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#49326 - 03/06/17 08:23 PM Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim
Steve Chamberlin Offline


Registered: 06/17/11
Posts: 55
Loc: California
Has anybody here ever hiked or run the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in a day, and can give me a general sense of the difficulty as compared to hiking up and down Whitney in a day?

A friend of mine is trying to convince me to hike (or run) Grand Canyon R2R with him this fall. The distance and elevation change are both similar to Whitney. I hiked Mt. Whitney a couple of years ago, so maybe R2R is of similar difficulty, but I suspect R2R may be worse.

- R2R begins with miles of steep downhill to trash your quads, and puts the hardest climbing at the very end when you're already exhausted
- it can be crazy hot down in the Grand Canyon, even in the fall
- huge temperature swings require carrying lots of clothes
- only a few places to get water
- when you finish, you're a 5.5 hour car trip from where you started

This is not a "which hike is best" contest - I'm just trying to get a sense of what to expect if I agree to do the R2R trip.

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#49327 - 03/06/17 09:06 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
I did a main trail hike on Mt Whitney (my 18th) and I did Grand Canyon R2R2R last year. The Grand Canyon run/hike was longer in miles and hours (17), but Whitney was the harder hike. If you really want a buttkicker of a challenge try Cactus to Clouds to Cactus (no tram). We knocked that out as well.

This year is Telescope Peak from Shorty's Well and a 1/2 marathon in Death Valley. In July.

But yeah, Grand Canyon is super chill compared to Whitney. For me anyway. Your mileage may vary..................DUG

EDIT - I just reread and noticed you're only going one way. Should be even easier.


Edited by DUG (03/06/17 09:08 PM)

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#49328 - 03/06/17 09:45 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: DUG]
Steve Chamberlin Offline


Registered: 06/17/11
Posts: 55
Loc: California
Thanks, that helps. Yes, we'd be doing Grand Canyon one-way R2R, not round-trip R2R2R.

It sounds like you've done some very challenging hikes and runs.

I'm surprised you found R2R2R to be easier than Mt. Whitney. By the numbers, R2R2R looks much harder: 42 miles and 10500 feet of climbing, vs "only" 22 miles and 6100 feet for Whitney. Plus R2R2R puts the hardest part last, when you're already most tired. What do you think made R2R2R feel easier than Whitney? The lower altitude? Better trail surface?

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#49329 - 03/06/17 09:58 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Oxygen. I'm a fan............................DUG

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#49330 - 03/06/17 10:08 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
I did the R2R in May, 2013. It sure seemed easier to me than Whitney. Something about a slow climb out of the heat into cooler air. Those pounding miles at the end of the day on the Main Whitney Trail seem to get to me.

I trained by doing a Four-Mile-Panorama Trail hike in Yosemite 2 weeks before, then a Happy Isles to Clouds Rest + Half Dome and back 1 week before. That mileage and elevation was similar to the R2R, so once I did that, I knew I was good for Grand Canyon.

I left about 4:30 AM, made it to the Colorado by 9 or 10. Toughest part was the hot slog up to Cottonwood Camp from the river. After that, it cooled down and temps were pleasant. Of course that was in May.

Best part was the car swap before the hike, and key-swap at Ribbon Falls. My car was waiting for me at the North Rim. I drove to Mesquite NV that night before stopping for the night.

Here's the TR: Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim day hike


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#49331 - 03/07/17 05:36 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve C]
Golden Ram Offline


Registered: 05/14/15
Posts: 5
Loc: North Carolina
I did R2R in 2015 and I have summitted Mt Whitney twice (2013, 2016). I found R2R orders of magnitude harder than Mt Whitney. The trails are setup more for mules than humans, and it is hard to get an even gait while hiking so I found I expended more energy. The heat affected me more than does the lack of oxygen affects me on Whitney. Of course, this was mid-June and AZ was in an early heat wave, it was around 111 that day.

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#49333 - 03/07/17 10:17 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 528
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Steve Chamberlin
Thanks, that helps. Yes, we'd be doing Grand Canyon one-way R2R, not round-trip R2R2R.

It sounds like you've done some very challenging hikes and runs.

I'm surprised you found R2R2R to be easier than Mt. Whitney. By the numbers, R2R2R looks much harder: 42 miles and 10500 feet of climbing, vs "only" 22 miles and 6100 feet for Whitney. Plus R2R2R puts the hardest part last, when you're already most tired. What do you think made R2R2R feel easier than Whitney? The lower altitude? Better trail surface?


