Grand Gulch Impassable?

Joe Hall

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Joined
Oct 27, 2016
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8
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.
 

River

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Jan 26, 2012
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420
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:

LarryBoy

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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.
 

IntrepidXJ

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Jan 17, 2012
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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.

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.
 

LarryBoy

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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.
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.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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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
 

Joe Hall

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Messages
8
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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