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mini location map2017-04-21
50 by photographer avatarSlammyG
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Royal Arch RouteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 21 2017
Backpack42.00 Miles 8,000 AEG
Backpack42.00 Miles3 Days         
8,000 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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What a trip! I can't believe we pulled it off in 3 days although my feet, legs, back, hips and shoulders sure can. One of the most grueling trips I have been on but also one of the most rewarding.

We camped Thursday night at the ranger station and managed to stir up around 5 to get moving around 6. It was cold and we were all tired from little sleep but quickly found the telephone line and made it to the rim. The route down was a lot of fun as we worked our way down the obstacles. The stick ladder was a bit tricky to get started on but smooth sailing nonetheless. We found the petroglyphs and were all blown away by the number and quality of them. Moki steps were really cool to see and didn't present too much of a challenge as long as we took it slow. There were plenty of tricky drop offs down this route where precarious stacks of rocks helped to make the final step down. It was pretty slow moving until we hit the red wall and eventually dropped into the wash. We picked our way down through the creek bed hopping boulders and following the pretty well cairned path. Some sections the walls narrowed and provided some nice shade but of course the canyon opened up again and let the sun in. Just when we couldn't take any more boulder hopping we rounded the corner and were greeted by the amazing Royal Arch. :y: It was incredible and lived up to everything I had expected. A nice stream flowed through it and we stopped in it's shade for some hard snackage. We opted for the canyoneering route this trip not only to save time and miles but also because, why the hell not!? We found the rap area pretty quick, trusted the loop of webbing that we found and down we went! A bit tricky to navigate the ledges and wet muddy wall but we all made it down just fine. A small scare as we struggled with the rope pull but down it came and we made our way over to the next rap of ~175 ft. Finding the tree to rap from was a bit tricky but we skirted down the left side of the canyon through some overgrowth and found the spot. A pretty scary free hanging rap this time and with the weight of the pack our ATC's were burning up by the time we hit the ground! From here it was some trial and error route finding as we made our way for Elves Chasm. I think we made a wrong turn because we cliffed out and were faced with a short 15 foot rappel. From here it was switchbacks down the canyon wall that eventually dumped us at Elves Chasm where we took a much deserved swim and jump from the short fall!

Day 2...Long miles and hot sun.. Aside from the stunning canyon views this was a slog of a day with no relief from the sun apart from the shade of a few boulders. The wildflowers were in bloom and the canyon was covered with beautiful greens and yellows. We picked our way along the Tonto before opting for the steep skree filled shortcut down to Bass Canyon. We opted to tack on some additional miles and make our way down to Bass Beach to camp and fill our empty water bottles. Our beach campsite was incredible, cool and secluded with the opportunity for a nice dunk in the might Colorado where we soaked our tired legs in the cold water after a 20 mile day.

Up and at em day 3 as we made the push for the rim. Bass Canyon was amazing! Incredible colors on the canyon walls and lots of green trees to keep the temps cool as we made gains. I was moving slow after our epic trek the day before but eventually made it to the Darwin Plateau where Mike and Mark made a break for Huetawali while I held back, got some shade and hydrated. The final push up South Bass was grueling, the trail was covered in rock fall and incredibly steep. We were all getting hammered but managed to hit the room by two. High fives and fist bumps abound as we trekked down the road back to our car for the long drive back to Phoenix.

A truly incredible trip with some awesome trekking buddies. Not bad for my first trip down into the canyon. I will be back, oh yes I will be back!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bass Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Minimal pools. Stale nasty water.

dry Copper Canyon Dry Dry

dry Garnet Canyon Dry Dry
Salt chunks abound

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Royal Arch Creek Light flow Light flow
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