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Trip Report - March-April, 2015 - Deva Temple Backpacking Trip

Deva Temple... again...

This would be the third or forth attempt depending on how you look at it. I prefer to think of it as the third attempt since I really never got beyond the lower area of the Brahma-Deva drainage the last time I was there and never attempted the actual climb to the summit.

The first attempt at Deva Temple was way back in April 2007, as a day hike from the main Clear Creek camping area. That was a foolhardy attempt and I am definitely not a strong or fast enough hiker go to all the way from there and back in one day. It was already almost noon by the time I made it to the top of the Redwall ravine and that's where I turned back.

The second attempt was in October 2008. On the previous trip in 2007 I discovered a spring about a mile up the Brahma-Deva drainage and thought that would be a good place to camp for a much shorter attempt at the summit so that's what I headed for. I did much better on that trip and made it to the top of the Brahma-Deva saddle by a little after 11am. I should have been able to get to the top from there but my energy level hit zero and I did not have enough food or water with me to go on. I felt good at making it that far and was convinced I could get it the next time with a little better planning.

The third non-attempt was in October 2010. That trip was a total disaster because of a problem with some new hiking boots, and probably trying to go too far on the first day in them. My feet were already feeling pretty bad by the time I made it to my first camp, below Bradley Point on the Clear Creek Trail. By the time I got down into the Brahma-Deva drainage the next day it was all over. I gave the feet a day to rest but it didn't help. I could not even wear the boots at that point and ended up hiking out of the Canyon in my Tevas.

After that last trip I was pretty much convinced it would never happen... but I really hated giving up on it. So this year, after stewing on it for almost 5 years, I decided to give it another go. I went for a much more optimistic attempt at getting over there, spending the first night at Bright Angel campground and then taking the entire second day to get over to the Brahma-Deva drainage. I would make the Deva Temple day hike on day 3 and planned for an extra lay-over day to rest up before heading out.

The biggest concern for this trip was water since the spring I had camped next to on the second attempt was dry on the third. I survived that third attempt only because of some huge potholes with water in them. But that was at the end of the monsoon season so there had been plenty of rain to fill those potholes. This attempt was coming at the end of a very dry winter. I was pretty much sure that the spring would still be dry but was hoping (praying) that the potholes would have something.

A couple weeks prior to the trip I was looking at Google Earth photos of the area and discovered what seemed to be a trail going from the top of the little butte/saddle next to the Clear Creek Trail, along the cliffs, and down into the Brahma-Deva drainage. I had never noticed this before and it looked a lot quicker/easier/shorter than the prior routes I had used to get in there so that gave me some hope in case I needed to get down to Clear Creek proper for water.

Trip highlights

  • Finally making it to the top of Deva Temple
  • Lots of wonderful spring flowers
  • More collared lizards than I have ever seen on one trip before
  • Crossing over the 2000-mile mark for Grand Canyon hiking/backpacking
  • Wonderful weather for the entire trip
  • An unexpected and very welcome water source

Larger version (2000x1932) camera Photo map

Day 1 - South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel campground
Day 2 - Clear Creek Trail to Brahma-Deva Route
Day 3 - Rest day on the Brahma-Deva Route
Day 4 - Deva Temple day hike
Day 5 - Brahma-Deva Route to Clear Creek Trail to Bright Angel campground
Day 6 - River and Bright Angel Trails to south rm

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