|Rock Garden - Grand Canyon Routes|
20 May, 2007
Just as the Redwall descent of the South Kaibab begins, a route leaves the saddle to the west and connects to the Tonto Trail below.
Hike the South Kaibab Trail to the end of the Redwall ridge a sign here calls this place Skeleton Point (name origin). Start the initial Redwall descent and stop at the major saddle above the switchbacks down the east side. Take a short break here and then go west when no-one else is looking no need to confuse any tourists that there may be an alternate trail.
Descend the very center of the ravine initially as far as this goes without any complication. When the ravine gets more vertical but not so narrow, look for the bypass north descending a series of bare limestone ledges with a few junipers. Sign of travel and use can be seen in the gravel sections. At the bottom of this slope the route returns to the middle of the ravine where further descent is impossible due to the final Redwall cliff below. Follow an obvious track going south along the bench above the cliff. There is much loose footing where this track reaches the slope and starts down to meet the Tonto Trail at the main ravine on the slope.
Difficulty and Appeal
Like all off-trail routes, this is easier to locate going up, but the possibility to add something different to a dayhike loop of South Kaibab and Bright Angel is irresistable. The result is a likely first visit going down, which is exactly what I did. In the lower part of the ravine I continued down and got into an awkward place in the middle of a downclimb. Going back up, which I knew must be right, was more risky than bracing across to make the last step. Then I located the correct route going back up on the northside slope of the ravine before making the traverse south above the cliff. This route also offers a covenient connection with the old Miners Trail, but this is not a trail. Backpacking this is not recommended.