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  1. #1
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    White Rim Trail water

    Want to do the White Rim Trail as a self supported multi-day this fall - assuming I can get reservations. What about water along the trail? If I bring my filter can I resupply? Or is stashing the only way to go?

  2. #2
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    I rode it in 1 day this spring. There is no water anywhere I can recall until you get to the Green River near the end (assuming you ride it clockwise). If you ride it in 1 day, you don't need a reservation.

  3. #3
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    The only access to water is along the Green River sections and you have to let it settle or it will clog your filter instantly.

    Too thick to drink and too thin to plow as they say.

    I have done self supported White Rim trips and carried up to 3 gallons of water in panniers.

    If you go clockwise, your load will have lightened considerably before you have to do any significant climbing.

    Makes for a great adventure!

    jummo

  4. #4
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    Just take powdered water.

  5. #5
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    Don't really want to ride with a group, but need a support team for water I suppose. Can anyone recommend a tour company?

    P.S. Powdered water... haha! Freeze dried water? Anyone here play Space Quest back in the day?

  6. #6
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    You can probably buy water from vehicles.... but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with that srategy personally.

  7. #7
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    my wife and I are thinking about something similar to this next fall as well. or plan is to either pay a tour company to stash water and food at two campsites for us. if they won't do that well have to do it the old fashioned way and carry it on the bikes as mentioned earlier.

  8. #8
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    If you drive to the bottom of Schafer Trail or down Mineral Bottom Road (either at the top or bottom of the switchbacks), you can stash water somewhere along the paved road into Canyonlands or at the Mineral Bottom turnoff. That strategy allows you to get a chunk of vertical out of the way without being weighed down with all the water you need.
    And start in the dark to reduce overall water consumption.

    We ran into a couple other guys who had used hose clamps to attach an extra couple water bottle holders to their frames to increase water carrying capacity. That seemed like a good idea, but of course not all frames can accommodate that solution.

    I've known people to get water off multi-day tours, but when we rode it in a day this past fall, it was right after they heavy thunderstorms that closed Schafer for a day and Hardscrabble for a couple days, which probably caused a lot of trip cancellations. We only saw three or four multi-day groups on a Sunday in October.

  9. #9
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    We'll be doing the whole White Rim trail in ONE NIGHT (!) On June 21st starting at 7pm. It is the Summer solstice so it is the shortest night of the year and it is also pretty close to a full moon. Should be epic! Have you ever ridden in the high desert at night during a full moon? The scenery is awesome in its own way. Contact Adventure Earth Rides on Facebook for more details.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  10. #10
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    I've done it carrying 170oz of water in cool weather. ( ie: freezing start in the dark + cold finish at dusk ... short late fall day ) If its a weekend, you will see people with trucks/supplies, fairly safe ( depending on your level of comfort ) to bet you could "borrow" some water if you really needed.

    I was thirsty when I got done, but I wasn't going to die anytime soon.

  11. #11
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    Hey guys, Iím bringing back an old thread here, but I have a reservation for May 21st at the Potato Bottom campground, the plan is to start clockwise on the White Rim down Schafer in the morning and ride the 65 Miles in one day to Potato Bottom and camp there, a one night bikepack trip, self-supported. Weíll have to carry all our water we need for that first day in our seat, handlebar, and frame bags. Average daily temp for May 21st is a high of 84 degrees. Iím wondering if I bring containers for the water and let it settle an hour, if we can get water from the river that night, and either filter it or maybe just use a steri-pen and grin and bear it... (minerals are good for you right?). I donít want to rely on buying water, thatís a no-go, and the stories of a four hour hike to cache water donít sound fun. Luckily the next morning from Potato Bottom to the end it is only 35 Miles, some of it pavement, so we could get an early start and be back at the car after a couple hours before it gets too hot. Any advice on this plan is much appreciated!

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    Perhaps I am missing something, but why wouldn't you be able to filter the water? Letting it settle is a good idea, but not absolutely necessary....it will just plug your filter faster if you don't.

    If you have the choice between a steripen and a filter....I'd choose a filter.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KThaxton View Post
    Perhaps I am missing something, but why wouldn't you be able to filter the water? Letting it settle is a good idea, but not absolutely necessary....it will just plug your filter faster if you don't.

    If you have the choice between a steripen and a filter....I'd choose a filter.
    This^^^. Forget the Steripen for cloudy water. Bring a collapsible bucket and let the water settle, then filter it. Standard procedure for Grand Canyon or other muddy rivers with unpredictable side streams is to settle the water using "alum", or aluminum sulfate. Alum causes the silt to precipitate and settle much faster. Then you can filter.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9BY69KnzoU
    Last edited by charcist; 02-21-2018 at 01:42 PM.

  14. #14
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    I'm going to pile on with a peripheral question if you don't mind. I haven't done White Rim since the new permit rules. If you get a campsite for one night, does that automatically get you a permit for the day of, and the day after?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    If you get a campsite for one night, does that automatically get you a permit for the day of, and the day after?
    Yes. White Rim overnight is considered an "overnight backcountry permit" that allows you use in the Park for multiple days.. If you have a campground reservation, you are effectively paying for a permit. In short, if you have a campground reservation Gory details start here: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvis...servations.htm

    Biking-specific info here: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/biking.htm

    Even day use on the White Rim requires a (free) day-use permit.

  16. #16
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    Iíve read a lot about how a silty river will clog up a water filter in short order, and that letting it settle for an hour or overnight doesnít do much good, the particles are just too fine. The aluminum sulfate method seems to be very accepted among river guides, but there are a lot of health and sanitation experts that warn that aluminum sulfate is not good for you, and can cause long term health issues like Alzheimerís, etc. It is used by sanitation experts in water treatment facilities in Australia and elsewhere, but you have to get the quantities just right. My concerns may be overblown, but I generally avoid unnatural products like that just out of an overabundance of caution. Obviously the sterile pen method isnít the most appetizing...

