Thunder River trip of 9/3-6/87

Key for all trip logs
Participants: Allen Adler, Greg Benson, Rich Benson, Tom Chester, Linda Fullmer, Gene Kopan.

We camped out at the Monument Point Trailhead on Wednesday, September 2 after it had been raining a lot of the day. Fortunately, the rain stopped before we camped, but it was pretty windy. The gravel road to here from the main North Rim road was beautiful. From the junction of 67 and 422, it took 32 miles and 61 minutes to get to Monument Point using my 1983 Honda Civic Station Wagon. Details:

Mileage and Time from junction of 67 and 422 to Monument Point
00:00Junction 67 and 422
190:32Junction 422 and 425
280:50Junction 425 and 232
290:52Junction 425 and 292
321:01Monument Point (Millet)

Gene and Linda went first, and we didn't see them again until the next day! The rest of us went part way down while waiting for Allen Adler to show up. This accounts for the first trip partway then back to rim. We had camped out on rim while Allen had stayed in St. George on the way to the GC.

After starting with Allen, we unfortunately tried to take the old ridge trail, but after encountering a very difficult descent, realized the error of our ways and went back. We hiked down one major barrier, but the next major barrier posed a "10% risk of death" according to Rich and Allen! We decided to drive to the Indian Hollow Trail head, and hoped that the trail would be clearer from there. The Bensons went ahead to the car at one point while Allen was adjusting his pack. After getting back to the trail junction that I thought was the junction of the Indian Hollow and Monument Point Trails, I decided to continue west to explore that direction. Very quickly it was clear that this was the correct trail. Unfortunately, by then the Bensons were at the car, so Allen and I dropped our packs there and hiked back up to the car to get the Bensons and more water.

We ended up camping at the Esplanade when we ran out of daylight, after hiking 14-16 miles that day.

On Friday, we hiked down to Upper Tapeats Campground. I was wiped out when I got there so rested from 1-3 pm. Then walked along the west river trail as far as I could in the time remaining. It rained about 4:30 am on Saturday morning just enough so that Allen and I threw our stuff under a ledge, at which point the rain stopped.

On Saturday, crossed Tapeats Creek twice and made it to the Colorado River. The Trail was somewhat scary at the end - the entire 400' drop occurred at the end of the trail at the river. Before then, the trail was at the top of the intrusive diabase sill, and one misstep and that's it for hiking in the GC. I walked along the river for a while.

We were ready to hike out at about 3 pm after a big lunch, but it rained quite hard and delayed our start. In Surprise Valley, we consciously decided to hike to Dear Creek valley edge and do some moonlight hiking. Hike up to Esplanade was tough. Gene and Linda went beyond the site of our previous camp, so spent some time finding another. Greg was really wiped by that day!

Had an easy hike out on Sunday. Drove to Thunder River Trailhead to check it out. It has a beautiful view of Mt. Sinyala from there.

Recording numberMileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
00.008:42 7100 
1 0.55 8:53 8:53 7100 Millet
20.758:58 7100Stop - returned to car to wait for Allen
32.309:44 7100Back to #2 with Allen
42.509:5010:047100Monument Point
5 2.90 10:15 10:24 6850 
6 3.35 10:39   6650 Error? Went west to Mon. Point!
73.5010:44 6750Jct E and W Bill Hall Trail
83.8510:5511:356600Stuck! How to get down? Cairn leads to drop off. Finally went straight down ridge (turned out to be error)
94.5011:4512:376400Middle of rock slide - another tough place Decision point: turn back!
10 5.20    6650 Up first bad part
115.35  6700=7, continue on West Trail
12 5.70    6700 Continue on west trail
13 5.95    6700 Continue on west trail
146.35  6700This is it! I explored on ahead and came back, in order to verify this is the trail. Left pack here and got Bensons and more water at car
15 7.00     = 7 (Trail Junction)
16 7.45     Monument Point
178.502:402:52 Car! Starting hike over now!
189.503:10  Mon. Point
1910.253:31  = 7 (Trail Jct E and W)
2010.903:50  = 14 Back at packs.
2111.654:32 6250Bottom of rock slide
22 12.00 5:04   6100 Moleskin stop for Greg
2312.505:175:255800Jct little drainage
24 13.00 5:37   5650 
25 13.70 5:54 6:12 5600 
26 14.70 6:37   5500 
27 15:05 6:59   5600 
2815.957:18 5450Camp on Esplanade just before tipoff


Recording numberMileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
00.008:00 5300Start again with 4 of us.
12.509:049:264000redwall descent
23.509:43 3600jct deer creek falls
34.5010:0710:353900summit - edge Surprise Valley
45.5010:5911:453400Thunder River spring
56.7012:0412:172900Shade, rest feet, wait for Bensons
67.5012:33 2550Camp
rested 2-3 hours, then walked around for 3 miles.


Day hike to Colorado River in am.
Recording numberMileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
1   10:10 10:20   Tapeats Rapids. Two river crossings so far - not bad. Trail had 1 4' drop. Pretty scary on ledge on top of diabase sill near river. Elevation drop is all at end of trail.
2   10:40    West along river - got past diabase column in river by trail behind it.
3   11:00 11:10   Tapeats Rapids
4   12:30    Back at camp
Started hike out in pm.
Recording numberMileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
0 0.00 3:55   2550 Start Hike out
1 0.50 4:10   3000 Thunder River stop
2 1.05 4:30 ~4:35 3400 Check out geology
31.204:455:053500Thunder River spring - fill up with water. Carrying up 3 l water - 1 l cached on Esplanade. There were rain pockets on Esplanade.
52.855:53 3800Deer Creek junction
64.756:32 3800To Deer Creek edge and back, so that we could hike in moonlight later!
8 5.70 7:14   4650 
9 5.95 7:33   4750 
10 6.20 7:51   4950 
11 6.50 8:14   5150 
126.758:369:015300Camp from 2 nights ago. Look for gene and linda, get cached water.
137.259:16 5450Found gene and linda


Recording numberMileageTime arrived Time LeftAltitudeComments
00.008:13 5350 
12.258:55 5400Jct Thunder River - Bill Hall Trail
2 2.70 9:10 9:18 5700 
3 3.00 9:33 9:41 6100 
4 3.25 9:57 10:05 6450 
53.3510:10 6650Met rest of group who started at 7:40.
63.9010:34 6750Jct the false ridge trail. Put some rocks there to block it!
7 4.25 11:00 11:37 7150 Bill Hall {Sig.?}
85.3511:56 7100Car!

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This page last updated 6 November 1996.