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Rim to RimNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2017
Hiking44.50 Miles 11,425 AEG
Hiking44.50 Miles   19 Hrs   35 Mns   2.36 mph
11,425 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
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Finally setup a weekend to knock out this hike and get it done before winter snow hits the North Rim. We stayed at Maswick Lodge before and after Rim to Rim to make it easier and more relaxing weekend. Starting from Bright Angel Trail Head we did:
BA :next: NK :next: SK

Also started at midnight hoping to plan on being at Phantom Ranch Cantina by 3pm before finishing up on South Kaibab. But before that it was 6 hours down the BA in the dark which was nice and quiet. Didn’t see anyone all the way to Phantom and arrived about 345am. We refilled water taking a short break and were off by 4am. Heading up North Kaibab we started to see people heading the other way before sunrise. Most of them were trail runners doing Rim to Rim from North Kaibab and we would see some of them coming back later in the day.

After 5 miles in the Box we passed Ribbon Falls turn off about 6 and then Cottonwood Camp about 630. At this point it was getting light enough to turn off the headlamps as we headed towards the Pumphouse. Arrived Pumphouse just after 7am and took another break topping off water and snack for the big climb ahead. From Pumphouse the trail seems straight up compared to the previous 8 miles but we managed to make it by 945. The thing that really surprised us was how many people we passed going the other way on North Kaibab. I lost count but it was probably about 75 people between Cottonwood Camp and North Kaibab TH.

We took a very short break at North Kaibab TH because it was pretty cold and kept moving to keep warm. Not sure the exact temp but probably upper 30’s. We headed back down NK this time passing more trail runners heading up NK the way we had just finished. It was nice heading downhill and we were feeling in good shape for the long hike back to Phantom with the target still being there by 3pm.

Heading back down we passed Cottonwood about 1245 and then Ribbon Falls a little after 1pm with the final 5.5 miles back to Phantom. As many others have said in their triplogs this section drags and it does but the miles are fast. We were able to manage 18 to 20 minute mile splits on the last 5 miles and arrived at Phantom just before 3 as planned. We were extremely happy to have made the schedule and had plenty of time to get their ice cold lemonade and I had a Tecate as well. We took about 40 minute break which was the only really long break but well timed as we needed it to get ready for the final hike out South Kaibab.

Just before 4pm we left Phantom and headed for Black Bridge. Once across the bridge the long climb begins but with the nice break we were fueled up and ready to tackle it. We made it to Tipoff before sunset and took in another snack before the next part of the climb. We made it just above Skeleton Point as it was getting dark about 6 or so. On to Cedar Ridge in the dark and the wind started to pick up significantly which always seems to be the case in this section. It was particularly bad between Cedar and Oh Ah Point but at least we were almost done. After breathing in the mule dust from the wind in those last miles we finally made the South Kaibab TH about 730 and just under our other goal of 20 hours.

Of course tired from the long hike and cold windy finish in general we felt pretty good. A combination of short breaks and constantly taking in calories such as energy gels really helped keep us moving. At the top we called the Grand Canyon taxi and they were there in 15 minutes which worked out well. Taxi took us back to the room at Maswick Lodge for a much needed rest, hot shower and beverages :D
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