Grand Gulch Impassable?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Joe Hall, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. Joe Hall

    Joe Hall New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    I was hoping to do a packrafting trip down the San Juan from Mexican Hat and hike out the length of Grand Gulch. However, I've heard a section of Grand Gulch fairly close to the river is now impassable. We talked to a river ranger recently and he seemed to imply that it's not doable.

    Anybody have any information on this, and just how impassable it is?

    Any other suggestions for packrafting trips off of the San Juan or in SE Utah? We were thinking of Slickhorn as the backup, but hoping for a little more hiking.
     
  2. SKLund

    SKLund Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
  3. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    Messages:
    11,272
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I've heard the same thing. I think there are some threads over on Mountain Buzz (rafting forum) about it.
     
  4. River

    River Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    Idaho
    You've probably seen this, but here's a link to the BLM info with a pic:
    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/monticello/recreation/permits/grand_gulch_and_cedar.html

    A little more info:
    http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f43/hiking-out-grand-gulch-from-san-juan-river-60403.html

    A friend did it as a packraft last spring and hiked out Grand Gulch. He felt it was Class 4/5. They brought a 50' rope for packs and to belay. He's a mountaineer with lots of experience, so if he thinks it's "interesting" it's definitely not for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
  5. LarryBoy

    LarryBoy Hiker Trash

    Messages:
    456
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Wonder when this happened. I did lower Grand Gulch in Feb 2015 and there were a couple spots that were a tiny bit uncomfortable (I think I left my pack about a mile up from the river) but nothing crazy or super dangerous IMO.
     
  6. IntrepidXJ

    IntrepidXJ ADVENTR

    Messages:
    2,176
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO
    It happened before May of 2015 because I hiked up to this section of the trail from the river that month. There was no way I was even attempting it.
     
  7. LarryBoy

    LarryBoy Hiker Trash

    Messages:
    456
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I do remember climbing over a rubble heap on the W wall of the canyon (not sure on the cardinal directions, but it was the right-side wall as headed downstream. there were a bunch of pools in the bottom of the canyon. I remember climbing over the rubble heap. Getting out of the canyon bottom required one full-extension reach to clamber up onto a boulder and it was pretty steep and loose for a short bit (I don't remember being particularly sketched out by it). Then a ton of boulder hopping amidst thorny plans, and then you walk on this shelf underneath the top of some formation.

    Super vague I know. I dropped my pack where I clambered onto the boulder but I think I would have been OK without it. Memory fades though, and I don't have any good photos of that area, so I could be vastly underestimating it. For what it's worth, I'm not a super bold adventurer when it comes to sketchy footing. I do OK with exposure, but steep and loose is my nemesis.
     
  8. Bob

    Bob Trailmaster

    Messages:
    1,814
    Location:
    NUtah
    was a flash flood prior to when we went in 2014 that made the last half mile to the San Juan tricky....but doable. Of course as with all large desert drainages a flash flood can change things quite often. best to call the BLM and ask
     
    LarryBoy likes this.
  9. Joe Hall

    Joe Hall New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Thanks for the info. Definitely going to take a pass on this and try to put together a week long packraft/hike elsewhere in the area. Any suggestions?
     
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