New Hance, Asbestos, Vishnu, Grapevine, Grandview
This map (above) shows our overall route.
Click on photos to see larger image.
This would be my first major Grand Canyon backpack since my second knee replacement one year ago.
I had been in Vishnu Canyon twice before, but never all the way down to the River. I had heard about an old cabin in the lower section of Vishnu, and the lower narrows looked inviting. On my first trip there in March, 2012, I ran into two backcountry rangers who had hiked down the Grandview Trail and continued down to the river via the abandoned Grandview Extension trail (see March 2010 trip report). They hitched across the River to Vishnu Canyon. I met them in late afternoon as they were hiking up Vishnu through the upper narrows. I thought it would be terrific to do the same, but after reading Tom Martin's description in his book, Day Hikes From the River, I wasn't sure my climbing abilities were up to it. Although Tom mentioned only a few 8 to 10 foot drops, I don't have the climbing abilities I once had (It's tough getting old!). It would definitely be easier going down, but the mouth of Vishnu is down-river from the end of the abandoned Grandview trail, so a raft could not deliver us to the bottom of the trail.
After scouring my maps, I realized there might be another option. In February, 2014, I had hiked down Grapevine Canyon towards the River. We knew that it was extremely difficult to get all the way to the River by going straight down Grapevine, but Sally Underwood had suggested a way to bypass the lower section by climbing to a high saddle, then down a steep chute to the River, ending upstream from the mouth of Grapevine, almost directly across from the mouth of Vishnu Creek. This looked promising. We could make a semi-loop by hiking down the New Hance (Red Canyon) trail, hitch across and hike up Hance's old trail into Asbestos Canyon, then off-trail to Vishnu, down Vishnu, across the river, up over the saddle into Grapevine, and out via the Grandview Trail.
Bert and Marcey had a trip planned for the end of October, so I thought I could do this immediately before their trip. And if I felt up to it, I could do both trips. Ben agreed to do this trip with me, and he was a definite on the second trip.
I arranged for a river trip to put in a small cache for us at the mouth of Vishnu. Moreover, I had managed to reduce my pack weight significantly by eliminating all non-essential items, plus buying lighter gear (e.g., pack and sleeping bag). And because the weather forecast showed no chance of rain for the next 10 days, I decided to leave my tent behind. I managed to get my pack weight down to about 26 pounds, without water.
On October 14 I drove to Flagstaff and picked up Ben at the airport. We then drove to Tusayan where we had dinner, then found a campsite in the woods just north of Tusayan.
On the second trip immediately after this one, I slipped and fell into Kanab Creek. My iPhone, which I use as my camera, was destroyed, thus all my photos from both trips are gone. I added a few photos from previous trips, when appropriate.
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