The Extreme Rim to River Test

The Extreme Rim to River Test

October 25, 2021 / by Frank Sutton

 

On August 30/31 I went on a “bucket list” hike at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. As an active 61-year-old who works out daily and plays tennis twice a week, I thought that I was up for the challenge. However, I decided to lose weight (7 lbs) and prepare for the strenuous hiking conditions. My training routine consisted of at least one hour of hiking on trails with my new boots and hiking garments starting two months before the hike; in addition to my normal 45 minutes of daily cardio and weights three times a week along with two tennis sessions. We also did a 4-hour hike up Grandfather Mountain in NC two weeks prior to our trip.

 

Only 1% of all visitors to Grand Canyon National Park make the entire hike from RIM to RIVER and back. Elevation changes from 7000 feet at rim of the Grand Canyon to 2500 feet at the Colorado River where Phantom Ranch sits. The temperature can easily change 35 degrees plus from top to bottom. Our hike began at 6am to avoid the heat. It was approximately 65 degrees at the South Kaibab trailhead when we started. When we reached the Colorado River, it was 109 degrees and sunny at 12 noon. Therefore, most of our hike was in a good hiking temperature until the last 2 hours. We stopped at least every hour or so for a short break and hydration. The South Kaibab trail is 8 miles of very steep downward grade with incredible views of the canyon. The big game changer was my trekking poles which added stability given the grade change and significantly reduced the stress on my joints. I had no pain or swelling during or after each of the long two days of hiking. After spending the night in a cabin at Phantom Ranch with our ten-person group, we began the return hike to the top of the South Rim via the Bright Angel trail which is about 10 miles of steep grades with mostly switchbacks. We started at 6am and completed the hike at 2pm. While the hike was challenging, it was full of incredible views and provided an amazing accomplishment with our group of new friends. Our OARS guides, Addie and Lisa, were simply amazing. Their knowledge of the geology and how the GC was formed was astounding. In addition, Addie has four additional college degrees and it was like having a professor teaching us about wildlife, hiking, history along the way. She is a special person who only wore her Chaco® flip flops during her hike both ways. I estimate that she was going about half of her normal pace with our group! 

 

As the CEO of Lock Laces®, I purchased a pair of Salomon OUTline Mid GTX Hiking boots at REI and installed our camo boot laces in them. My main objective was comfort and consistent compression for my hiking experience. Given the dryness and steepness of the trail, the conditions were slippery and dusty. My Lock Laces stayed in the same position and added to my stability and confidence throughout the hike. They were not impacted by water in streams, mud, or the change in temperature. They made it easy to slip the boots on and off at the beginning and end of each day. After two days of hiking in the canyon, it is clear to me that our $9.99 boot laces are a utility not to be overlooked.



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