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colorado_rob
12-23-2016, 13:28
Though I've hiked into and across the GC dozens (literally) of times, this upcoming trip (new year's day start) will be the first time we've been in the canyon for four days and not had access to either a water tap or clear spring/stream water. Basically, we'll be hiking along the CO river for a few days.

From beta I have on the trails we're doing, we'll be using the CO river for our main water source nearly the entire way (except hike down). The CO river is generally not too clear (it has been called "too thick to drink, too thin to plow").

Any first hand tips on filtering this water? First thought, is to gather a couple gallons in a water sack, let it settle out, filter off the top from there, using a large-ish filter (like the good old Katadin hiker).

Any tips? Thanks in advance.

PennyPincher
12-23-2016, 13:35
following this thread

Hosh
12-23-2016, 13:58
bring some empty milk jugs, add alum to the silty water. It will clear up enough to filter.

Hosh
12-23-2016, 13:59
here you go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9BY69KnzoU

colorado_rob
12-23-2016, 14:16
here you go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9BY69KnzoUPerfect, thanks Hosh! Looks great.

Hosh
12-23-2016, 14:38
I always carry a small vial when backpacking in the desert. It just takes a thunderstorm to muck everything up

Henry8
12-23-2016, 14:48
I've used a sea to summit folding bucket and let it settle before filtering with a hiker pro. Worked fine for me on a three night trip in the Hermit Rapids area.

I assume you'll be on the Tonto trail most of your trip. What are your entry and exit trails? I've been looking at doing a similar trip.

burger
12-23-2016, 15:15
FYI, northern Arizona has been getting a ton of rain this week. I would expect the river to be even browner and muddier than usual.

StealthHikerBoy
12-23-2016, 15:33
I've hiked in the GC a few times when the Colorado River had to be my water source. For the most part, I found that Aqua Mira or a Sawyer filter worked just fine. What I tended to do was have a couple of Gatorade bottles on me. Grab water from the river and let it sit quietly in the Gatorade bottles for 10-15 minutes. Then, filter or decant off the top after the silt settles.

But, to be honest, I was surprised at how little silt there actually was each time.

Dogwood
12-23-2016, 16:10
I've hiked in the GC a few times when the Colorado River had to be my water source. For the most part, I found that Aqua Mira or a Sawyer filter worked just fine. What I tended to do was have a couple of Gatorade bottles on me. Grab water from the river and let it sit quietly in the Gatorade bottles for 10-15 minutes. Then, filter or decant off the top after the silt settles.

But, to be honest, I was surprised at how little silt there actually was each time.

This has been my experiences as well..not overly silty or when needing to obtain very silty water that decanting as said by Colorado Rob and Stealth Hiker Boy can't solve.

In the spring after melt out or after heavy rains the CR silts up more. But, during those times side canyons leading to the Colorado River like along the Tonto Tr can contain cleaner water.

Dogwood
12-23-2016, 16:14
New Yrs day start you'll likely have ice and snow to melt up high. That same ice and snow will be melting off down lower puddling/pooling up and possibly provide some trickles to obtain H20

Hosh
12-23-2016, 17:54
So much depends on what's happening on the river. I have seen it emerald green and I have seen chocolate brown. So a little alum will make you indifferent to what's happening. It will also greatly accelerate the time for everything to settle.

colorado_rob
12-23-2016, 22:47
So much depends on what's happening on the river. I have seen it emerald green and I have seen chocolate brown. So a little alum will make you indifferent to what's happening. It will also greatly accelerate the time for everything to settle. I think a lot has to do with current outflows from the bottom of Glen Canyon damn? Also, as said, time of year. Again, thanks for the Alum tip! A great addition to our kit.
And good point on the trickles down from the wet rims, DW. We're set for another New Year's GC trek!

saltysack
12-23-2016, 22:48
So much depends on what's happening on the river. I have seen it emerald green and I have seen chocolate brown. So a little alum will make you indifferent to what's happening. It will also greatly accelerate the time for everything to settle.

Great tip! Wonder if would work with brackish water? Would salt settle?


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colorado_rob
12-23-2016, 23:00
Great tip! Wonder if would work with brackish water? Would salt settle?


Sent from my iPhone using TapatalkI'm no chemist, but salt is "in solution" as opposed to suspended particles, like mud. So I don't think so.

CarlZ993
12-23-2016, 23:05
I've had to filter Colorado & Green River water many times. I can say that an alum solution works great. Fill up your large water container, stir the solution in, and wait. Then, you can carefully filter the water then (if possible, have someone hold the intake hose still so it doesn't stir up the silt). Off the top of my head, I don't recall what the exact formula for the alum solution is. One dedicated water bottle held the solution.

