Rock Garden

Carbon Creek — This place shows an exceptional variety of structure, landscape, and geology distinct from other parts of Grand Canyon. A short, narrow passage through the Tapeats connects the Butte Fault with a large sand delta area. Rockfalls, boulder piles, and one major pouroff make interesting but not particularly difficult climbing obstacles. Going south along the faultline follows a drainage into Lava Canyon. The upper valley splits into two forks with Carbon Butte in the middle as an isolated ancient landslide. The West Fork winds between slopes and hills with numerous large stromatolite boulders stranded in place by erosion of softer surrounding material. Chuar Creek, a branch of Lava Creek, separates the Carbon basin from the North Rim. The layers of Galeros Formation are interesting and colorful, but any water seeps here are saline and vegetation is very sparse. The East Fork leads in the direction of the old Horsethief Trail (Horsethief Butte Fault route) and continues on toward Sixtymile, Awatubi, Malgosa, Kwagunt, and Nankoweap Creek.

Routes — Carbon Creek bed access to the river — this is a good place to make a ferry crossing to the Palisades area. Horsethief Trail goes up East Fork and over to upper Sixtymile Canyon. Access up to the Tonto Platform to the north going up a ravine just east of the faultline; this allows access to the area east of Temple Butte and to Crash Canyon. The peak on the south side of the narrows is accessible as well. From here, the path connecting to Lava Creek is well-worn and fast.

1994 September - AzRA day hike from the river, up Carbon, over to Lava Canyon, and back to the river.

1997 May - Scouting with AzRA and locating a critical access to the Tonto platform for next year’s hike.

1998 May - Passing through from Lava toward Crash; day 7.

2007 April - Camp at Butte Fault for a dayhike to Sixtymile and back, then down to the river for a ferry crossing; day 5/6.

2007 October - The Quest for Barbwire is fulfilled.


Catalog of Places - Trips - Routes - Notes