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AZ: Grand Canyon Badger Jackass Traverse

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Sandstoned, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Sandstoned

    Sandstoned

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    IMG_1730.JPG Two friends and I enjoyed a delightful experience in the Marble Canyon area of Grand Canyon this Labor Day weekend. Typically in summer I will steer clear from dry desert canyons with forecasts for 97 degree high daytime temps...and a multi day trip in such heat, no thank you. But this is a fairly short trip. So, we were able to beat the heat by starting late on day one and ending early on day two. Carried no tent or bag, as they were not needed, and shaved off other weight where possible, but nonetheless with canyoning gear and river gear, a bulky pack is carried. This is a first class route dropping through the short, technical north fork of Badger and enjoying a few scenic rappels. We left the car at the bridge at 4 10pm and arrived at the Colorado around 6 30pm having stayed shaded the entire time in Badger. We hiked up the boulder strewn river bank about 3/4 of a mile in search of a good camp site. There is plenty good camping near the rapid, but we were looking to position ourselves for an early morning pack raft ferry and exit up jackass Canyon. And that is what we did, at sunset, having no troubles. River conditions were perfect, smooth, mild current, and no wind. Our pool toys performed valiantly and the pack raft trip across the Colorado was a highlight and a delight. Once on the Navajo Reservation side of the river, we learned a lesson the hard way. Tis best not to go 3/4 miles up river to cross. In actuality, while we did plan to go up river far enough to create a huge window between us and the rapid, we ended up at the 3/4 point due to wanting a nicer camping spot. But this necessitated hiking the same 3/4 mile back downriver on the Reservation side, of course, and on that side its a talus field, and the walking is deliberate and slow. If doing this route again, id either A) camp at the rapid and then launch from about 1/4 of a mile or less above the rapid...or B) hike up river to the nice camp site we enjoyed, then ride the river about a half mile taking out about a 1/4 mile above the rapid...Id do that to avoid the talus field, but regardless, it was awesome! The ferry and talus hike down river led to nice views of the rapid from a high spot before dropping down into Jackass Canyon, the exit route. The lower portion of Jackass has plenty of scrambling, many boulders to pick through and climb over. Still we continued to remain shaded, never exposed solar radiation for even a moment since hiking the first few steps the previous day. It was a coolish and lovely 70 degrees or so, and we were beating the heat as desired. Half way up Jackass we approached the dryfall photographed by Todd Martin in Grand Canyoneering. Pool at the bottom of the dryfall would have been a shame to get shoes wet and muddied right before climbing the dry fall, though a rope was in place and allowed for an easy ascent regardless. We keep dry feet by climbing on the sloping ledges on the left side looking up canyon. The right side looking up canyon looked tempting, and each of us explored the option, though left we ultimately chose. Above the dryfall, things flatten out, and a fork enters on the right and on the left, though to access our car, we knew to stay in the center fork. This was the first sunlight we had, it was about 9 30 and it felt warm. A half hour later after passing some cows and a bull which did not look to happy to see us, so we gave it a wide berth, we were at the car about 10 15am or so, it was hot by now, we had beaten the heat, enjoyed a great route, and sat in the Marble Canyon Lodge restaurant lingering over breakfast for two hours in the cool, telling tales, scarfing food, rehydrating, and tipping big for the opportunity to use the booth as our own personal post hike debriefing area for a couple of hours.
  2. Sandstoned

    Sandstoned

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