Hiking in Ice and Snow in the Grand Canyon

On Friday December 11, 2009, I phoned the equipment rentals desk in the Grand Canyon’s South Rim General Store (Canyon Village Marketplace), which is located in the Market Plaza, Grand Canyon Village. Arizona’s north country had a huge snowfall last week, and I was wondering about trail conditions.

The employee at the equipment rental desk said the snow extends down 3300 feet below the South Rim, with ice covering the last few hundred feet (of the 3300 total). He said that the snow can be knee deep in spots on the maintained trails and that he would take poles and crampons on hikes. (He went on to say that the the non-maintained Grandview and Tanner trails require snowshoes: the snow is over seven feet deep in some areas.)

You can buy crampons and Stabilicers at the South Rim General Store (Canyon Village Marketplace), or at Babbitt’s in Flagstaff, or you can rent crampons from the Tempe REI (in the Phoenix area).

UPDATE: Ice and snow derailed the Grand Canyon train, but everyone survived without injury.

JANUARY 2010 UPDATE: A friend told us the Grand Canyon’s South Rim General Store (Canyon Village Marketplace) was sold out of crampons on Dec. 30, 2009. The Grand Canyon had fresh snow on Dec. 30 (and some of the roads were closed that day), but when we hiked the Bright Angel Trail on January 1, 2010, the snow did not reach all the way down to Indian Garden, which is located about halfway to the Colorado River.