- Drove established but rugged dirt roads, avoiding the closed Havasupai Reservation and private land holdings. A capable vehicle, minimal snow and cold temps made this possible.
- Camped the night before just south of GCNP on Kaibab NF land.
- Began about 30 minutes before first light with ~1" fresh snow and temps in mid teens.
- Uneventful but beautiful descent down South Bass to the Colorado River.
- After several conversations and some hemming and hawing in the days before, we had decided to forgo wetsuits and swim in our skin. The minimal warmth provided by a wetsuit for a ~2 minute swim was exchanged for a down puffy which allowed for quick transitions and efficiency and proved to be a solid strategy.
- Plentiful water sources on North Bass made for easy and quick hydration using filtration.
- North Bass felt long, tedious, slow and challenging. Mike and I worked very well together in navigating the washes and brush and lost little time backtracking or heading off route.
- Cold and overcast with ~4" of fresh snow in the final mile to the north rim which we reached in 5h 30m.
- Our difference in time ascending the 5300' of North Bass versus descending the same 5300' was minimal, a telling sign of just how rugged and difficult this trail is.
- The toll of the previous 34 miles left us both chilled to the bone after the second river crossing and took us a mile or two to settle into a rhythm again for the final climb back to the south rim.
- Finished in headlamps with about 1/2" of snow that we'd seen falling during our descent from the north rim hours earlier.
- My wife Christina and our friend Buck were present and filming at both river crossings and matched pace with us from the river to the south rim, staying a short distance behind us.
- Mike and I kept the spirit of an unsupported effort, finishing with what we began with and accepting no aid or support along the way. Of course the power of seeing loved ones at critical times can't be measured and undoubtedly shifts this effort into the "supported" category.
Mike and Rob! The fact you skinny-dipped your way to this classic overall FKT is mad style points in my book! 😄 🤣 love it! I am sure it (and this wild adventure) is an unforgettable memory for you both too!
Thanks for giving us all a laugh and huge inspiration to end the year!
With stoke and respect,
Yep, very ballsy! ;)