One trip in the GC (Tanner Beach), the water was very clear that evening. We had no problem filtering directly out of the river (MSR ceramic filter). The next morning, the water was chocolate brown. Too thick to drink, too thin to plow. Our two ceramic filters would begin to clog after about 1/2 L of water. So, we set up an assembly line: filter 1/2 L water, stop & clean that filter, use the 2nd filter for the remaining 1/2 L of water, and repeat often. Two other groups using different filters (Hiker Pro & Platypus Gravity Filter) clogged up.

If it's not too late, ask Santa for the MSR Guardian filter. I understand that filter would handle the worst type of water & still continue to filter (10% of filtered clean water is constantly back-flushed through the filter).

Odd Man Out
12-24-2016, 00:50
I'm no chemist, but salt is "in solution" as opposed to suspended particles, like mud. So I don't think so.

Yes. You are spot on.

Dogwood
12-24-2016, 01:30
So much depends on what's happening on the river. I have seen it emerald green and I have seen chocolate brown. So a little alum will make you indifferent to what's happening. It will also greatly accelerate the time for everything to settle.

Another thing that accelerates time for everything to settle is obtaining water that has less to flocculate(settle out). :) Water silt is often different if you capture water at back eddy less roiled Colorado River locations. If you're doing 4 days on the Tonto in Jan either direction from BA or S. Kaibab which I assume you are I'll bet you'll have opportunity to gather water not just from CR sources.

Have a great hike.

colorado_rob
12-24-2016, 08:54
Another thing that accelerates time for everything to settle is obtaining water that has less to flocculate(settle out). :) Water silt is often different if you capture water at back eddy less roiled Colorado River locations. If you're doing 4 days on the Tonto in Jan either direction from BA or S. Kaibab which I assume you are I'll bet you'll have opportunity to gather water not just from CR sources.

Have a great hike.Thanks, really looking forward to this one, snagged a last minute permit. Not the Tonto, we're doing the Escalante route along the river, along with the New Hance and Tanner for down/up. Unfinished business for my wife, a trip 15 years ago a member of her party had to turn around her group at a double-diamond move.

And thanks Carl and everyone else!

Merry Christmas!

jimmyjam
12-24-2016, 13:50
You also might want to check out hikearizona.com and do a search on their web site. The people on that site spend a lot of time in the canyon.

colorado_rob
12-24-2016, 14:49
You also might want to check out hikearizona.com and do a search on their web site. The people on that site spend a lot of time in the canyon.Fantastic site, I'm a member, use it all the time, didn't think to ask there, duh! Thanks.

Dogwood
12-24-2016, 16:38
Although I haven't done the Escalate in early Jan I strongly suspect you'll find water and maybe ice in several of the side canyons and drainages. I'd bet ice also on the New Hance since it's shaded in winter. The NPS description of water on the route between New Hance and Tanner shys towards the water locations safe side a wise approach as the route is exposed to high heat and the sun. Tanner is totally exposed to the sun. You're going in Jan though which ehhh....H20 possibly isn't as critical to safety as July or Aug. You very well may encounter some icy patches sometime hidden and sudden on this route in Jan so watch your step and have a safe and enjoyable hike. :)

Dogwood
12-24-2016, 17:34
FWIW, I'd go up the New Hance in early Jan as it's a steep rocky descent near the rim always requiring great care, with snow and ice more so! Don't rush here especially if you chose to descend on the NH in Jan.

colorado_rob
12-24-2016, 18:30
37584
FWIW, I'd go up the New Hance in early Jan as it's a steep rocky descent near the rim always requiring great care, with snow and ice more so! Don't rush here especially if you chose to descend on the NH in Jan.We are doing just that, down the tanner, up new hance. We're bringing microspikes. We've hiked all over the south rim trails this time of year, gorgeous time to be in the grand canyon!

Thanks for all the info/advice.

saltysack
12-24-2016, 21:10
I'm no chemist, but salt is "in solution" as opposed to suspended particles, like mud. So I don't think so.

I didn't see what was in it but was doubtful as surely would have heard of it before down here. Thx...CR


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Dogwood
12-24-2016, 23:04
Give care to the steep narrow tread as you drop off Lipan Pt onto the Tanner. There's a set of steep narrow switch backs almost right way that are stacked atop one another. With heavy "dry" fluffy snow the tread may not be readily apparent. It's in these places in these conditions you may want to stay to the inside of the tread to avoid stepping out into snow covered nothing taking a steep unexpected uncontrolled glissade. Might want to use your trekking pole or staff to probe for single track to know you're within it. Right after other's more steep trail that could hold snow and precariously ice hiding underneath. The microspikes may not be used but nice to have them as a safety measure in early Jan for near the rim.

