North/South Bass River Crossing

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Boscoaz
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North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by Boscoaz » Nov 15 2012 12:16 pm

I am starting to do a little research for a hike next year. I would like to do a Rim to Rim starting at North Bass, crossing the Colorado and then ascending up South Bass. Ideally the best option would be to get one of the passing rafts to take you across. Has anyone ever had any luck with this? Usually the raft guides are pretty nice but I know I would be at their mercy....

The other option would be to take an inflatable down and float across. At 48 degrees the river would be a little chilly. Does anyone know how far across the river where the two trails come together? Are there rapids or is the river somewhat slow moving? Any information anyone has would be appreciated.
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Nov 15 2012 1:58 pm

I would be extremely doubtful that NPS would give you a permit to do that either way, and after reading "Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon", I think you would be risking your life trying to cross the river without a raft or boat...
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by cactuscat » Nov 15 2012 3:01 pm

I don't know that this is such an unusual plan - it's even described in one of my books as "the wilderness counterpart of the B.A./N.K. route".
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 15 2012 3:53 pm

Not sure you could get a permit, either, but maybe Vaporman would know about that issue, regarding packrafting. The two trails don't actually meet across the river from each other at the bottom, by the way. North Bass is a bit downriver from South Bass.

In the fall, when it's cool enough to hike, it would be kind of iffy to have to wait by the river in hopes of seeing a raft. You might see a group or you might not.
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by chumley » Nov 15 2012 4:37 pm

It would be cool if the NPS rebuilt the old cable-car for crossing ...
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by toddak » Nov 15 2012 5:40 pm

Commercial rafts likely would not take you across (liability), private rafts maybe. So far, the Grand Canyon permit system has been fairly accomodating of packrafting, but I don't know for sure about this itinerary. If packrafting, there are two relatively minor named rapids in the area, Bass Rapid (rating=3/10) and Shinumo Rapid (rating=3/10). But the water between them is mellow for a stretch of about a half mile, and packrafting across between them should be doable. I've attached several photos that I took last year at the bottom of the N Bass trail showing the typical June river conditions. It would also be a monster shuttle between trailheads, I'd probably do a double crossing back to the start. Let me know if you get serious about it and are looking for partners.
Attachments
055.JPG
looking downstream
056.JPG
looking upstream
058.JPG
looking downstream

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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by nonot » Nov 15 2012 7:05 pm

I would give it a shot, the problem will be having to either: wait for a willing party to ferry you across, or bringing down the packraft and necessary life jacket needed to cross. Packrafting is legal in GC up to 5 miles per trip, check the box on your permit application.

Going during main boating season will increase your odds of find a ride across (reasonably quickly). I know people who've waited for 2 days for a ride across.

If packrafting - don't cross in the rapid (cross at slackwater).
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 15 2012 9:33 pm

Looking at my river maps again I realize the trails do meet fairly close across the river, but where most boaters will be camping is on the north side, downriver below Bass Rapid. There are several campsites, river right, (north side.)
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by Boscoaz » Nov 16 2012 9:12 am

chumley wrote:It would be cool if the NPS rebuilt the old cable-car for crossing ...
I totally agree. The old cable would certainly make this crossing a lot better. Although the rafts may not like being "clothes-lined" as they go down river..... :sl:


@toddak Thx for the info. We are having a bit of a debate in my hiking group about this. Getting one of the rafts to take us across would be ideal but I am not sure waiting a day or two would be a great option. I will have to review the packraft idea. I have never packed a raft before but that may be the way to go.

@nonot I may need to pick your brain a little bit if we decide to packraft. Not sure about the weight on a trip like this so I will have to research the options.

I am going to dig into this a little deeper. It sounds like this could be a pretty awesome trip if I can figure out the crossing. Thanks!
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by hikeaz » Nov 29 2012 10:43 pm

I have never had a private raft trip refuse me a crossing any time I have asked. Many will invite you to run a rapid with them too if it's a hikeable walk back upstream.
There's a good, long pool above Bass rapids - so as for pack-rafting it is a good crossing area. I would estimate 60 yards across.
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by cactuscat » Nov 29 2012 10:45 pm

I talked to Ranger Kristi about this today and she said the people she knows who have done it (and other similar trips) haven't had any trouble catching rides across.
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by Boscoaz » Nov 30 2012 8:47 am

My only concern is that there will be at least four or six of us with gear. If it was just me I would agree that it wouldn't be hard to get someone to ferry me across. I just don't know about our whole group. We are going to see what our options are. Thanks!
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Re: North/South Bass River Crossing

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 30 2012 10:52 am

4 to 6 people added to a raft or two is not going to be a huge undertaking for a couple of boatmen.
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