Hi Steve,

Not sure what route your are planning, but the South Kaibab route is 41.2 miles roundtrip, or about 21 miles one way, approximately the same distance as Mt. Whitney MT roundtrip. I've done both, and agree with DUG. Altitude is the difference, although as you point out the R2R does finish "Uphill". Be very sure to take sufficient food. You will need the energy to get out of the canyon (based on my experience).

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#49335 - 03/07/17 10:42 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 330
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Thanks for posting, everybody. R2R has been on my ďmaybe Iíll do that somedayĒ list for years. Maybe Iíll get serious about it now. The heat will definitely affect me more than the altitude on Whitney.

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#49336 - 03/07/17 11:51 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: bobpickering]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Thanks for posting, everybody. R2R has been on my ďmaybe Iíll do that somedayĒ list for years. Maybe Iíll get serious about it now. The heat will definitely affect me more than the altitude on Whitney.


Don't go when it's hot........................DUG

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#49337 - 03/07/17 02:38 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: bobpickering]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Thanks for posting, everybody. R2R has been on my "maybe I'll do that someday" list for years. Maybe Iíll get serious about it now. The heat will definitely affect me more than the altitude on Whitney.


Bob, I think it would be a cake walk for you! The bigger part of the issue, though, is the logistics of getting back to your car. You can pay a shuttle service, but there is the problem of where to spend the night (either before starting, or after the hike.)

North rim options are particularly scarce, South Rim not so bad, if you maybe extend your search to the town of Tusayan, ~five miles from the rim. ...This might work, but I haven't checked things out: Drive to north rim, spend night maybe in the car (could even be outside the GC boundary, but the drive is farther "in" to the trail head.) Hike across, have a room lined up, as close as possible (likely in Tusayan). Next day take a shuttle back to N. rim. I highly recommend doing it in May -- as soon as the N. rim is open to the public. Temps at the bottom are already ~90 at the river in May.

If you line up ideal accommodations, you need to start up to a year in advance.

By the way, for Bob and Steve Ch: I ended up carrying a quart of water through the entire hike without using it -- I was worried about emergencies (and the heat). I saw where I needed to ask (and I did the day before the hike) about the availability of water at the usual water stops, and was told they were all operational. By drinking a pint or more at each stop, I really didn't need to carry the extra several pounds of water. Of course, the temperature wasn't so bad on my hike.

Another BTW: Say, with Steve and his buddy going, and Bob interested, you guys could set up a car and key swap situation. That really does make it easier to plan the trip. I guess the biggest issue is that one party might bail on the trip.

If you have long-term plans, and can set it up, this is another possibility: Set up lodging overnight at either end, hike across one day, spend the night, then hike back the next. I talked with a woman at Phantom Ranch who was doing that.


Edited by Steve C (03/07/17 02:47 PM)

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#49339 - 03/07/17 08:46 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 419
Loc: Reno, NV
I backpacked R2R north to south coming up the Bright Angel Trail. There is some parking right at the Bright Angel trail head. This could be a factor in planning. Us old folks camped two nights, first night at Cottonwood second at Indian Garden. Easy peasy. We luckily had a friend who helped with the logistics. We stayed before the hike in Tusayan at the Red Feather Lodge, left a car at the Bright Angel trail head, drove to the North Rim, and hiked down to Cottonwood to camp the first night.(We were on the trail around 1pm) Our friend hike down with us and camped the first night, hiked back up the North Kaibab Trail, camped at the North Rim, then drove to the South Rim to meet us (he and one in our party then went up to Great Basin Park)

I tried unsuccessfully to get camping permits twice. After some input from a ranger I was successful the third time. There are only 10 campsites at Cottonwood so they are always booked. We went the first week in October and the weather was very comfortable - mid 50's at campsites at night, around 85 mid day at Phantom Ranch.

The Bright Angel Trail is very popular and has two rest area/water stops between Indian Garden and the South Rim. Very conveniently spaced. Lots of tourists come down the trail a ways then head back up.

