Guided Backpacking in Grand Canyon on hold until Spring

Taking a day hike in the Grand Canyon this time of year can be enjoyable, but be sure to dress for the cold, as the South Rim is located near 7000 feet and will experience weather typical of Flagstaff.  Backpacking trips be careful, as snow can impact these pre-planned journeys making it unsafe or impossible to get off of the rim top.  Once below rim top conditions can greatly improve, but as a storm seems to be headed our way for this coming weekend, our days of guided tours in Grand Canyon on a multi day level will most likely be on hold until March 1st now, when conditions once again set us up for another beautiful season of backpacking in Grand Canyon. 

Again, day hiking the canyon in Winter can be nice, as even if unable to drop off of the rim, the snow can add a beauty to the canyon that cannot be described.


What is Canyoneering?

So, what is canyoneering anyway?  Technical canyoneering is the activity of exploring canyons typically by following a watercourse that is responsible for creating the canyons in the first place through canyon carving.  Watersheds channel hydraulic energy that travels  its from high point to low point creating a channel/canyon/slot canyon through the given landscape. 

These watercourses can be flowing, or dry and only flowing during rains or snowmelt.  Unique challenges are present in these canyons that are divided into three types, dry, water in the canyon sans current, water flowing in the canyon.  These canyons are rated A, B or C respectably based on this criteria.  It is typical in class A canyons to find rappels as the primary issue, having to create potentially complex natural anchors to connect your ropes to as to descend these canyons. 

Class B canyons can host what we call “keeper potholes.”  These features can be daunting, as in technical canyons you are typically so deep into the earth that retreat and escape is impossible.  With the only way out to continue onward, these keeper holes can literally stop you in your tracks.  Imagine a swimming pool without a ladder or any features that is water polished.  Imagine the pool has no shallow end and is 20 feet deep with vertical walls, the water is drained out so that the water level is 8 feet below the top of the pool.  With no way around this, how do you get across it?  The answer is some complex problem solving, tossing bags of sand over the opposite lip to produce a counterweight, taping a climbing hook to a tentpole, whatever the solution you must be prepared ahead of time with what you may need, most important of all knowledge, as going back is not a option most of the time. 

Class C canyons have current and moving water, rappels down waterfalls, and all of the hazards that come through operating near swift water.  Rigging systems are typically releasable, allowing the canyoneer on rappel to be quickly lowered by the system if drowning on rope etc.

These factors are not limited within one rating or class of canyon.  You can find any of these hazards, for the most part anywhere, and this text is a generalization to provide a basic overview of what canyoneering is.  Descending canyons is exploration in its most true form, and requires many skill sets and ability to adapt to keep yourself safe.

Over the years many training groups have offered short courses to students, and it seems that people have felt these classes adequate substitution for years of mentorship and experience.  You cannot learn how to do these activities safely in three days, or in any quick way for that matter.  Please take time to build actual experience, and be safe, protect the land, and have fun.


Grand Canyon Guided Rim to Rim Backpacking Trips

Guided Rim to Rim backpacking trips will be coming to an end for the 2013 season, as the National Park will close its services on the North Rim on November 15th as is typical.  Arizona Department of Transportation will make a call on when to close highway 87, typically due to impacts of snow and weather at these high North Rim elevations.  Until highway 67 is closed, Rim to Rim hikes are possible despite park services being shut down for the season.  These hikes still require a valid NPS backcountry permit.  CenterFocus stops guiding the Rim to Rim tour on November 15th as there is no way to assure to our clients thereafter, that access into the park is possible.  The North Rim re-opens on May 15th, and at that time our Grand Canyon guided Rim to Rim tours will continue once again!  May and June are great months to enjoy a Rim to Rim hike, followed by September and October.  Check us out at www.thecenterfocus.com


CenterFocus wraps up another season of adventure

It seems that the wave of adventure is starting to subside a little bit for our 2013 season.  This season was a blast, so lets review some highlights from this year.

Our guided Grand Canyon trips went well.  We kicked off with Spring Break visitors, and the weather on these trips was delightful.  After summer arrived, the heat came to us early this year, with heat waves in June that were above average for what we see during our Grand Canyon Backpacking Trips.  June and September require attention to planned routes to avoid heat, as these months can pose at times the same threats that July and August can. 

Coming into September the backpacking in Grand Canyon started out with some rain, and we squeezed through a trip on September 9th in the middle of the mess, catching a weather window and getting great pictures and experinences. 

