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mini location map2010-04-09
13 by photographer avatarberkforbes
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Royal Arch RouteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 09 2010
Backpack40.50 Miles 5,500 AEG
Backpack40.50 Miles4 Days         
5,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Ok, this is long overdue.

Day One, we found water about 8-9 miles in, so lugging 9 liters was not necessary, but best to be safe in the Grand One. The ledge was not that bad, just had to go for it, the more you look at it and down, the worse it gets. I was first to get to it, so i just saw what had to be done, and did it. The next two obstacles are boulders that stick out from the cliff, just make your way around them with a bit of focus and youll be fine. We set up camp maybe 1-2 miles from here, just shy of the Arch.

Day Two, we hit the bypass out of the canyon in no time, then realizing we were going to bypass the Arch as well. We dropped our packs and went back down to the Arch, which is just one of those places you can only understand by being there. We climbed out, back to our packs and headed for the rappel. This really isnt a rappel unless you have no climbing exp. or very little arm strength. It can easily be done with a knotted rope and good bit of focus. We unfortunately had to depart with Joe here, and headed down to Toltec. We dropped our packs grabbed all our water containers and headed up to Elves Chasm. Another place that pictures do no justice for. He chatted up the rafters and fellow hikers took in the beauty (as well as the show) and then headed back to toltec to eat and rest up.

Day Three, i knew this would be a beast of a day, and it never disappointed. We got a bit of water at the unnamed canyon then headed towards Garnet, salty as expected. We then took off for Copper assuming with this years wet winter we would be fine. Of course nothing is easy in the Grand Canyon. No water in Copper, and we all had maybe 3-4 liters left at this point. We took off for South Bass hoping for but not expecting a lick of water, and of course none. We laid down in some shade, Denny took a good nap and we assessed our options. We all decided it best to hike up and out to the esplanade and get our cache of about 5-6 liters. By the time we hit our cache it was after 8pm, and we had been hiking since 615 am. We had covered between 16-18 miles and a good 3000-4000 in elevation gain, with a 40-45lb pack, this was by far the toughest day ive hiked through! Me and Denny set up camp and crashed, Bob being the animal he is continued on up to the rim another 1.5 miles to where joe was waiting for us. This was a very selfless move by Bob, as we only had another 1.5 liters of water at the esplanade for Denny and myself to get us through that night and the next days hike. I milked my last night in the Canyon, knowing tomorrow would be early up and out.

Day Four, pretty cut and dry; wake up, pack up and climb 1.5 miles and about 1200 feet. Denny took off before me as he was always up earliest, i waited for about 45 minutes drinking my coffee and recuperating from yesterday. I climb out just as the sun is coming up and striking the cliffs around me. I pause soaking up the beauty and majesty of this truly Grand Canyon. Bob flies by me on the trail heading down to get some last minute picture and leaves me a much needed gatoraid up ahead on the trail. I hit the rim and take a seat for about 10 minutes, again just trying to take in the grandeur, never before have i felt so tiny, like a spec of dust lost among a sea of sand. Ok, enough fluffy time, im ready for a 5000 calorie breakfast, lets go! :y:

Special thanks to Bob, Joe and Denny! Its awesome being able to share these experiences with such a great group of guys, the teamwork, and camaraderie we all share is something many people never discover. Also big thanks to my pops and cousin for hiking down with us and helping lug water and gatoraid to cache, it was very cool sharing that moment with my dad!

Ill post more pics and videos in the next day or two.
Fraley Pose
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Royal Arch - GCNP
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