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Vishnu Temple
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mini location map2019-03-16
29 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Vishnu TempleNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Mar 16 2019
Hike & Climb36.00 Miles 11,182 AEG
Hike & Climb36.00 Miles3 Days         
11,182 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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I brought Dave out of retirement for a big one and Karl came along because of course he only does the most epic of Grand Canyon summits. Vishnu had been on my radar since the fall, but Karl and I only made a very half-hearted attempt at it back in October. My original plan this time around, included the same long approach via Unkar. However, on the drive to the Canyon, Dave suggested an alternative approach (Vishnu Canyon) that would be far more scenic, however, it included a redwall break ascent to reach the saddle of Vishnu that was unknown to us. We knew it went, but we really did not have much beta past that. We ultimately went with the Vishnu Canyon approach despite the unknown and it turned out to be an excellent last minute change as Vishnu Canyon proved to be a real gem and the red wall route went!

We started from Grandview Trail at 10:00 a.m. Karl and I wore micro spikes to start, Dave decline. Other than some recent rock slides hindering travel a bit on Grandview, the descent was uneventful. Cottonwood Creek was flowing nicely and proved to be a pleasant section of trail. The Tonto was the Tonto and then it was the turn off for The Old Grandview. The drop down O.G. was steep and loose in spots, but I enjoyed my first time on this steep path to the river. The crossing to Vishnu Canyon went very smoothly and before long we were stashing the rafts and heading up Canyon. Vishnu Canyon was flowing nicely for most of the hike up canyon to camp. In fact, the flowing water created some modest obstacles for up canyon travel, but we managed fine with a little team work. A significant bypass right before camp proved to be a bit of an ass kicker, so needless to say we were happy to finally reach the superb overhang camp around 7:00 p.m. A tough little 14 mile day for such a late start. We did get our first glimpse of the redwall route we would be taking the next day and let's just say it did not leave an easy feeling with me, as it looked pretty steep and nasty from afar.

We left camp around 7:30 on day two and made our way to the red wall break, which slowly began to look less formidable as we approached it. The route was steep and involved a huge bypass to clear a set of falls the guarded the lower portions of the route, but overall it was really not that bad. From the saddle we used a combination of Dave’s memory and the Tomasi directions to reach the crux climb. The climb is only advertised as class four, but I am certain the climb requires at least one legitimate climbing move to send and I would rate it some where around the lowest class five rating in my opinion. I strung a hand line at the top for Karl and Dave to follow and soon enough we were all up. It was a little more Supai and then on to the loose rock slide prone Coconino portion of the climb, which we got through with out too much difficulty. Before long we were staring at the boulder obstacle that had foiled Dave a few years before. I wedged myself up, ran another handline for the boys and all of a sudden we were up and making our final push to the summit cap. There was a little snow still lingering in this portion, which made things a little slippery, but nothing a little extra attention could not mitigate. It took a brief moment to find the final little boulder problem to reach the base of the cap and the final 10 foot "class four" climb to the summit, but we found it and then without much hesitation I was up the final climb and securing another handline for the boys. This time however, the job was made easier by some webbing that was left behind. A final loose scramble and we were finally on top.

What a summit and what a feeling! The conditions were perfect. We were the 57th group to reach the summit according to the pretty detailed register, which had every summit numbered since the new canister and register were put into place at the 24th ascent. As per the norm with these big Canyon summits, the excitement was slightly tempered, as we knew we had a lot of down climbing to do and a few raps to set up, before we were completely out of the clear. The raps went smoothly and the down climb although tedious at times went fine as well. The steep descent back through the redwall was a tad taxing, in fact, it made us excited for boulder hopping and ankle breakers in Vishnu Creek. We got back to camp just before dark, ate a ton of food and celebrated with Reeses per FOTG tradition.

The packraft back across the Colorado River was the only thing noteworthy about our return. We were able to utilize a back eddy that brought us nearly a couple tenths of a mile back up stream and then beyond the Old Grandview beach to a point where we felt comfortable enough to begin the mad paddle across to the relatively small landing area.

Great trip, great group and an amazing summit. It was real nice to knock this one out with a little teamwork and a couple of good friends. It’s always more special when you have to grind them out a little and rely on your own some vs being a bystander and relying on others to guide you up. I am already thinking about a return to this area, to be continued..

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