By October things got really nice, and then the park closed due to the government shutdown!  Luckily we caught the tail end of October, and we guided Grand Canyon tours throughout the end of the month and up until today.  At this point winter is approaching no doubt, although it has been sunny and clear as is typical for November with great hiking!

Our Arizona guided canyoneering tours could not have went better.  We started the Spring with a little rain and cold, but then conditions set up just right.  We enjoyed the season through the Spring and Summer, where we had a lot of precipitation in August that we had to be careful of here and there.  The miracle month for our guided canyoneering tours and adventures in Arizona this year was September.  Salome this year started to flow once again like the Spring for a three week window.  The water was crystal clear, and the canyon charged up all over again.  This left quickly, but we were able to get many trips through the canyon during that time, and having guided there for years it made us feel quite special to be a part of this.  One of the trips a huge Gila Monster was sitting right in the center of the canyon, just hanging out on the top of a boulder, it was like the Spring had rekindled.

Lastly, our Sedona adventure tours were and are always, largely rock climbing based.  These guided rock climbing tours leave Sedona to spend a day climbing at the high elevation of the Mogollon Rim.  Spring is a great time up there, and the summer can be good to hide from the heat.  We slowed down here for some reason in September, and then started to get busy again as far as the climbing trips in October.   It has been getting cool at this point at the high elevations, so our guided climbing tours will start to wrap up for the year, although climbing in Phoenix is great throughout the winter.


Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking Trips and Tours – How to choose wisely

As a manager here at CenterFocus Guided Grand Canyon Tours, I wanted to provide information to help you choose the ideal Grand Canyon Tour for you.

The first order of business is to determine whether or not you are looking for an overnight or a single day trip. Single day trips can typically be booked with most Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide and Tour companies about three weeks in advance. For overnight trips an advanced booking of at least 4 months is suggested due to the difficulty in acquiring permits in Grand Canyon, for this coveted camping space located below rim top.

CenterFocus does not charge you if unable to get permits, be wary of companies that charge you even when unable to acquire the necessary backpacking permits for your group. Also consider it a negative when Grand Canyon Tour Companies offer little to no personalized service, answering questions with automated field forms. If this robotic, it’s a profit and not passion driven company. This is alright, but typically means guides are underpaid and under treated, customer service becomes sub-par, and screening processes to assure you a safe trip less precise.
Be sure your company is CUA certified by the National Park Service on the Park website located here, http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/Guided_Backpacking_Trips.pdf

The final step in this process is choosing a trail. If a guide company is worth their weight, they should assist with this. Typically the S. Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails are more suited to groups less physical, more relaxed, or that want more time to simply enjoy relaxing a bit in Grand Canyon. The Hermit and non-corridor trips are much arduous and adventurous. These get you away from people more so, but are more demanding and a little more mission oriented. The Rim to Rim trip follows the corridor trails, but the N. Kaibab portion of this Grand Canyon Guided Backpacking Tour is more remote and challenging than the S. Kaibab trail; also over ten miles of extra hiking to side sites occurs on the CenterFocus Experiences Guided Grand Canyon trips and tours so be prepared for an amazing four day adventure, a bit harder than the S. Kaibab loop, and a bit less strenuous than the Hermit based trips that are offered.

Currently expensive guided rim to rim backpacking trips and tours in Grand Canyon are being offered at huge savings if booked prior to June 1st. Check out these guided Grand Canyon Tours at http://www.thecenterfocus.com/grand-canyon/backpacking/rim-to-rim.html

Take a look at these offerings, and if able to call CenterFocus at 9285678580 prior to June 1st, you can save up to 30 percent on these guided Rim to Rim Grand Canyon Backpacking tours!


Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking and Hiking Tours

Backpacking season is in full swing in Grand Canyon National Park.  CenterFocus Adventures is currently running specials on tours providing up to 40 percent savings on these trips.  Contact 928.567.8580 for details.  Check out http://www.thecenterfocus.com/grand-canyon/backpacking.html for tour offerings.  Some select dates are currently being offered for these trips at up to 40 percent off!


Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking Tours

We are gearing up here at CenterFocus for our 2013 season. We will be posting updates on conditions in all of our areas, and our predictions on how this weather will effect our touring through the 2013 season as time goes on. If you mention this post and are a return client, you will recieve a 15 percent discount off of all of our tours in 2013. Anyone else, who mentions this post and books a Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking Tour or technical canyoneering tour, prior to January 1st will receive 50pp off on canyoneering and/or 75pp off Guided Grand Canyon Backpacking Tours. Cheers!

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