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#49350 - 03/09/17 05:53 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: RenoFrank]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 586
Loc: Manchester, NH
I've not done a R2R, but have done the loop down N. Kaibab & up Bright Angel three times as a dayhike. I've done Mt. Whitney as a dayhike about 15 times. Of the two, the above GC loop is easier. Not easy - easier. And, for context - I'm not a superhiker, nor marathoner. Will turn 70 this year, and enjoy hiking.

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#49454 - 03/24/17 10:58 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
cantare Offline


Registered: 04/07/14
Posts: 13
Loc: California
Discounting the potential for extreme heat in the GC, I'd say Whitney's tougher than R2R. Same elevation gain, but you're 6000' higher and the trail is significantly rougher. Now if you make it R2R2R in a day, that's definitely harder!

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#49466 - 03/26/17 04:52 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: cantare]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: cantare
Discounting the potential for extreme heat in the GC, I'd say Whitney's tougher than R2R. Same elevation gain, but you're 6000' higher and the trail is significantly rougher. Now if you make it R2R2R in a day, that's definitely harder!


We did R2R2R in a day. Still think Whitney is harder...............................................DUG

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#49476 - 03/27/17 11:13 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: DUG]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 330
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Originally Posted By: DUG
Originally Posted By: cantare
Discounting the potential for extreme heat in the GC, I'd say Whitney's tougher than R2R. Same elevation gain, but you're 6000' higher and the trail is significantly rougher. Now if you make it R2R2R in a day, that's definitely harder!


We did R2R2R in a day. Still think Whitney is harder...............................................DUG

I havenít done R2R, let alone R2R2R, but Iím pretty sure R2R2R is harder than Whitney. I HAVE done a Whitney double. THAT might be harder than R2R2R. Or maybe not. It depends on whether you like hot weather better than thin air.

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#49480 - 03/27/17 07:27 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: bobpickering]
over1812 Offline


Registered: 07/24/16
Posts: 40
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
What's a Whitney Double??

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#49481 - 03/27/17 08:35 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: over1812]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
Whitney summit from Whitney Portal, twice in one day.

One guy has done a Whitney triple. He used the North Fork route.

Whitney Triple: mission accomplished

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#49482 - 03/27/17 09:12 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: bobpickering]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Originally Posted By: DUG
Originally Posted By: cantare
Discounting the potential for extreme heat in the GC, I'd say Whitney's tougher than R2R. Same elevation gain, but you're 6000' higher and the trail is significantly rougher. Now if you make it R2R2R in a day, that's definitely harder!


We did R2R2R in a day. Still think Whitney is harder...............................................DUG

I havenít done R2R, let alone R2R2R, but Iím pretty sure R2R2R is harder than Whitney. I HAVE done a Whitney double. THAT might be harder than R2R2R. Or maybe not. It depends on whether you like hot weather better than thin air.


It wasn't hot when I did R2R2R. Either time. R2R2R is a lot easier to run, with better trail than Whitney. Less need to carry much water, allowing for even lighter loads. I've actually done both and feel that Whitney is more difficult. When you try R2R2R, don't go when it's hot. Simple......................................DUG

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#49549 - 04/04/17 09:33 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: DUG]
DayHiker Offline


Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Right now, the North Kaibab trail is closed for repair at the Redwall Bridge due to a rock slide and the trail from Pipe Creek to the silver bridge is also closed for repair.

http://stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/201...s/#.WORyCjvyuM8

My husband and I have done the R2R2R many times, starting from the south rim, but we stay overnight at the north rim before hiking back to the south rim. We think the Mt. Whitney day hike to the summit and back down is harder because of the altitude.

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#49558 - 04/10/17 10:04 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: DayHiker]
BFR Offline


Registered: 04/07/16
Posts: 80
Loc: Santa Monica, CA
Reading this post made me wonder - would be a real challenge to hike Whitney AND do R2R in the same day. (Would also mention that in the summer, Arizona is on the same time as California). Looks like the distance betweeen Whitney Portal and the Grand Canyon is 490 miles for the North Rim and 520 miles for the South Rim. Seems like this drive could be completed in ~7.5 hours (per Google maps). Super fast hiking times for Whitney Portal and R2R are both around ~8 hours.

