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Cheops Plateau, AZ

Guide 26 Triplogs  2 Topics
  4.7 of 5 
409 26 2
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,230 feet
Elevation Gain 1,175 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,323 feet
Avg Time One Way 1-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.71
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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4  2017-04-14 toddak
13  2016-10-29 friendofThunderg
14  2016-10-29 DallinW
15  2016-04-30 friendofThunderg
47  2014-10-24
Isis Cheops Double
44  2014-10-24
Isis Cheops Double
20  2014-10-18 sbkelley
23  2014-05-22
Cheops Plateau and Pyramid Dayhike II
Page 1,  2,  3
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 242
Routes 836
Photos 12,083
Trips 4,883 map ( 24,926 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:31am - 7:39pm
Official Route
3 Alternative

Good Harvey Day Hike
by joebartels

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This nice rewarding summit pronounced key-ops sits well below the rim of Grand Canyon, just two miles west of the lower North Kaibab Trail. Avid off-trail hikers with nerves of steel should be able to tackle the adventure.

The risk factor makes a capable partner a wise choice. Loose angled footing on route uses stabilizer muscles few use regularly. The ridge is a crumbly mess. A good set of lungs may aid in screaming.

This makes for an excellent day hike from the South Rim in October or March, in my opinion. Most will probably find it more enjoyable after a night's rest at Phantom Ranch or Bright Angel Campgrounds. Of course, then you have to deal with the red tape circus act and plan ahead. Aside from early October, if the North Rim is open, it's probably too hot to consider from that angle.

Regardless of your approach, you will need to understand the Utah Flats Route. Unless you are dropping off Tiyo Point in the backcountry, most will be coming from BA Campgrounds. This is where the Utah Flats Route begins, exactly 7 miles from the South Rim via SK. It's another 2 miles to the turnoff for Cheops Plateau.

Hike to NW Ridge
The NW ridge is the ticket for a non-technical ascent. The least enjoyable part is getting from Utah Flats to a saddle(not really, feels like it) at roughly 4,940ft on the NW ridge. After three trips I recommend the posted official route. The terrain is very steep and unstable in places. In my experiences, the further you put off ascending, the worse it gets. There is a crude use-trail under the NE facing wall you will be traveling under. So thoughts of saving time by following UFR closer to the saddle are null and void. In fact, that takes longer contouring the larger ravines at the bottom followed by a doomsday approach up the largest unstable scree slope I pray I never have to set foot on again.

NW Ridge
This is the fun or scary part, depending on your perception. I recommend gloves. Some of the rock has a sandpaper tarter type finish which is sharp. Call it whatever "class" you want; you will need to use your hands to assist yourself up the ridge obstacles. It's 400 ft to the top. About 300 ft up, you come to the crux, which is a gut-wrenching obstacle. Once I figured it out, it seemed more fun than scary.

It's more mind over matter verse a physical feat. The ridge narrows to maybe 15 ft. What makes it scary is you leave the safety of the ridge and move left to get up. The exposure is unknown if you don't look down (hint). The moment you look down, the Vegas odds on your completion drop faster than tweety bird with a steel anvil tied to its back.

After two failed attempts I watched video of others ascending. It became pretty obvious my fears were out of control. The handholds are excellent. The issue I had was after sliding left. I couldn't figure out how to go up. There is a handhold under a rock that worked so well (on my third attempt) the whole ordeal was over before I had much time to think about it. Basically, I needed to steady myself with the underhand to gain a higher reach. Then it was more fun than scary. The remaining ridge is sketchy in spots, but at least you are on the ridge instead of hanging off the side. Soon you pass left of an arch / window. I've been told to stay off as walking over might weaken the structure.

Stable ground... ahh! It's a half-mile across to the southern edge. Along the way, you can find a trail register. A Boston Museum of Science triangulation survey marker is difficult to miss. Grand Canyon reminds you how tiny you are with incredible wide-open views. You can see the SK & BA trails from a perspective few see. The killer view is standing on the southern edge looking over across a wicked narrow bridge to Cheops Pyramid.

None after leaving BA CG. Since you cross Bright Angel Creek, you might want to bring a filter. On our April 2013 visit, I used the drinking water faucet outside the restrooms. The iodine is typically very noticeable. On this visit, it was also cloudy and silty.

  • BA CG to Plateau + back: 6.5 mi / 3,300 aeg
  • SK to Plateau + back: 20.1 mi / 8,400 aeg
  • SK Plateau + Pyramid + back: about 23 mi / 9,300 aeg

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-04-12 joebartels

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    See Utah Route for access.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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