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AZ: Grand Canyon SOB Canyon 10/16/19-10/23/19 - First Timers

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Charlie Rogucki, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. Charlie Rogucki

    Charlie Rogucki crogo

    SOB Canyon Trip Report

    Overall this trip delivered, and more. We were a party of three, with experience levels ranging. I myself have been hiking the GC for about 22 years, with very limited technical work, but lots of off trail experience. Another in our party is a Firefighter with 17 years experience, and trains urban search & rescue, so very good with rope work in urban settings. The third in our party is a national competitor in the spartan races and this was his 4th hike ever in the grand canyon. We each took a weekend crash course in setting improvised anchors, working with minimal gear, and practicing off actual rock / bluffs. This was our groups first canyoneering experience, Loved the extra element of the technical side of the trip and looking forward to more in the future.

    Ive included a video at the end that is super long, mainly so my
    buds had all the footage, so i included some time codes of highlights…


    Travel Day
    Our trip started out like many do when you're leaving the flatlands of the midwest (Bloomington, IL). 4 AM departure from the house to catch a 8:35am flight in Chicago heading to Vegas. Once in Vegas we got a car, made a quick stop at the grocery store, long stop at REI, then we were on our way.

    For the first night we planned to stop short of the GC boundary, so we could have a fire and handle the last bit of the road in the morning. Directions to the TH were right on and easy to follow and the roads were bone dry. We rented and infinit QXj something, and it worked fine. Couple places we got on three wheels and the one spot towards the end before the trailhead we had to do some strategic placement of rocks to make sure we didn't hit bottom other than that pretty easy. We had about a 3.5 hour drive from Vegas to the Mt. Trumbell Road turnoff. Before hitting the turnoff we made a quick stop at Pipe Springs to fill up and have a quick meet and greet with Dave Mortonson. Dave is a long time GC hiker, boat builder, first known ascent of the Cranberry Canyon Route, which was named by Dave while doing a first ascent of the route on Thanksgiving day, 1968. Dave has focused most of his hiking career on the remote western half of the Canyon and had alot of knowledge on the route and the road in. It was a great quick visit and a pleasure meeting Dave.

    Day1: In
    Broke camp outside the GCNP boundary about 8am and had what we figured about another 4-6 miles to the TH. Took us about an hour or so. On the road in we came across two guys on their way out. It was their second time through SOB, MAtkat, Olo. We stopped, talked a while, got some good info, they informed us that is was really dry, they had done the Matkat, Olo loop in five days and they looked wooped.

    Was on the trail by about 10am. This trial wastes no time grabbing your focus and it was pretty much concentrated stepping from this point till we came out 5 days later. On the bottom things moved a little quicker, but definity took us some time adjusting our bodies to a heavier pack then we were used to from past trips. We were all pushing roughly #50. we rolled into the camp just above the 70ft rap around 3ish. Once we got there one of our party did a rappel off the 70footer to just check out the bottom, check water situation, and the bypass up. Water was really sparse in SOB. Most of potholes that had water where pretty nasty, but we mannaged to find a few bigger ones that were a bit more clear down canyon. Water was no deeper than thigh high. Dust on everything. Water had not been there for a while
    Loved this first night camp spot under the overhang with SOB right below us.

    Day 2:
    Got started on the 70ft rap about 8:30, and all three of us and bags were down by about 9:15. All raps we came to had anchor system and paracord all ready in place which made things roll a little quicker. We did set our own gear off the 1st 70ft, rest we used which was in place. Our initial intention was to push all the way through all the raps, bypassing the bypasses, but when we got to the “Old One Bolt” heading into the Mauv Narrows we decided we weren't feelin it. Seemed a bit sketch. So we took what we called the big Bypass to the left over the two raps in the mauv, then dropped back down to finish up the mauv narrows. Our second night camp was at upset rapids at the river. Overall our rapps took us about 45 min for all three down and ascents took us about an hour.

    Day 3:
    This would be a river day. Plan was hike up river from Upset Rapids to cross the river were the beach pinches out, head to Matkat hotel, and explore Matkat canyon with what time we had left. The crossing was pretty straight forward, just “paddle like hell” and you'll get across. What made this day the best was scoring 5 beers a piece from a few river parties we ran into at Matkat. Love me a day on the river, pretty laid back.

    Day 4:
    We started our day at about 6:30am with one plan but like the canyon often does, our plans got changed a bit. The climb from the beach at Upset was a bit much for us, neither of us where that comfortable making that climb. So we planned to ride the river back from Matkat hotel and get off where you can take the bypass from the river up above the river. After we took the bypass from the river and got back into SOB the plan was to move about half way up SOB and camp by a good pothole and where the canyon opens up a bit. We were sure we knew where that camp was, but before we knew it we were starting to ascend the rappels. We did one, then another, and another and as we kept going we were wondering where that camp spot might of been. Needless to say we must of blew right by that part of the canyon, or missed it on the river bypasses on the way back into SOB…? either way we pushed on and before we knew it it was dark and we were at the 70ft rap with the bypass climb to do. It was a pretty big day that ended with a headlamp climb out of SOB and hauling packs out in the dark. it was a great ending to a big day. Once to the top we dropped under the overhang camp about 7:30 pm. ate some dinner, and hit the sack. We were now a day ahead of our itinerary.

    Day 5: Out
    We decided being a day ahead that we would just make the 7ish mile hike out and spend the night at a HOJO in St. George. We broke camp about 9am and had pretty uneventful hike out, getting out about 2ish.

    music: KidA,Radiohead

    Overhang Camp / 70ft Rapp: 1:08
    Rappel 2: 3:05
    Rappel 3: 3:28
    Rappel 4: 8:34
    Rappel 5: 8:42
    Bypass Right (dryfall) 8:48
    Mauv Narrow Bypass Left: 10:10
    Rappel 6: 13:59
    Climb from beach: 16:27
    River Crossing: 16:31
    River back from Matkat Hotel: 23:29
    back into SOB, river bypass: 41:21
    Overhang Camp / 70ft Rapp: 41:37
    Scott Patterson likes this.
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