creek at Cottonwood, so you could pump water there. From there, it's about 7 to 7.5 miles to the North Rim. If you have a cabin at the North Rim, you'll be able to get water there. But I think you do have a hill to hike up once you get to the trailhead on the North Rim. On the way back to the South Rim, be sure to get water at Phantom Ranch before heading up to Indian Gardens. I don't think I've ever seen a dry Indian Gardens, but the water does get turned off at the 3 mile and 1.5 mile rest houses so the pipes won't freeze and burst. Just don't drink too much water where your electrolytes get out of whack. Even though you're traveling light, I'd still carry some substantial snacks. Those packages of Grandma's Oatmeal Raisin or Peanut Butter cookies give you about 360 calories and don't weigh much. And small pretzel sticks will help keep the electrolytes balanced. I'd also carry a headlamp too (with new lithium batteries) just in case you have a long day.
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby dman » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:30 am

We did it in late March. The weather was AMAZING. I have never seen the canyon look so great. But as Wisdom said above, don't drink too much water either. Its called water intoxication and it is just as bad as dehydration. Worst of all, it shows similar signs of heat exhaustion, which you want to drink more water for. Just don't drink more than three liters of water in an hour, or 15 liters of water in a day. And as Wisdom said, keep your salt levels high enough. If the evening you spend in the cabin you notice your joints swelling, it may be because you have too low of sodium levels. (If your knees swell from using them all day, that could just be normal knee swelling) Finger joints are a good indicator of this.

But most important is to have fun, because the Grand Canyon is on a very short list of amazing places to hike. Every trip you have there will be different and amazing in its own way. If you are not doing it for speed, take your time and enjoy the amazing views. But be safe and have fun, and remember, take lots of pictures!
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby BigMitch » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:52 pm

At 69, maybe you might take a few hours longer, all depends upon your condition.

I would take normal food to eat along the way and even stop for a hot snack/coffee at Phantom Ranch as you go by. I have seen people bonk from a pure diet of gels and power bars, then crave the normal food that I offered them.

Water should be available at Cottonwood, the Artist's residence at the intersection of Roaring Springs and N. Bright Angel, and at the tunnel (7200 ft or so ???) up the Roaring Springs trail in mid-October.

I always carry Portable Aqua (sold at Walmart) in my pack. The two small vials weigh about 2 oz total, and I can purify huge quantities of water, if I ever need. Much lighter than carrying a filter (11 oz) and won't break down like a Steripen.

If the unthinkable happens and water is shut off at Cottonwood, the artist's house, and the tunnel, then load up with water from the N. Bright Angel Creek at the intersection with the Roaring Springs trail.

In mid-October, expect to see a lot of R2R2R runners out there. Have fun!
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby jthomas » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:49 pm

BigMitch wrote:At 69, maybe you might take a few hours longer, all depends upon your condition.

I would take normal food to eat along the way and even stop for a hot snack/coffee at Phantom Ranch as you go by. I have seen people bonk from a pure diet of gels and power bars, then crave the normal food that I offered them.

Water should be available at Cottonwood, the Artist's residence at the intersection of Roaring Springs and N. Bright Angel, and at the tunnel (7200 ft or so ???) up the Roaring Springs trail in mid-October.

I always carry Portable Aqua (sold at Walmart) in my pack. The two small vials weigh about 2 oz total, and I can purify huge quantities of water, if I ever need. Much lighter than carrying a filter (11 oz) and won't break down like a Steripen.

If the unthinkable happens and water is shut off at Cottonwood, the artist's house, and the tunnel, then load up with water from the N. Bright Angel Creek at the intersection with the Roaring Springs trail.

In mid-October, expect to see a lot of R2R2R runners out there. Have fun!


Definitely will take Portable Aqua as a backup. See if you agree with this water plan for mid-October: Drink 2 liters (with electrolyte tabs) descending South Kaibab. This is about 6.8 miles in cooler temps. Drink a lot at Phantom Ranch during our stop. Going up the North Kaibab, take 3 liters with a possibility of refilling at one of the places you mentioned. If we assume absolute worst case with everything shut off, is 3 liters sufficient?

