Grand Canyon Challenge – Cheat Sheet
We’re excited to kick-off our 2023 Grand Canyon Challenge treks with you! This spring we’ll be organizing multiple outings running from mid-March through mid-May. On this page you’ll find important information about logistics, gear prep, meals, and your team.
Please read the following in detail!
Pack-check and orientation Your pack-check and orientation will take place at Little America Hotel in Flagstaff the evening prior to departure. Please meet us in the hotel main lobby at 6:00pm (seating area near fireplace). Bring your backpack or a duffel bag with all clothing and gear you plan on taking on the trek. Any major gear you requested (backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, pads) will distributed at that time. At the pack-check we’ll work with you to lighten up your pack and make final adjustments.
Gear checklist: Below is a link to our official TSX Gear Checklist. Please start thinking about gathering your gear and getting prepared. Watch our gear checklist video for tips and packing guidance. Remember, keep it simple! Every ounce counts. Packs should weigh between 15-20 lbs when loaded with personal gear. You should have capacity to accommodate about 5-10 lbs of food and miscellaneous group gear, and capacity for at least 3 liters of water.
Additional gear advice: If you have additional questions or are conflicted on what to bring, please contact us to schedule a one-on-one phone call or join one of our online classes and events where we talk gear, training, and more to help you prepare.
Luggage storage: Extra luggage can be stored with the front desk at the Little America Hotel.
Weather: Temperature can vary widely. However, if you follow our gear checklist, you’ll be well prepared. While we can’t predict the weather this far out, here is what a typical spring forecast might look like:
- Grand Canyon Village (South Rim): High: 50s to Low-60s. Low: High-20s
- Phantom Ranch (Colorado River): High: High 70s to Low-90s. Low: Mid-40s.
Why two weather reports? The weather at the top will be different than the bottom due to the significant elevation change. Most of our time will be spent closer to the river. If you would like to track the weather on your own, consider doing two searches, one for Grand Canyon Village and one for Phantom Ranch. Average them together and you will have a rough idea of what to expect.
We will review weather again at the pack-check, and may decide that evening to leave cold weather gear behind if the outlook is favorable.
On the Trail
Day of trek: We’ll reconvene outside the lobby of the Little America Hotel around 5:00am for the 1.5-2 hour ride to our trailhead in Grand Canyon National Park. We’ll make a quick stop for coffee on the drive in. Once at the trailhead a light breakfast will be available. After a final gear check, we’ll begin our descent into the canyon.
Group food: At the trailhead we’ll distribute group food and a personalized snack bag (energy bars, trail mix, dried fruit etc.). The snack bag is yours to keep, ration and trade while on the trip. If you also want to bring a few of your favorite snacks from home that is welcome, however, don’t go overboard! All together, we plan for 2-3 snacks per day. We’ll have coffee, tea and hot drinks available each morning and most evenings.
Back-country meals: Your guides will be responsible for preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cooking is a great social activity, and your participation, help and curiosity are always welcome.
Front country meals: Meals are not provided while in the front country, including while in transit.
Exiting the trail: The final day will be 100% uphill. Expect to travel about one mile an hour. Upon exit we’ll head back to Flagstaff for a celebratory lunch as a group, and then return to the Little America Hotel for final good-byes. If you are flying home that evening and would like to freshen up before your flight, hiker showers are available at the travel center attached to the Little America Hotel property. If flying out of Flagstaff on the same day, we suggest scheduling flights for departure no earlier than 4:30pm (or 9pm if travelling from the North Rim). The hotel courtesy shuttle provides regular service to the airport if needed.
We’re in this as a Team
Staying in touch: Cell phones are great for pictures, however, there is zero reception for 99% of the trip! If you’d like to keep family and friends abreast of your progress, please have them join us on Facebook or Instagram where we will be posting periodic updates to our stories in each platform.
Team effort: Every TSX outing is a team effort. Throughout the trail we’ll need everyone’s eyes, ears, and voices working together and looking out for one another. Voices of encouragement are important! The Grand Canyon Challenge can be a tough but incredibly rewarding experience. We’re here to help when you need it, and appreciate your positive encouragement and support for others as you’re able to give, and when they need it as well.
Final thoughts: We hope you can join in supporting each other throughout our spring adventures. We have incredibly diverse groups – different ages, backgrounds, states and countries, and shapes and sizes joining us – but a common goal. If you use social media, please follow us, and join in sharing your experience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. As you train, prepare, trek and reflect, tag your posts with #tsxchallenge. Like and support other teams and their posts as well… we’re in this together!
Thank you for deciding to spend a week of your spring with us! We look forward to sharing an experience that can provide inspiration for a lifetime.