April Fools: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

In Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   13 Comments

By Michael Lanza

At 5:30 in the morning in early April, the bone-chilling wind cascading off the Grand Canyon’s South Rim at 7,200 feet slices through my few thin layers of clothing. Four of us are following our headlamp beams in the dark down the South Kaibab Trail. We’re just minutes into a day that will also end by headlamp light late tonight—but only after we’ve hiked farther than any of us has ever ambulated in a single day.

That’s assuming we make it. We feel sufficiently uncertain of that outcome that we’re all carrying paper-thin, four-ounce bivy sacks, just in case we have to lie down on the ground somewhere to pass out for a few hours.

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13 Responses to April Fools: Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim

  1. DG   |  March 29, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Great write up. That said, I’m not sure about your Whitney comparison, suggesting r2r2r is “the equivalent of climbing Whitney twice in one day.” The altitude of Whitney makes the comparison suspect. I’ve done Whitney in a day and day hiked the GC in a day (several times). At 14K+, the altitude alone makes Whitney is way more of a butt-kicker.

    • MichaelALanza   |  April 4, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      Hi DG, yes, I agree about Whitney’s elevation, certainly. I tried to acknowledge that difference in my story, sorry if I seemed to be comparing the two directly without some caveats. But I can say that, having dayhiked 44.5 miles on the r2r2r and climbing Whitney via The Mountaineers Route, the r2r2r was much, much harder.

  2. Chrissy   |  February 13, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Great story! I just got approved for a 4 day R2R2R hike in June of this year – hot, I know. Do you have any training tips or a training regimen you followed for the months leading up to the hike? We currently live in Utah and are used to the dry climate and heat, drinking plenty of water, etc. We plan to do multiple 10+ mile hikes around Zion and the surrounding areas with our packs heavy this spring. But any stairclimbing/lunges/squat exercises that you increased to prepare for the elevation changes?

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  6. Chris Keune   |  August 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks Michael for the excellent information. We have done R2R the past 10 years. This year we did R2R2R over two days. So it would only seem natural to do the ultimate R2R2R in one day. Thanks again for providing the detailed, well organized information.

    Chris (Fellow Grand Canyon Hiker)

  7. Dagmara   |  June 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Michael, hats off to you and your partners. What you’ve done is crazily wonderful and I love the adrenalin rush from this. R2R in one day is already a jaw opener, but R2R2R gets the tempo-mandibular joint right out of the socket! I fell in love with the Grand Canyon 2 years ago when I did the R2R over a span of 3.5 beautiful days. There was no rush, just pure joy of getting as much time in the canyon as we could. Now I’m ready for more and new challenges. I’m planning my second trip and searching for trails I may like and be able to do in one day possibly (nothing even close to what you’ve done). I stumbled on your website and enjoyed reading about your adventure. Thank You. I hope that when I’m in my 40’s and 50’s I only get stronger and more enthusiastic to undertake such amazing trips. Cheers! Dagmara

    • michaellanza   |  June 16, 2014 at 6:25 am

      Thanks Dagmara. You’ll find more ideas for hikes by searching on “Grand Canyon” at The Big Outside. Get in touch anytime.

  8. Paul Chapman   |  June 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Great write up. You’re open and honest so as to not encourage ‘weekend warriors’.

    • michaellanza   |  June 16, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Thanks, Paul. Yes, I don’t want to encourage people who aren’t ready for such an ambitious hike.

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