I applaud you for getting out in Jan taking on a "more mindful" GC NP 4 day hike. Ahh, great winter sunsets and on clear winter nights the sky at GC NP is magnifico. Take some pics and share with the troops. I'm so envious. You'll have your choice of CS's. Winter Holidays for one prepared as it seems you are you'll have a blast.

swjohnsey
12-25-2016, 18:07
I paddled down the Mississippi in a kayak for about 3 months. Drank river water the whole time. I filtered my water through an old sock I found then treated it with bleach. No problems. I have noticed that my fingers and toes a now slightly webbed and folks have commented that I seem to glow.

-Rush-
12-26-2016, 01:20
37584We are doing just that, down the tanner, up new hance. We're bringing microspikes. We've hiked all over the south rim trails this time of year, gorgeous time to be in the grand canyon!

Thanks for all the info/advice.

I am jealous.

burger
12-26-2016, 23:21
Just an FYI: we were in the Canyon 3 weeks ago and again this weekend. Three weeks ago, the river was running blue-green. This weekend, as I expected, it was a milk-chocolate brown. There's a lot of sediment in that water now.

Enjoy the trip. That route is on our list for someday in the not-too-distant future, hopefully.

Hosh
12-27-2016, 13:27
The microspikes may not be used but nice to have them as a safety measure in early Jan for near the rim.

Whether in the GC or anywhere in northern AZ or Utah, I would definitely carry micro spikes in the winter. One slip and you could be starring up at the bottom of a helicopter or worse.

Wyoming
12-29-2016, 00:00
CR

From my experience in the Canyon and around the AZ cow ponds (which often make the Colorado River seem like an artesian well) you are far - FAR - better off with a Sawyer than a pump with a ceramic filter. I have never needed to use anything but the Sawyer in the Canyon even if the water was in the muddy stage. In side by side tests on the really thick muddy water we have found the Sawyer will have an output about 3 times what a MSR pump gets. Note the less dirty the water the less advantage the Sawyer has. For cleaning the Sawyer (you likely already know this) throw out the syringe they sell you to backflush and carry a couple of the 700ml Smartwater bottles sold at every grocery store and 7-11. The flip top squirter on them is 'exactly' the right size to fit over the nozzle on the Sawyer to backflush. Squeeze the bottle hard and you flush the filter in about 5 seconds. And you are carrying nothing extra since they are your water bottles - and really light ones too. I only carry Smartwater bottles and the Sawyer bags (2-3 depending on the trip as they do break eventually) for carrying water as that is the lightest solution I have come up with.

btw I am doing a New Hance to the Tonto to the South Bass trip in March (about 110 mi with an up and down at the Bright Angel to resupply)

colorado_rob
12-29-2016, 00:44
Thanks WY, got the sawyer all packed, leaving Friday morning. Thanks all!

Dogwood
12-29-2016, 11:58
...btw I am doing a New Hance to the Tonto to the South Bass trip in March (about 110 mi with an up and down at the Bright Angel to resupply)

S. Bass, the S. bass to the Colorado River to the beach, and Bass Canyon is an interesting away from the corridor trail hoards area is another approach similarly based off of what Colorado Rob is doing. It's at the end of of your trip but you might schedule in a day day hiking the area before ascending S. bass in the area to check out Elves Chasm, a scramble along the river to Shinumo Creek, checking out the Ross Wheeler, and where there was a cabled river crossing to the N. Bass. You can still hike from rim to rim if you hail a raft to ferry you across here. This is what one thru-hiking the Hayduke Trail has to do as well as getting across the Colorado River near the end of Nankoweep Tr and Little CR. Doing this segment of the Hayduke Tr from the Nanakweep TH to the Escalante tr to the Tonto Tr to S.bass is a GREAT hike AND even though lengthier can still be accomplished for one one doing 12-15 MPD avg with only one resupply. You do know you can have a resupply box left for you at Phantom Ranch via mule rather than ascending to the S Rim to do it?

Wyoming
12-29-2016, 23:46
Dogwood

Yeah that sounds like a good hike. The Hayduke is on my list as a possible for 2018. Part of the reason we are going up to the South Rim for a resupply is that I am hiking with my sister and a shower, pizza and beer are called for as this will be her longest hike by about 50 miles - I don't want to risk getting thrown off the bridge into the river.

Dogwood
12-30-2016, 00:18
I hear ya. My sis went camping and had to have a rotating pedestal fan and 300 ft extension cord to plug into an outlet. She was still bitchin....about all the stuff campers HAD TO HAVE. :)

Where's your resupply? S Rim Grocery Store/Market Plaza at Canyon Village has a large hiker friendly food selection not at extravagant over the top prices. Pizza is available here too. Bus takes ya there. If you ask kindly and throw the Desk Clerk, or better yet bellhop, $5-10 at Bright Angel Lodge they may hold a neat compact resupply bag or box.