So conceivably, a day could look like this:

12am-8am: Whitney Hike
8am-3:30pm: Whitney to GC North Rim
3:30pm-12am: R2R

Would be a fun challenge - wonder if it's ever been attempted.
_________________________
Strava, IG

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#49563 - 04/10/17 09:30 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: BFR]
DUG Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 367
Loc: Wildomar
If you're going to go all out, charter a plane................................DUG

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#49567 - 04/11/17 01:30 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: BFR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: BFR
Reading this post made me wonder - would be a real challenge to hike Whitney AND do R2R in the same day. (Would also mention that in the summer, Arizona is on the same time as California). Looks like the distance betweeen Whitney Portal and the Grand Canyon is 490 miles for the North Rim and 520 miles for the South Rim. Seems like this drive could be completed in ~7.5 hours (per Google maps). Super fast hiking times for Whitney Portal and R2R are both around ~8 hours.

So conceivably, a day could look like this:

12am-8am: Whitney Hike
8am-3:30pm: Whitney to GC North Rim
3:30pm-12am: R2R

Would be a fun challenge - wonder if it's ever been attempted.

Like DUG wrote: chartering a plane would make the trip a lot more reasonable.

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#53018 - 05/03/18 08:16 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: BFR]
VertC Offline


Registered: 04/08/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: BFR
Reading this post made me wonder - would be a real challenge to hike Whitney AND do R2R in the same day. (Would also mention that in the summer, Arizona is on the same time as California). Looks like the distance betweeen Whitney Portal and the Grand Canyon is 490 miles for the North Rim and 520 miles for the South Rim. Seems like this drive could be completed in ~7.5 hours (per Google maps). Super fast hiking times for Whitney Portal and R2R are both around ~8 hours.

So conceivably, a day could look like this:

12am-8am: Whitney Hike
8am-3:30pm: Whitney to GC North Rim
3:30pm-12am: R2R

Would be a fun challenge - wonder if it's ever been attempted.


My brother and I are trying the Whitney/Canyon duo this year. 1st north rim to south rim June 1&2, staying at Phantom Ranch. Staying in Barstow on June 2, then have an overnight Whitney permit for June 3rd. Not quite 1 day, probably 3.5 days from start to finish. We started with just the Grand Canyon plans and got lucky on the whitney lottery. Gear packing for both is a challenge in itself.

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#53023 - 05/04/18 08:41 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: VertC]
sierrarun Offline


Registered: 05/03/18
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
For a detailed comparison of Whitney and R2R, go here.

Scroll down about 3/4 of the way until you see reply #73.

http://m.rimtorim.org/site/hike-it/

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#53024 - 05/04/18 09:20 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: sierrarun]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks, Sierrarun. That is an excellent comparison. It's really hard to find the text, so copying it here.

Here's a link to it: Mt. Whitney Day Hike vs. Grand Canyon R2R


Bob Young says:
October 22, 2015 at 2:34 am

Mt. Whitney Day Hike vs. Grand Canyon R2R

First up: Who am I? A nobody in the hiking world. However, I was fortunate enough to find time to day-hike the Mt. Whitney Main Trail in June 2015 and the Grand Canyon R2R (North Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail) in September 2015. As such, I thought Iíd weigh in on the always-interesting discussion of which hike is harder. To keep things as fair as possible, I made sure to wear the same shoes, carry the same pack and use the same hiking poles. Hope you enjoy!

PERMIT ****************************************

Itís usually tough to get a permit for the MWMT for a given date, even if your plans call for a one-day trip. However, if you apply early enough ó or are flexible with respect to dates ó it can be done. Day-hiking the R2R doesnít require a permit.

Harder: MWMT

DISTANCE **************************************

The MWMT is listed as 22 miles round trip, while the R2R I did is listed as 23.9 miles one way. Add in the .5-mile walk from the North Rim campground, which is where I started, to the North Kaibab trailhead, and it comes to 24.4 miles.

Harder: R2R

TIME *******************************************

The MWMT took me 11.5 hours to complete, which included about 30 minutes on the summit. The R2R took me about the same and included about 30 minutes at Phantom Ranch.

Harder: tie

TEMPERATURE *********************************

The MWMT can get mighty cold, but in the busy season, itís fairly comfy. Conversely, the R2R can get mighty hot, but itís decent before and after that time of the year. Of course, the R2R can be done in winter, when itís reportedly quite nippy, but you wonít be able to shuttle it.

