“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.”
April 15 – Phantom/Crystal Creek Loop
Below Cheops/Isis Saddle to Shiva Saddle
Arrow and I have hiked a lot of difficult and strenuous cross-country hikes and climbs over the last 12 years including: Enchanted Gorge, Muro Blanco, Great Western Divide, Sierra High Route, peaks over 14,000 in the High Sierras and many other difficult treks in Utah. Today was by far the most dangerous and strenuous days of all. Between getting very low on water, getting stuck between the geologic layers, class 3 and 4 chimneys with exposure, heat, route finding confusion, and falling short of our next water source… it was scary. To Arrow’s credit, the route descriptions online and in the guidebook were vague and left a lot of vital information out. I think our team made some good choices, but I have to admit this was the first real time I have been in a very dangerous situation in the back-country.
NOTE: THIS IS NOT A TRIP I WOULD RECOMMEND, UNLESS HIKERS FEEL COMFORTABLE CLIMBING WITH HEAVY PACKS (WITH 6 LITERS OF WATER), EXCELLENT WITH MAP, COMPASS, AND GPS, LOVE HIKING IN THE HEAT AND CROSS-COUNTRY, AND HIKING THROUGH FIELDS OF CACTI.
On a positive note, the Grand Canyon is beautiful, inspiring, vast, and ever changing.
Last night we woke up just in time to view the Lunar Eclipse. Just as the moon’s eclipse evolved, stars appeared bright over the night sky and the moon shown orange. It was incredible.
Our route up Trinity Canyon to the Isis/Shiva Saddle was slow and hot. Just below the saddle we used rope to haul our Gossamer Gear packs up a tight chute. It was the first of many that day.
After getting to the top of the saddle we assessed our water situation realizing that we would not make it to our next water source, Dragon Spring.
To access the next saddle, Shiva Saddle we then saw that we had to maneuver up several shear layers. We were overwhelmed, but rallied up and between the 3 of us scouted out routes up. Arrow is very tall and was able to reach and perform some pretty incredible moves. Several times we discussed turning around, but it was so far back to water and down climbing the chutes this late in the day was too crazy.
After reaching the correct layer, donning headlamps we made it to the Shiva Saddle after dark. During this stressful afternoon and evening no one really took photos and the thoughts that kept running over and over again in my head is what I taught the kids in tHInK outsidE about:
S – stay put
T – think
O – observe
P – plan
It really works and kept me calm and focused.
I am so grateful to be alive and thankful for this group. Everyone is exhausted, sore, and dehydrated (we have 1/2 liter of water each rationed for the next 5 miles in the morning), but believe it or not we still have a sense of humor.