Still pondering what food to take, as I have read every recommendation imaginable. Some guys go with all gels, but I am having trouble getting my head around doing gels for 10-12 hours, but check Brian Harder's recommendation:

http://www.getstrongergolonger.com/jour ... he-go.html.

Lots to think about.
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby dman » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:12 pm

Three liters should be enough. I know I went three liters for a full day. So three liters for around 6 hours back up and out of the canyon should be plenty, even if there is no stops for water. Electrolytes are good, but make sure you can drink them in the water even if the water is warm. I know some of those packs taste pretty darn nasty, and even worse when warm.

And I would never want to spend 10 hours or nothing but gels and power bars. Eat something real! GORP is good. You could bring some hard cheese and crackers for phantom ranch and do a self made cheese and crackers. Some good cheese to bring that keeps is something like extra sharp cheddar, etc. Beef jerky is always a good choice, just make sure to drink a lot with it because it is a dehydrator. Just some ideas for the trip. One of my favorites though, gummy bears!
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby jthomas » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:01 pm

dman wrote:Three liters should be enough. I know I went three liters for a full day. So three liters for around 6 hours back up and out of the canyon should be plenty, even if there is no stops for water. Electrolytes are good, but make sure you can drink them in the water even if the water is warm. I know some of those packs taste pretty darn nasty, and even worse when warm.

And I would never want to spend 10 hours or nothing but gels and power bars. Eat something real! GORP is good. You could bring some hard cheese and crackers for phantom ranch and do a self made cheese and crackers. Some good cheese to bring that keeps is something like extra sharp cheddar, etc. Beef jerky is always a good choice, just make sure to drink a lot with it because it is a dehydrator. Just some ideas for the trip. One of my favorites though, gummy bears!


OK, that sound encouraging on the water. I will carry 2 liters down and 3 liters on the way out to be safe. That is for 10-12 hours total.

I found these neat electrolyte tablets, and I am going with those + plain water. I have tried every drink mix and flavor on the market, and while some are OK at first, after several hours, I start to gag on them regardless.

http://www.saltstick.com/products/sscaps/cfeatures.htm

Real food sounds better; I need to find things that aren't too bulky. Thanks.!
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby BigMitch » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:19 pm

You will find recommendations for fluid/electrolytes to be all over the place.

The science behind fluid/electrolyte consumption is also all over the place (e.g.,http://www.irunfar.com/2012/08/waterlogged-part-ii-trials-questions-and-suggestions-regarding-hydration-and-ultramarathons.html).

You will also find that eating suggestions are all over the place.

If you were doing an all out balls-to-the wall South Rim to North Rim run, then these considerations are important.

However, please keep your eye on the big picture: you are doing a 21 mile hike at a moderate pace.

So just relax, eat a variety of different food that takes in about 300 calories/hour, drink often (but not too much), and enjoy your hike.

Your biggest problem may be with the altitude.

If at all possible, stay at the South Rim for a couple of nights to get your body acclimated to the 7200 ft elevation and adjusted to the dry air.
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Re: Boots for Grand Canyon

Postby jthomas » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:54 pm

BigMitch wrote:You will find recommendations for fluid/electrolytes to be all over the place.

The science behind fluid/electrolyte consumption is also all over the place (e.g.,http://www.irunfar.com/2012/08/waterlogged-part-ii-trials-questions-and-suggestions-regarding-hydration-and-ultramarathons.html).

You will also find that eating suggestions are all over the place.

If you were doing an all out balls-to-the wall South Rim to North Rim run, then these considerations are important.

However, please keep your eye on the big picture: you are doing a 21 mile hike at a moderate pace.

So just relax, eat a variety of different food that takes in about 300 calories/hour, drink often (but not too much), and enjoy your hike.

Your biggest problem may be with the altitude.

If at all possible, stay at the South Rim for a couple of nights to get your body acclimated to the 7200 ft elevation and adjusted to the dry air.


Sounds like good advice. Thanks.
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