Because there is so much variability, Iíll address only my trip times. My MWMT hike began in the 60s (3 a.m.), then cooled to about 45 degrees by the time I arrived at the summit. Then it heated up considerably as I descended to the Portal. My R2R started at about 55 degrees (4 a.m.), then warmed to about 90 degrees at Phantom Ranch. By the time I got to the South Rim, it had cooled to 75 degrees. Note that my early departure time enabled me to avoid the horror stories associated with passing through The Box ó even though it was in early September.

Harder: MWMT (only because I had to carry warmer clothes in case of weird weather in the Sierra)

WATER *****************************************

Itís available in numerous places along the MWMT, but youíll want to treat it. Safe drinking water can be found at several stops on the R2R ó just top off your CamelBak and continue. If you need to acquire H2O from the stream that parallels much of the trail to Phantom Ranch, youíll want to treat it.

Harder: tie (You can go light on either trip.)

CARGO *****************************************

Those who know the Sierra will always carry emergency gear, including things that will keep you warm and dry, things that will enable you to spend the night and often things that will enable you to travel on snow. The MWMT is no exception to this. On the other hand, the R2R, where the primary environmental danger is the heat and the occasional downpour, doesnít demand as much emergency gear. A light rain jacket and a space blanket to serve as a makeshift shelter from the sun are about the best you can do.

Perceptive readers will note that I mentioned camping at the North Rim before hiking to the South Rim. Didnít that require me to carry my camping gear across the canyon? Nope. I purposefully hauled all my old, worn-out gear to the North Rim with the intention of throwing it away afterward. Junky old sleeping pad, leaking bivvy sack, tattered T-shirt, etc. I didnít take any cooking gear because I bought ready-to-eat food at the store in the campground.

Harder: MWMT

ALTITUDE **************************************

The MWMT hike starts at 8,360 feet and tops out at 14,495 feet before returning to 8,360. Thatís 6,135 feet up and then 6,135 feet down, all of which takes place at an elevation thatís higher than all of the R2R. Some Whitney hikers experience altitude problems because of this.

The R2R I did starts at 8,240 feet at the North Rim and drops to 2,480 feet at the river before ascending to 6,860 feet at the South Rim. Thatís 5,760 feet down and then 4,380 feet up. For most hikers, altitude sickness isnít even a concern.

Harder: MWMT

RESCUE ****************************************

Almost every time I hike the MWMT, I run into a ranger who usually asks for my permit. Thatís about it. There are no ranger stations, no resthouses, no ranches, no phones.

The R2R has all of the above, which can be taken advantage of by hikers in need. It has emergency phone service at various locations.

Harder: MWMT

RECOVERY ************************************

The MWMT takes a toll on the feet and legs (at least, it does on me) because the descent occurs when youíre tired, and that leads to ďsloppyĒ walking that entails letting your feet slap the ground as gravity pulls you down the trail. The result (again, for me) is DOMS that can last a week.

The R2R descent occurs when youíre fresh, which means youíre more in control. The second half ó which is when youíre spent ó is just a low-impact plod up the trail. Itís not easy by any means, but it doesnít beat you up as much.

Harder: MWMT

PEER PRESSURE ********************************

Some hikers wonít be affected by this, but others will. Hereís the scoop: Most of the people you see on the MWMT are there for the same reason ó to summit. That means thereís a good chance theyíll be in the same physical condition as you at any given location on the route and moving at comparable speeds. In other words, everyone is slow near the top, and everyone is tired near the bottom.

In contrast, on the R2R, when youíre at your weakest ó ascending the upper portion of the Bright Angel Trail, youíll see tons of tourists who decided to stroll down into the canyon for a bit and then turn around and climb out. They may outweigh you by 100 pounds and have 20 years on you, but often theyíll be motoring along at twice your speed. Normally, you wouldnít care, but if youíre in a carb-depleted ďbonkĒ condition ó which often leads to negative thought patterns ó you may start cussing under your breath, asking yourself why youíre doing this. (If youíve never bonked, you wonít know what this is like. Believe me ó it can be insidious.)

Harder: R2R (depending on your fitness level)

VERDICT ***************************************

Itís tough to say which hike is harder overall, which is why I broke them down into these components. If I was forced to pick one, however, it would be the MWMT. The note Iíd like to end on is this: Both hikes are wickedly challenging, but both are very doable. (Hell, I did them!) As such, theyíre highly recommended for any bucket list.

