Grand canyon in February

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woodmaker_58

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Aug 31, 2014
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Has anyone hiked down the Tanner trail in February? Is it icy and are microspikes needed to get below the snow line?
 

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LarryBoy

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Has anyone hiked down the Tanner trail in February? Is it icy and are microspikes needed to get below the snow line?
Disclaimer: I have not been that far up the Tanner Trail so no firsthand experience... but that said...

Looking at the topo, those switchbacks below the rim are directly north facing and aren't going to get a lot of sun in the winter. I was on high, north-facing stuff in the Canyon last March and, despite it being a very light winter, spikes would have been really nice to have. I can't imagine the trail won't be icy in February. But you could definitely call the backcountry permit office and they could give you better advice.

I do wonder if anyone actually goes down the Tanner at that time of year... if there's no traffic and fresh snow, maybe more snow on the ground than ice?
 

woodmaker_58

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Disclaimer: I have not been that far up the Tanner Trail so no firsthand experience... but that said...

Looking at the topo, those switchbacks below the rim are directly north facing and aren't going to get a lot of sun in the winter. I was on high, north-facing stuff in the Canyon last March and, despite it being a very light winter, spikes would have been really nice to have. I can't imagine the trail won't be icy in February. But you could definitely call the backcountry permit office and they could give you better advice.

I do wonder if anyone actually goes down the Tanner at that time of year... if there's no traffic and fresh snow, maybe more snow on the ground than ice?
I have talked to the Backcountry office ranger and plan to again when I get there to see trail conditions.
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
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Apr 8, 2015
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Going to page @Curt here. Pretty sure he has hiked this trail in snow, and I recall it wasn't terribly fun. I hiked it down with him on a snow free trip in April a couple years back, and can see sections being pretty sketchy in snow. The first upper part is quite steep.
 

Curt

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Feb 1, 2014
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Went down toward the end of March. We spent the first night at the top of the Red Wall and it snowed on us there. I thought that was going to make the descent off the Red Wall tricky but it wasn't too bad. The snow was gone by the time we got to the bottom of the Red Wall. However, when we came back out 5 days later there was still quite a bit of snow up near the rim and it was packed down on the trail. It was hard going. I didn't have microspikes with me but wished I had. I don't know what we would have done without hiking poles. Mine kept me from falling several times. If you've never been on this trail, what @b.stark said isn't an overstatement. It practically falls off the rim in the first mile and it's steep until you get to the 75 Mile Canyon saddle by Escalante Butte. It's steep again at the Red Wall descent but I doubt you'll have trouble there unless there's an awful lot of snow. If you come back out the same way, you may want to consider cacheing them at the top or the bottom of the Red Wall depending on the conditions. If you're not coming back that way it may be worth cacheing them by the 75 Mile Canyon saddle and then coming back to get them before you leave the Canyon. It's not that far down to the saddle. But it's a lot of effort and every time I've drug myself out of the Canyon I've had no desire to do any more hiking for a while. It would be a hard decision for me whether to carry that extra weight the whole rest of the way or make that nasty climb down and back to get the spikes. The hard decision for me wouldn't be on whether to take them.
 

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