Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10-3-2011 Rim to Rim to Rim, The Grand Canyon

Since running the Trans Zion earlier this year we've been talking about the rim to rim to rim.  Schedules didn't work out for everyone but luckily Jared had Sunday afternoon and Monday off so we headed down for a quick trip.  We worked out splits to make the round trip in under 10 hours.  Our North to South goal was 4:20.  After starting just after 7 AM we quickly ditched our jackets as the sun was getting hot, fast.  The first section is a 5 mile down hill off the North Rim and down to the "caretaker cabin."  We were expecting to move a bit quicker on this section but the trail was pretty steep in places and the footing not always very secure.  
Jared off the N. Rim

More Jared 
From the "cabin" it's a pretty nice low angle down for 8 miles to Phantom Ranch.  We got back on schedule here but we both noticed that our legs felt fatigued.  All the down was a little harder than expected.
Heading to Phantom Ranch, main branch of the GC in the distance
From Phantom Ranch we crossed the Colorado and had a 7 mile up hill to the South Rim.  We thought we were ahead of schedule until we saw a  sign that noted 3.5 mile to go, demoralizing.  This was 3:30 into the day and were we slowing a bit.  I looked at my watch and for a second it read a 25 min mile.  If we kept that pace we'd top out at 5 hours and our hopes for a sub 10 hours trip would be over.  It was warm and we were a bit tired but we both decided to go harder than comfortable in order to have a chance.  Running past hordes of hikers we hit the rim at 4:20.50.
Up the S. Kaibab
View from close to the top
A quick water break at the top and we were back running.  Jared's GI problems for the day started after eating wasabi/soy sauce almonds on the S. Rim.  In retrospect, maybe not the best warm weather food... Back down to Phantom Ranch he was fighting dry heaves and over heating.  Passing the trains of mules was ridiculous.  We had to wait until they could pull off the trail and then slowly walk behind them hoping we didn't get kicked.  
"Scariest part of the day."
S. Kaibab
Once down to the Colorado, we lounged in the water for a few minutes before starting the 8 mile low angle up hill to the "caretaker cabin."  This is were the GI distress worsened.  The 7 miles of dry heaves down to Phantom Ranch left Jared a little behind on nutrition, not a good place to be with 13 miles of up hill to go.  We walked/shuffled the next 6 miles glad for the overcast skies and rain, the whole time hoping Jared's GI would settle and that he'd be able to put down some food and come back to life.  With 7-8 miles to go it looked like we'd have to walk it out since Jared couldn't hold down food.  He insisted I run it out and try to hit our goal.  Feeling bad for leaving my partner (not bad enough to stay) but motivated to break 10, it was a very uncomfortable/hard effort for the next 2 hours.  To make matters worse my watch died 8:10 into the day.  I had the last big climb to do without knowing how close I was to the 10 hours mark.  Knowing we started at 7:04AM I kept asking hikers for the time and going as hard as I could.  4:47PM once I hit the trailhead made the total time right around 9:45. Turns out after I left Jared he tried to drink a little Coke, 10 minutes later it came right back out.  He had a rough last few hours but topped out just under 11 hours.  

Afternoon rain on the N. Rim. Notice the bridge down low.
We left the N. Rim around 6 PM and then had a long drive home.  Jared only vomited once in the car on the drive back, he managed to keep it in his mouth and get his window down only to spit it out all over the door, gross.

Total elevation gain: 10,710
Total milage: 41.8 miles
Total time: 9:45 (give or take a few mins)
Food: 20 gu's, 1 probar, 1 oz beef jerky, 1 Phantom Ranch lemonade
Total SLC to SLC time: 32 hours


  1. This is totally on our "to do" list this year. Loved the write up. Have you ever done the Bryce Canyon under the rim traverse? It is not as crazy as GC or Zion traverse, but you guys probably need to do it just to check it off of your growing list of accomplishments.

  2. A bit early for this one. Sorry you got knackered by the heat. Welcome to ultras. There are some hidden classics down there. Be careful, they're addicting!

  3. N and E, thanks for the idea. I just spent the past little while reading about the under the rim traverse, looks good! Also nice work in St George!

    Jim, hidden classics? Willing to share any? Get ready for snow!

  4. Sure. Right about now the weather is getting more interesting and enjoyable down there while we wait for the white stuff to pile up here. Ping me for details.

  5. Does Jared get paid to wear those socks? Yikes. Some sort of performance enhancing fashion statement, I suppose.

  6. B Harder, those socks are pretty amazing. He says they feel good but I think you're right and he just likes the fashion. Turns out Andy and I like the fashion too, must run in the genes.

    Jim, I'm not sure how to ping or what exactly a ping is but I'll get a hold of you soon to chat about the details. Hope Utah County got enough snow to get out!