GC Phantom Canyon 2008 – Day 5

Synopsis: Explore upper Phantom Canyon (6.8 miles). March 11.

Sara and Kev planned a lazy day of sunbathing and relaxation, while Charles, Reid, Erin, and Chris went up Phantom Canyon to see what they could see.


Slope above Hippie Camp from upstream. South Rim and Cheops Pyramid beyond.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Not too far above camp, we encountered a fairly large burned area. We made a note to pester Ranger Paul when we got back to civiliation.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Upper Phantom Canyon. The “rim” is actually Shiva Temple, which is just as high. One can cross over the saddle to its right to access Crystal Canyon, the next major side drainage.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Charles, Chris, and Erin. I had stayed up on the bench while they took the trail below. Charles is climbing down from the boulder, which he had used as a vantage point to see me.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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I found a deer antler.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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At times, the going was rough; near the stream tended to be brush-choked and up on the bench was un-level and rocky.

Here we are descending back to stream level through a rather impressive patch of prickly pear cactus.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Charles peeing.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Downstream view.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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This is the route up to Shiva Saddle (which can also be accessed from the North Rim). Apparently it is rather “sporting” but reports vary as to actual risk and difficulty. One of the goals of this trip was to scout the route, but sadly we did not have time, being rather tired and low on sunlight on the return from the Phantom terminus.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Hippie Camp, another commonly-used campsite in the Phantom drainage. Supposedly, a group of hippies lived here at one time.

On top of the red sandstone boulder is a small tower of rocks, antlers, and other trinkets.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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At Hippie Camp, the canyon divides, left to “Outlet Canyon” (which is short and has no outlet) and right to the continuation of Phantom Canyon itself.


Starting into the upper Phantom Canyon narrows. We’ve almost reached the Redwall/Muav level, about 500 feet above camp.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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Redwall cliffs in Phantom Canyon.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Negotiating a small waterfall.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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This spectacular chockstone is the first major obstacle in Phantom Canyon. It can be bypassed on the left.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Above the chockstone falls, we entered the Redwall Limestone proper and the canyon narrowed further.

Along this stretch there was a place where occasional drops of water fell from the top of the cliff hundreds of feet above.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Negotiating another fall. This one required some tricky hand- and footwork along the slippery limestone.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Note how the puddle at Chris’s feet is much muddier than the others. This is because she stirred it with her butt.

Charles just barely missed getting a much better photo of Chris actually sliding into the puddle. He was probably snickering at her, which is why she is making a rude gesture in the direction of the camera.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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End of the line: no climbing this waterfall...

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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The foot of the falls seemed a very nice place for some lunch. We had ascended about 1200 feet above camp.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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Packing up to go home.

This was the farthest intrusion of sunlight into the alcove on this day. It lasted about 5 minutes.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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Downclimbing the 2nd fall.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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Shortly before this photo was taken, Chris showed us how not to do it, ending up waist-deep in the pool below. Here, she pours water out of her boots.

Chris hedged her bets by throwing her camera across separately. Also, she had 5 pairs of socks on the trip, so getting one wet was not a big deal.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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Almost back to Hippie Camp. Beyond the large cliffs across the way is Trinity Canyon, where there is a walkup to Shiva Saddle which bypasses the scramble in Phantom Canyon.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Heading down Phantom Canyon. Note the snow-covered Isis Temple on the skyline.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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The seep area halfway between Hippie Camp and Overhang Camp. Perrenial flow begins in this area.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Returning through the burn area. This whole hillside had burned.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Cactus recovering post-burn.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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The apparently destroyed yuccas were coming back too.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Home sweet home! Overhang Camp.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Sara and Kev cooked us some cornbread and beans, our only disappointing meal. Althought they’d soaked the beans all day, the ended up severely undercooked. The result was spectacular gas overnight for everyone.

Please continue reading on Day 6.

E-mail: reid@reidster.net
Copyright © 1999-2013 Reid Priedhorsky and Erin Tatge. Last modified: 2010-01-24 18:56 CST. Disclaimer.