Monday, March 18, 2013

Grand Canyon Report: WCK Pro Team - Steve Arns

WCK Whitewater Pro Team Member Steve Arns started off the 2013 paddling season with a trip down what is arguably one for the most classic whitewater destinations in North America, the Grand Canyon. Steve and his team did this classic trip without the usual support of a gear raft, doing kayak support trips presents some interesting challenges. Check out this short trip report and some awesome pictures form Steve.

 If you are any bit of a whitewater enthusiast, you've undoubtedly heard of the Grand Canyon.  The Colorado River, as it cuts deeply through layer upon layer of bedrock between the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead creates this fantastic natural playground that makes a wonderful river trip, and so much more.  Needless to say, when I got a last minute invite for a 7 day self support trip in January, I jumped at the chance.

 My first order of business was getting my hands on a boat that would swallow all the equipment needed for a winter multiday trip.  Aside from all the usual items, you're required to carry a device that lets you carry out all your waste (all your waste, including poo) as well as a fire pan a and a few other mandatory items.  Thankfully WCK came to the rescue and had a Green Boat on hand - this trip was a great excuse to pick one up and now I have one to try out on some of the rivers in SW BC.  The Green Boat is well suited for a trip like this that requires carrying a lot of gear and paddling miles and miles of flat water.  It's notably faster then a normal creek boat, it's comfortable and most importantly handles well in rapids.  While paddling an extremely loaded boat is more akin to controlled drifting rather than paddling, it handled the challenge well and kept the whitewater (which is mostly class III) interesting and fun.

 All in all, the trip through the Canyon went well.  A 7 day trip is definitely an express visit, especially with the short amount of daylight in early January.  We still had time to visit some of the side hikes and enjoy the fantastic camping.  If you ever get the chance, it's a must-do trip for any river runner.  Here are some photos, which might better tell our story.

- Steve Arns, WCK WW Team Captain

A small Toyota with 2 sea kayaks and a Green Boat.  It's only a 5800 km round trip from Vancouver.

  At the put in, wondering how we can fit all that gear into our boats.
Lunch on the first day.  We only travelled 10 miles on day 1 and 20 miles on day 2, leaving us to paddle 4 45 mile days through the middle of the trip.

A great campsite in a cave that protected us from some snow that fell on our first night on the river.
A great campsite in a cave that protected us from some snow that fell on our first night on the river.
Fantastic camping at Hance Rapid.
A random rapid above Phantom Ranch.  It was very cold this day.
Rolling the Green Boat in to Hermit Rapid.  Photo by Ric Moxon.
Truck and trailer at Lava Falls.
Being on an express trip, we passed many groups that were on longer schedules.  This is a group scouting Lava Falls.
The only downside to the trip: coldest recorded tempeatures in many years.  This was typical.  We figured it didn't get much above -10 on the coldest day.
The crew - L to R:  Tom Janney, Louis Geltman, Steve Arns, Ric Moxon.
A classic Grand Canyon side trip - Havasu Creek.

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