RESCHEDULED DUE TO WEATHER
Explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison on this three-day backpack to the inner canyon wilderness area. So deep that it is difficult for sunlight to penetrate to the bottom, the inner canyon of the Black offers a wealth of activities to those willing to make the journey. Be warned, however: access to the inner canyon is through routes (not trails), which means that backpackers will be faced with steep slopes, unsure footing, difficult route-finding, and Class 3 scrambling. The reward for the effort will be a unique perspective of North America's steepest, deepest, and narrowest canyon.
The Inner Canyon as viewed from the canyon floor
Important: If you RSVP for this trip, use the Meetup message system to e-mail me the information requested below. Once the information is received, I will respond with a confirmation e-mail. If I do not receive this information from you in a reasonable timeframe, I will remove you from the RSVP list to make room for others. As always, please consider carefully whether you can attend before you RSVP.
Requested Information: Name / e-mail address / cell phone # / emergency contact name & number
Here's the plan:
- May 3 @ 10 am: Arrive at the Mammoth parking lot (39°[masked]'N / 105°[masked]'W) at I-70 & Hwy 40 near Golden, CO to arrange carpools. Depart at approx. 10:30 am for the five-hour drive to the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, stopping for lunch on the way.
- May 3 @ 4 pm: Arrive at the North Rim Campground (38°[masked]'N / 107°[masked]'W). Leave the vehicles behind and hike 1.75 difficult miles down S.O.B. Draw (sounds lovely, right?), dropping 1,800 feet in elevation during the process. Hike downstream along the canyon bottom to the beach beneath the Painted Wall and set up camp.
The Beach Beneath the Painted Wall
- May 4: Explore the inner canyon. Opportunities include hiking, world-class rock climbing, Gold Medal fishing, kayaking, and wildlife watching. For myself, I plan on hiring a professional guide to lead a 5.9 rock climb in the area of S.O.B. Draw. If others would also like to participate in guided rock climbing, the cost will be approximately $275 per person when the climber to guide ratio is 2:1; for a ratio of 1:1, the cost is approximately $395 per person. Contact me if you would be interested in this and we will make arrangements offline. Further details on the rock climb route can be found below.
- May 5: Pack up camp and hike S.O.B. Draw back up to the vehicles. Return to civilization.
Waiver and Release:
Please Note: Participants attending this trip must sign the Colorado Backpackers and Campers Meetup Group - Terms of Understanding and Signup Sheet. This can be found on the site under: More - Files - Terms of Understanding and Signup Sheet. Your e-mail to me with the requested information will act as your electronic signature & acknowledgment that you have read and understand the Terms of Understanding and Signup Sheet . If this is not received, I cannot guarantee that you will receive all the trip info including trail head location, time changes, carpooling info, or other final planning information. If no response to this you will be removed.
Make sure you can attend before you RSVP 'Yes' for this trip. Please read the RSVP Policy at the bottom! The RSVP Policy is also located in our "About" section.
- Scenery: 5 - Unbelievable
- Difficulty: Difficult and strenuous - the route to the inner canyon is only 1.75 miles long, but it is very steep and will often require that both hands and knees are on the ground. The National Park Service recommends that only individuals in excellent physical condition attempt this hike
- Solitude: Hoping for a 5 (Not Another Soul)
- Trail Length: 3.5 miles roundtrip; 1.75 miles daily
- Elevation Gain: Max gross elevation gain of 1,800 ft in any one day
The Painted Wall - Photo by Lightvision (Panoramio)
- Topographic maps of the route can be provided upon request.
- Water: The Gunnison River at the canyon bottom will provide a treatable water source.
- Elevation range: 5,800 ft to 7,600 ft.
- Expected temps: Average temperatures in early May on the canyon rim are 40°F as a low, 68°F as a high. Temperatures in the inner canyon are typically 8°F warmer than at the rim.
- Trail: S.O.B. Draw is famous for its abundant poison ivy; long pants and gloves are recommended. The route also has short ledges to climb (8 to 12 ft). At the bottom of the canyon, scrambling over large rocks and potential fording of the river may be required.
- Rock climbing: I plan on climbing the Maiden Voyage, which is a 5.9 multi-pitch traditional climb. The guide outfit I'm using are the Crested Butte Mountain Guides. Further details on the Maiden Voyage are here: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/the-maiden-voyage-aka-the-red-dihedral/105750415
- Dogs: Dogs are not allowed in the inner canyon.
- Permits: A free wilderness use permit will be required. It can be filled out upon arrival.
- Fees: There is a $15/vehicle entrance fee to the park. We can minimize our costs by consolidating into as few vehicles as possible before entering the park.
- Carpooling: Yes...backpackers are invited to carpool from the Mammoth Parking lot in Golden. If more convenient due to your location, you may instead meet us directly at the North Rim Campground.
- Campfires are not allowed in the inner canyon.
- We will follow the PACK-IT-IN PACK-IT-OUT LEAVE NO TRACE and current Wilderness regulations.
- If you don't know what to pack see the SUGGESTED Backpacking List under More - Files on the Meetup site.
- Don't forget your camera!
The Inner Canyon as viewed from the canyon rim
Contact: I will send out planning/reminder/coordination emails to all the 'YES' RSVP participants. These emails will contain my personal contact information so all participants can easily contact me with questions. I will expect a timely response to these so that I know you haven't forgotten, are still going, know what is going on and what is expected of you as a participant. If I don't get your response within a reasonable time frame, you'll be removed from the 'Yes' RSVP slot so others can sign up.