The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon – Granite Rapid


Granite Rapid, at Mile 93.9, is unique in a number of ways. The large delta at the mouth of Monument Canyon (river left) deflects the river hard into a vertical granite wall. Lateral waves rebound off the cliff, and intersect with waves coming from the left side, creating an unpredictable chaos of whitewater. Granite both flips boats and turns them around a full 180 degrees. The choices are few. There is a run that goes somewhat left off the tongue and the run right down the tongue and along the wall. For me, the latter is irresistibly exciting. 15 photos.

A last look at Horn Creek Rapid. High water creates this mushroom-shaped wave on the rock that stands on the right margin of the central tongue

A last look at Horn Creek Rapid. High water creates this mushroom-shaped wave on the rock that stands on the right margin of the central tongue

Downstream view at Trinity Creek, Mile 92.1

Downstream view at Trinity Creek, Mile 92.1. Black schist pinnacles and the Tower of Set above

Kathy, in the Trinity Creek schist slot canyon

Kathy, in the Trinity Creek schist slot canyon

Kathy and I shared rowing an AZRA baggage boat. Here, I'm about to hit the one wave in Salt Creek Rapid, Mile 93.1

Kathy and I shared rowing an AZRA baggage boat. Here, I’m about to hit the one wave in Salt Creek Rapid, Mile 93.1

Granite, from the tongue. My father-in-law got re-circulated in the eddy seen downstream, after his AZRA paddle boat flipped. The current can be very fast-moving in this eddy.

Granite Rapid, from the tongue. My father-in-law got re-circulated in the eddy seen downstream, after his AZRA paddle boat flipped. The current moves fast along the shore in this eddy. The telephoto lens foreshortens the rapid.

Big water! Kathy gets slapped hard

Big water! Kathy gets slapped hard

... and turned around.

… and turned around.

Laina gets buried

Laina gets buried

... and hit by the last big wave

… and hit by the last big wave

Neil, with Jesse ready to high-side

Neil, with Jesse ready to high-side

In they go

In they go

Neil accelerates off the tongue

Neil accelerates off the tongue

Now its our turn! What a chaos of red water!

Now its our turn! What a chaos of red water!

She's a beauty

She’s a beauty

Looking back

Looking back

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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4 Responses to The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon – Granite Rapid

  1. Jackson says:

    My favorite GC rapid! I remember when I had just started boating, the great AzRA guide and Jack Mormon Wesley Smith told me the secret to running Granite: “Float around at the top until you feel lucky, then go!” It’s always worked for me.

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  2. believesteve says:

    Good old Wesley. I recall him offering some kind of substance, one night at the Ferry boat ramp. Martha was there too (mid-80s?) p.s. Martha hopes to do chili here again, after she gets back from Bhutan!! (I assume you’re staying in touch with her?)

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    • Jackson says:

      Yeah, just talked to her the other day. We’re hoping to see her out here in fall or winter. I miss the great annual chile peelings, though, that was one of the best things going!

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  3. Steve, great to see your photos and commentary. And, also great to read comments about Wesley and Martha. I’d love to see the photo of Horn creek before you stylized edit. Do you still have the original?

    Like

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