March 21, 2017

Marble Canyon overlooking Soap Creek Canyon. Grand Canyon National park, Arizona

The Grand Canyon might be one of the best examples of a geological time capsule where the water erodes away a relieving past, not only for the exposure to the origin of this region, but a beautiful display of color and personality that demands respect and prestige when visiting the unforgiving lands.  After the water leaves Lake Powell, the Colorado river pushes through the sandstone walls through Waterholes and Lee's Ferry and breaks through into a Plateau, where the canyon takes on a different name until passing the Little Colorado river.

Globe Mallows on the rim of Marble Canyon.  Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
Marble Canyon is the upper tributary for where the vast majority of water comes from.  Marble canyon has some beautiful vista overlooks that appear to not be well traveled which made for some great camping as we had the vista overlook to ourselves.  We camped at the overlook where Soap Creek drains into the Colorado river. Soap Creek is another non technical canyon that has some short sections of narrows.  There is a self elected technical component to Soap Creek where a group can rap off a few dry falls and visit a few more short sections of narrows before meeting up with the main conduit of Soap Creek.
Laura in Badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
There are also a few more canyons including salt water wash and 12.5 mile canyon which I have understood to be " not worth the visit" but everyone has a preference and yours might be different than mine.  Jackass Canyon is directly across the Colorado river from Badger canyon.  This canyon is a non technical canyon that has a short section of narrows using the south fork.  A lot of people use this area for fishing and camping so you might encounter more people when visiting Jackass Canyon.

 Badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Badger Canyon is known to be a local favorite in the Marble Canyon area so Laura and I packed some ropes and pack rafts and made our way out to the canyon.

Badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
After a super quiet night on the rim of Marble Canyon, we headed to the trailhead of the canyon and started our way down the canyon.  We noticed a lot of clay and mud stones at the top but when we meandered our way down the canyon, the walls started to rise and the sandstone layers appeared.

Laura in Badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
We encountered a dry fall that was easily down climbed by going down canyon right and made our way to the first drop.  This drop was only 20-25ft. but the webbing looked a bit dry with no mallion attached to the webbing.
last drop in badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The webbing should be replaced soon as of mid march 2017. There also needs to be a mallion or a rap ring left for the drop.  The drop itself was straightforward and was followed up with another drop of around 50ft. The second drop was a nice fluted chute with shelved sandstone upon the descent, really nice.

the last drop in badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
After the drop and the pull, we made our way down a couple down climbs and the canyon opened up with a massive corridor and towering walls to our side. This was interesting as it was not narrow but the personality of this canyon is unique to this canyon.
Laura at the last drop in badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Soon after the south fork connected to the main conduit of Badger and the last rap was encountered. This had a interesting lip, and was a free drop, but only for about 30ft. It was bright and the sun was reflecting off of the floor so the photos did not turn out the way we wanted them to.
last drop in badger Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
We could hear the Colorado river when we continued down the passage as we scrambled down a few dry down climbs and breakdown piles. We worked our way down further and the sound of the white noise that the water made when it tumbles over large boulders was more defined. All of a sudden we could see the rapids and the white water where raft companies where forging over the white water of the Colorado river, we made it.

Going down Badger Canyon in the Grand Canyon.
directly across the river, Jackass Canyon had a group of people camping and fishing as a tour company with 5 large yellow rafts packed with people came over the river rapids.  It was a bit busy out there as we ate lunch and doned our pack rafts for the venture down the river.

Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona
We inflated our rafts and made sure that we were secure and ready to tackle a half mile of river before we take out and ascend out of the canyon. The water was a bit cold but the sun was hot and it was a beautiful day to be on the river.  We casted off from a light eddy pool as we hugged the shore line and started floating down the Colorado river. shortly after we started, I recognized more rapids in front of us that appeared to be class II.  After a bit of thought we decided to take out early and just handle rail the shoreline past the rapids.  I think we could have avoided them there was another set of rapids that looked like they were poking through the class III realm so we would have taken out before that point but we made a good decision but taking out and playing it safe.
Jackass Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
After deflating our rafts and ending that segment of the hike, we found our exit, which was a class 3 and 4 scramble over loose scree and boulders to a series of exposed shelves on a cliff.  We worked our way up and over these shelves and found a bolted hanger with webbing that was useful for the hand line climb over the ledge to the top of the wash.
woohoo, we made it.  Now we just had to route find our way a bit back to the car and try to avoid any of the canyon drainage washes along the way. We cut across the plateau passing by some flowers and prickly pear cactus. to a small hill where we could see the car in site.

Badger Canyon
Upon our approach we encountered some arroyos and slopped washes that were not too bad to get around until we got right to the road where there was narrow canyon that had to be climbed down and up before finally placing boots on concrete. That last narrow canyon was a quality check of endurance which made the concrete more enjoyable once we were able to walk back to the Jeep and head back to civilization.  I give this canyon a 3AIII and I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a great down in the marble canyon area with some drops and route finding. 

Vista of Marble Canyon overlooking Soap Creek Canyon. Grand Canyon National park, Arizona

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