Day 1

March 28, 2010

Flipoff to Kanab Creek


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Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  4.0 miles (estimate)

    Elevation Gain:  50 feet

    Elevation Loss:  2500 feet

We were all up at first light and were soon heading off through the Pinon-Juniper to the rim takeoff point.  We were soon gazing into the vast expanse of the of the Esplanade below us.  Racetrack Knoll, which I had climbed last November, looked like a tiny bump, nearly lost in the vast expanse of the Esplanade.  After a few minutes of silence, we enthusiastically started down.  The first obstacle was a cliff-band of of Kaibab limestone.  There was a nice crack just wide enough to get through that provided an easy way down.  Then began the steep talus and the tedious hike down about 1700 feet to the Esplanade.  The "flipoff formation" soon came into view, after which this route was named (see photo below). 

Farther down we encountered another cliff-band of Coconino sandstone that stopped us for a while.  Bert and Marcey headed south to look for a way down while I headed north.  I soon found a break but had to wait 30 minutes or so for Bert and Marcey to return (they found nothing).  Some of us lowered packs with a rope, but an easier way down was found a little farther north.

Morning Scramble to Pack-Up. At Rim Takeoff. Flipoff Canyon and Esplanade.


Squeezing Thru Crack in Kaibab Limestone. Hiking Down Talus Towards Esplanade. Break in Coconino Sandstone.


It was already by the time we got to the Esplanade.  We stopped in the shade for lunch and found some rock art nearby, as well as some full potholes.  After lunch we started down started down Flipoff Canyon through the Supai towards Kanab Creek.  Water was flowing nearly the entire way.  A little over half way down we came to a beautiful Cottonwood grove, and probably a fairly reliable spring area during normal years.  The entire canyon was gorgeous.  I have a special love for well-watered Supai canyons.


Flipoff "Formation". Lunch Break on the Esplanade. Ben Starting Down Flipoff Canyon.


Rock Art. Flipoff Canyon. Flipoff Canyon.


When we reached Kanab Creek (dry), Susan was complaining about an extremely sore knee.  Apparently she was having some trouble from the start, but it continued to worsen the farther we went.  She could neither straighten nor extend her knee completely.  Ben, who is a doctor, thought it was something unusual -- not an ACL or meniscus tear.  But it was debilitating.  We decided to stop and camp at the first opportunity.  We found a very nice pothole on creek-left a little over half a mile from Flipoff.  It was out of sight in a cleft in the canyon wall.  I believe it is shown on the 7.5-minute quad map.

That evening we talked about what we should do.  If Susan were unable to hike the next morning, we would leave her there, with food, etc., and meet her on our way out in four days.  We had originally wanted to exit via Chamberlain Canyon, but because the route description was a little sketchy, we decided to exit via Flipoff (better the devil you know ...). 


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