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Trip Report - April/May, 2012 - Nankoweap & Marion-Seiber

Well, this was not one of the best trips ever but it certainly was not the worst either.

It got started on the wrong foot with numerous scheduling difficulties. The trip was originally planned as a second trip for my cousin, John, who did did the Thunder River and Deer Creek trip with me in May, 2011. Two of his friends who were originally supposed to go on that trip were also supposed to go on this one. He had to back out of this one because of some health concerns and so they did as well. I had also planned to take along two gals I met hiking in New Hampshire's White Mountains last fall but one of them backed out as well. For a while there I was left with a permit for 6 people with only 2 people, Pam and myself, going. I found two more guys, Gordy and Rob, as a result of a posting on the Grand Canyon Hikers Yahoo! Group. In the end I had 4 people and went to the Backcountry Office to get a credit for the 2 others.

The choice of companions for this trip was very good and we all got along very well for the 7 days of the trip so I got lucky there. Gordy and Rob both had numerous Grand Canyon backpacking trips under their belts and Rob had even been into Nankoweap before. Rob had never seen the Kolb Bridge, Mystic Falls or the granaries over there and had never done the Marion-Seiber Route either so he was really looking forward to these. It was all new to Gordy. The entire Canyon was new to Pam as this was her first trip ever. She had done lots of tough day hikes in the White Mountains but only one over-night trip so this was really her first backpacking trip ever. She's a strong and very deterimed woman though and came through a very tough trip with flying colors.

Then there was the illness issue. I ended up coming down with some kind of stomach bug/intestinal thing early in the morning of the third day and that lasted for a couple of days and really set me back as far as being able to hike. Pam ended up coming down with some kind of stomach bug after the trip was over too and back at home that was diagnosed as giardia.

We mever made it to the top of Nankoweap Mesa and I may have only got a little further than I did on my previous attempt. We had a tough time following the track I had in my GPS and we did not cliff out or anything like I did last time. It was just taking us a lot longer than anticipated and we ended up giving up on it. It was still a nice day hike and we got pretty high up with some awesome views. I originally didn't have Nankoweap Mesa on the agenda for this trip and added it because at one point I thought I had someone going who had been to the top. I left it in and decided to give it another try but I won't be trying it again unless I have someone with me who has been up there before.

We never made it to the Kolb Bridge either. We got up as far as the breaks in the Tapeats right before the big pour-off and then my stomach started acting up again. We could not figure out how to get access to the route on the south side that I used on my prior trip up there. We could see the scree slope that I mentioned in my trip report but the brush was so dense it didn't look like there was any way through. I ended up bailing out there myself and tried to get Rob and Gordy to go on without me through the break on the north side but they didn't make it.

We did get down to the Colorado River and the granaries there which was good for both Gordy and Pam. We also made it up to Mystic Falls and found the granaries there so that was good too.

The Marion-Seiber Route was horrid though and a lot more difficult this time than I remembered from the past trip. It took me 10 hours to go from camp at the base of the route to my car at the FS-57 trailhead on that trip and this time it took 14 hours. We are all beat by the end of that day.

Larger version (2000x1271) camera Photo map

Day 1 - Touring the south rim with Pam and Gordy and hiking to the Nankoweap trailhead
Day 2 - Nankoweap Trail to Nankoweap Creek
Day 3 - Nankoweap Mesa attempt
Day 4 - Nankoweap granary at the Colorado River and moving camp up Nankoweap Creek
Day 5 - Kolb Natural Bridge
Day 6 - Moving camp to below Seiber Point, Mystic Falls and granaries
Day 7 - Hiking out on the Marion-Seiber Route

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