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#53026 - 05/04/18 02:30 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve C]
sierrarun Offline


Registered: 05/03/18
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
Glad you liked my write-up, Steve C.

Originally Posted By: Steve C
Thanks, Sierrarun. That is an excellent comparison. It's really hard to find the text, so copying it here.

Here's a link to it: Mt. Whitney Day Hike vs. Grand Canyon R2R


Bob Young says:
October 22, 2015 at 2:34 am

Mt. Whitney Day Hike vs. Grand Canyon R2R


...<snip>

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#53027 - 05/04/18 02:31 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve C]
TahoeKine Offline


Registered: 10/06/15
Posts: 7
Loc: So Cal
I did R2R2R (two days), and MWMR last year and I believe MW is definitely harder. R2R2R took 10 hours N-S and about the same going back. MWMR took 11 hours and the Main Trail has historically taken me 11-12. The last post touched on such an important aspect, and that's the torture of the downhill. In the dozen times I've done Whitney, every single time I come down my ankles/calves/shins/knees are screaming at me. R2R finishes both ways with an uphill grind; easier in my book than the 6500' pounding descent over granite (most of the trails in the GC are soft, dusty redrock; very easy on the knees).

A telling sign is the amount of trail runners on R2R vs the amount on Whitney. Granted, people come from all over the world to run the Canyon, but it's uncommen to see anyone running on Whitney.

Both these hikes are no joke, but if you take the tram down, both are more difficult than C2C.

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#53029 - 05/05/18 10:45 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: TahoeKine]
sierrarun Offline


Registered: 05/03/18
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
TahoeKine,

Thanks for adding your experiences to the thread.

I just did the C2C again a few days ago. You are so right regarding the tram. It sure lets you avoid the usual ďpunishment of the descent.Ē


Originally Posted By: TahoeKine
I did R2R2R (two days), and MWMR last year and I believe MW is definitely harder. R2R2R took 10 hours N-S and about the same going back. MWMR took 11 hours and the Main Trail has historically taken me 11-12. The last post touched on such an important aspect, and that's the torture of the downhill. In the dozen times I've done Whitney, every single time I come down my ankles/calves/shins/knees are screaming at me. R2R finishes both ways with an uphill grind; easier in my book than the 6500' pounding descent over granite (most of the trails in the GC are soft, dusty redrock; very easy on the knees).

A telling sign is the amount of trail runners on R2R vs the amount on Whitney. Granted, people come from all over the world to run the Canyon, but it's uncommen to see anyone running on Whitney.

Both these hikes are no joke, but if you take the tram down, both are more difficult than C2C.

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#53031 - 05/05/18 06:48 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: sierrarun]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Novato, CA
I've done all three hikes, and comparing them as a round trip day hike, R2R2R is the hardest just by virtue of the greater distance (around 45 miles) C2C2C has almost the same total elevation gain and water is in shorter supply, but still it's only 31 miles. Whitney main trail's difficulty is the altitude and if you're not ready for it, then it can be just as hard. But assuming you're at least somewhat prepared for the altitude then it's easier just because it's shorter and less climbing.

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#53093 - 05/12/18 09:33 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
over1812 Offline


Registered: 07/24/16
Posts: 40
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
So R2R is only considered to be North Rim to South Rim or vice versa? Or does that also include up and down on the same side, say Bright Angel from the South Rim down to the river and back up? Does that have a different name?

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#53096 - 05/12/18 11:12 AM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: over1812]
sierrarun Offline


Registered: 05/03/18
Posts: 4
Loc: CA
I often see that referred to as a Rim to River hike.

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#53105 - 05/12/18 11:07 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: sierrarun]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7386
Loc: Fresno, CA
Rim-to-rim is special because it covers both north and south sides of the Grand Canyon. It also requires special arrangements for transportation.

A Rim-to-River (and back) hike from the north would be more extreme than R2R, due to the additional elevation and distance compared to the R2R. Rim to River on the south is done by a lot more people, and it can be done on two trails, so you don't need to return on the same trail.

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#53133 - 05/14/18 08:42 PM Re: Compare Whitney day hike vs Grand Canyon rim-to-rim [Re: Steve C]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 79
Loc: Novato, CA
Comparing just South to North rim to Whitney day hike from Portal I think Whitney is much harder. The RTRTR I mentioned earlier is really only feasible as a single push if you run a good portion of it.

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