Wyoming
01-01-2017, 14:42
Oh we will resupply at the S. Rim grocery store - it is expensive for a grocery store (I think I spent $80 on a six day south bound resupply there on my AZT hike) but we have plenty of funds. When one comes up the Bright Angel it is only a few mins walk to the pizza beer joint so we will go there first and then take the bus to the thru hiker camp/showers/laundry which is only a few mins walk from the grocery store. There are two more restaurants across the parking lot from the store also. Easy money.

Venchka
01-01-2017, 16:59
I'm ignorant. This is an honest question:
Why don't y'all run the river water through a Mr. Coffee/Melitta paper filter into a water bottle and then through a hiker type filter? I've seen this technique in print. Did it not get translated to the interweb?
25 words or less Dogwood. [emoji1][emoji41][emoji106]
Wayne


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Wyoming
01-01-2017, 17:48
venchka

Yes that works and I have done it. I always carry a couple of coffee filters in my kit just in case. But doing that does add time and a step and unless you have a lot of time to set up a gravity process I don't personally find it necessary. With the Sawyer (and the Smartwater bottle backflushing technique) I am satisfied that this is the fastest throughput during the day when you want to get back to hiking and not spend all of your time filtering.

btw the worst water I have seen in AZ required about 15 mins per liter to filter due to the mud and cow poop in it. Skanky but I did not get sick either.

Dogwood
01-01-2017, 18:00
When the CR is really muddy like Wyoming said it can take considerable time and a number of muddy filters(that now need to be hauled out, etc) to filter water. I just as well would rather capture water that's less muddy to start and let silt settle out. Decanter off the top. To each his own though. :)

Venchka
01-01-2017, 22:02
Fair enough.
Any of Y'all ever seen movies of the Colorado before the cursed dam?
What you're filtering today would have been drinking water back in the Dark Ages. Lava Falls earned it's name by resembling the real thing.
Wayne


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colorado_rob
01-07-2017, 12:15
A brief Trip Report: Well, we got to the backcountry office, and for once, we talked to an extremely informative ranger, and she was an avid hiker, you could instantly tell. We even chatted about UL gear. She had JUST come back from her own 2-day trip down the Tanner to the river, and basically she talked us out of our original plan (tanner down to escalante route, up the new hance). She said the CO river was as silty as it ever gets, and basically no method works well for getting relatively clear drinking water. She used a combo of pre-filtering with coffee filters, letting settle, then filtering with a Sawyer, and basically it took "an hour a liter" total, including frequent backflushing, and it was a real hassle. She said another couple near her abandoned their trip because of water filtering difficulties. We discussed the Alum thing, and she uses it, but when conditions are as bad as it gets, the Alum only gets rid of some of the sediment, even left to settle overnight. She mentioned the various sizes of the particulates, Alum settles out certain sizes, but not the smaller particles, which tend to never settle, nor do coffee filters strain them out.

By the way, she claimed the siltiness of the CO river is almost entirely dictated by the condition of the little Colorado river conditions and the recent history of rain/runoff, which in this case was as bad as it gets. We got prematurely excited on the drive down from Denver, as we camped along the CO river in Utah, and it had that nice crystal green look (see first attached pic, not a great river pic, but you can see it is fairly clear). The little Colorado in AZ was dirty chocolate milk.

See second attached pic for what the CO river looked like from maybe 1000' above it on the Tonto trail. Orange-flavored chocolate milk.

So, on her recommendation, we switched gears to the Hermit trail down to the Tonto, over to the Boucher (pronounced "boo-shay"), then up the Boucher. I was 100% fine with this, my wife was a tad disappointed because she had just done this very thing last April (solo, OMG, really, SOLO???? And a WOMAN! ). We had a fantastic time, rained a lot at night, but only briefly during the day. We barely saw the sun (once, actually, see attached rainbow pic), but it was warm and this combo of trail is a nice 2-night hike. Except for near the start of the hermit trail, and one other couple at the hermit creek CG, we owned this part of the Grand Canyon for 3 days.

We decided to make this a Ney Year's tradition, having made a similar trip two years ago. The drive home sure sucked... took 4 hours from Vail to Denver (normally less than 90 minutes), we're getting socked with snow. Most of CO is at around 130-150% of normal snow pack. Great news actually.

Hosh
01-07-2017, 12:34
Nice trip report, I love the Grand Canyon, need to do a winter trip.

Good snow year indeed, knee deep at Mary Jane on Tuesday

Wyoming
01-09-2017, 20:02
Hey CR

Thanks for that info. This has been the rainiest year since I have lived in AZ and will now plan on taking more coffee filters than I had planned. Though our route will not be taking any water from the C River as we are remaining on the Tonto the whole time except for going up and down from the rim. The mud around AZ right now if amazing.