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Twentynine-mile Canyon and other ramblings in Marble Canyon (GC)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mike Rogers, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
    Erik, Ram, ratagonia and 2 others like this.
  2. Ram

    Ram

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    Wonderful! Thanks for the TR's. Yes I am a huge fan of Shinumo/29 Mile. And all the roads on the Navao side seem confusing. Your setting up the shuttle on the South/Bedrock side must have taken many hours. Looks like you strung a series of separate overnights together, to get a substantial amount of canyons and rafting in. Original thinking methiinks. Just the idea of getting all the permits makes my head hurt!:help:

    Thanks for cleaning up the webbing too.
  3. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers

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    Thanks, Ram. We had fun.

    I felt less silly, but only marginally so, about my navigation difficulties in the Navajo side after rereading Steck's account of getting turned around there. MUCH easier in the daylight.

    The permit situation was a pain, requiring multiple NPS and Navajo permits--fortunately this is a low use area so we were able to get our first preferences as we strung it together. Shuttling adds logistics complications, too. The whole itinerary could be done as a continuous run, except that the packrafting 5-mile rule doesn't allow it. While the South/Bedrock/South lollipop adds a nice element, our preference would have been to forgo the exit/reentry out Tatahatso Wash and just continue on. It did mean we got an extra beer stop. The three legs meant a bit less food at the beginning, but it takes away from the "expedition" nature. And we tend to enjoy the extra bit of suffering on the extended routes. Most of these are unlikely to become short-day sport routes. Too much work. Indeed at one of the best times of the year for GC visits, we didn't encounter another person on foot during the entire 7+ days. (We did bump into a handful of river parties as we bounced back and forth.) Without the permit problem, the whole thing could be done as a shuttleless loop with an above-the-rim walk from the Eminence Break TH to Shinumo Wash at the start, but that adds a fair chunk of a day to the front end.

    Political statement: As I said in another forum the five-mile packraft rule is arbitrary, seemingly plucked out of the air (or some place darker and smellier), and too hamfisted and clunky to make sense in the context of quite reasonable backpacking and canyoneering itineraries. Of course, even fixing that broken rule won't stop me from wanting to tackle silly sufferfest itineraries, and with the exception of not exiting/reentering at Tatahatso, we probably would have planned the same route.

    We're bummed that illness and travel logistics meant we had to scratch the Tatahatso narrows, but we're exploring a ridiculous combination of a few more canyons that have no business being strung together for a return.
    Ram likes this.
  4. Ram

    Ram

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    :twothumbs:

    I have such mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, pack rafting wasn't really formally allowed just awhile back and now is. Different user groups in GC often don't support each other as they have the experience that something given to another group must be taken away from them. The uproar that pack rafters were "jumping in line" while others paid into lotteries with no return and waited years to get a permit. The 5 mile rule settled much of that issue down, but it is quite arbitrary as you said, Why one can't get one for the 7 miles from say 36.7 Canyon down to Eminence, is a shame. Still the park could force us to walk the brush and boulder choked banks of the river instead, taking so much of the fun and charm out of these already demanding trips. Nothing is guaranteed either. The management plan, way overdue, has not come out yet. If we hold onto this new privilege to pack raft and we should, we should build a statue of Rich Rudow in thanks. His efforts, in the name of the CAC too, has been Herculean
    MrAdam likes this.
  5. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers

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    The 36.7 to Eminence is a great example. Why 5 and not 7 miles? I'm in favor of some limits to not blow-up the river process. In my limited experience, short segments as part of backpacking trips doesn't seem to impact groups, but if there were no limits, I would probably jump in an alpaca and do the whole river. That wouldn't be fair to those in the river lottery. Answer? I don't know, but it doesn't seem to be 5 miles--there should be a public discussion, and a management plan update seems like the appropriate place for that...er, it would if they ever got around to drafting the updated plan...

    I already have a statue of Rich in my backyard, but my wife keeps asking me to remove it.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  6. Rich Rudow

    Rich Rudow

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    Finally catching up here. Mike, you're killing me. You should have a statue of Elves in your backyard instead! :rofl:

    That was one heck of an itinerary! Very creative too. I bet rafters don't see packrafts in Redwall Cavern that often! Of course, a return trip to do Tatahatso is in order, and boy is it worth it! We figured out something really interesting recently. You can do 36.8 Mile Canyon on river right, then hit Tatahatso on River left, then exit up to the West side of Marble without going over 5 river miles. Makes that return trip to do Tatahatso more rewarding and there is no trans-canyon car shuttle to hit 36.7, which BTW is incredible. Hit me up if you want some details :twothumbs:
    Chris Grove likes this.
  7. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers

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    That's awesome, Rich. We've been studying the maps and sats for the last few weeks to to see if we could make the 36.7/Tat combo go without the big shuttle. You will be hearing from us begging for the details (hope to tackle it with a new bionic ankle--gets rebuilt next month). It was a great trip, but we're all bummed we had to scratch Tatahatso. Had we done it, there's a good chance we would have seen you on the river between there and Eminence Break.

    That statue of you is as an Elvis impersonator, but that's as close to Elves as it gets.
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