    The other option we have is to just carry two days water, or really a day and a half. We start out super hydrated like for any endurance ride. That first day will be 64 miles in 84 degree weather, so weíll plan on drinking a gallon each, or a 100 ounce reservoir plus a 32 oz Nalgene sized water bottle. The next day we leave early and ride the last 35 miles long before the desert heats up, but weíll still plan on carrying 100 ounces just in case. Carrying a second dayís water is an additional 8 pounds for the first day, but the good news is everything gets lighter as the trip goes on. We have the room in our frame bags. This really only works to carry your own water on short 1-2 day trips.

    Last June I spent a brutal day on the White rim biking with some boy scouts. It was 103 degrees and our group became stretched out, so our ďsupportĒ vehicles were nowhere in sight. Crawling along the 35 mile ride to the Gooseberry campground at boy-scout speed, I carried a 100 ounce reservoir but I gave it all away to the boys, and I was suffering. So I know first hand how serious this trail is when it comes to water

  17. #17
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    If you can find a cactus, cut it open and drip some of the fluid from the cactus into your water vessel.

    It will more or less "stick" to a good portion of the particulate matter in the water, which you can then strain or pick out. Works by electrostatic attraction.

    Science, man. It's crazy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-FUkkGQZYg

    She won a pretty significant NSF grant for her project (which are awarded to less than 5% of applicants).

    Video from the American Chemical Society.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9kPNCDVOfo
    Death from Below.

  18. #18
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    Any remaining Alum will be captured by the filter....based on simple physics! Alum works to make things clump together as explained. Large particles that are clumped together are easily captured by a filter.

    Further, there is no legitimate (read, scientific) data that shows alum has any health affects...at least in the quantities you would see here.

    But, if you can't get past it.....just let it settle, and prefilter by another means i.e. a t-shirt...but some silt would get through.

    I like the Alum idea, I might do that on my next (first actually) overnight kayak trip.

  19. #19
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    Perhaps you and your riding buddies are natural camels, but from my experience, a gallon per person per day in the desert at those temps is fine if you are not exerting yourself. That's the number we estimate for multi-day river float trips.

    My experience with long rides in Moab (White Rim in a day, Whole Enchilada as a loop) is that I would easily drink twice that amount for the ride *and the evening time / dinner*.

    Regarding alum - I hear on the suspected risks. However, if you're weighing the risks of one-time use of alum versus possible dehydration or medical emergency in the desert due to lack of water, it's not even a realistic comparison.

    Hopefully you can get down to Moab before your White Rim trip and do a shakedown ride where you can track water consumption. The bikepacking aspect on the WR sure will take a lot of the vehicle / gear sh!t shuffle out of the equation.

  20. #20
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    Good advice, seems like we either need to figure out a support vehicle or get comfortable with the alum method so we can tank up at the green river and drink as much as we want. Carrying three gallons each on the bike plus gear doesnít sound fun. Are there any sources I can read about how alum is removed by a filter like a Katadyn?

  21. #21
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    I'd check with Katadyn.

  22. #22
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    A different option: call some of the touring companies that do White Rim trips (e.g. Rim Tours) and see if they will have a tour on the dates you'll be riding. Arrange to meet them and pick up extra water.

  23. #23
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    This is how we usually do it one day with no support. We like to go counter clockwise (I think most like to go clockwise).

    We stash all the water we will need at the turn off to Mineral Bottom (this is where a lot of people start the ride). We then drive down to the bottom of Shafer's. Then we start the ride by climbing up Shafer's.

    What I like about this is: 1- You start with the biggest climb of the day while you are still fresh. 2- The mineral bottom road is a long boring uphill section when going clockwise, but going counter clockwise it is fast and and a lot more fun. 3- You don't have to carry much water up Shafer's because you will be picking up your supply of water soon after going up it.

    Even on a hot day you can make it if you put a couple of large water bottles on the frame and a couple in the pack and then throw an extra bladder in the pack. It starts out with a lot of weight on your shoulders, but that encourages you to stay hydrated early. ;-)

  24. #24
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    The best solution is to schedule your ride soon after a rain storm, as there will be lots of water in potholes along the route.

    However, when you can't count on the rain gods and need to get water from the Green River, alum is the way to go as mentioned above. The Green is actually brown and the sediment won't settle, can't be filter by coarse cloth or paper filters, and will clog fine filters. The alum method is easy and effective: add about 1/4 tsp to 1-2 gal water, stir, and allow to settle for 20 min. We used it to clear and pump about 4 gal a day for 4 days on a SUP trip with no ill effects on the pump or the two of us. The photo shows some clarified water and the sediment formed. It's always a good idea to take a small alum spice container when heading into areas with silty water.

    White Rim Trail water-alum.jpg

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbeagle View Post
    This is how we usually do it one day with no support. We like to go counter clockwise (I think most like to go clockwise).

    We stash all the water we will need at the turn off to Mineral Bottom (this is where a lot of people start the ride). We then drive down to the bottom of Shafer's. Then we start the ride by climbing up Shafer's.

    What I like about this is: 1- You start with the biggest climb of the day while you are still fresh. 2- The mineral bottom road is a long boring uphill section when going clockwise, but going counter clockwise it is fast and and a lot more fun. 3- You don't have to carry much water up Shafer's because you will be picking up your supply of water soon after going up it.

    Even on a hot day you can make it if you put a couple of large water bottles on the frame and a couple in the pack and then throw an extra bladder in the pack. It starts out with a lot of weight on your shoulders, but that encourages you to stay hydrated early. ;-)
    This sounds like the best way to do White rim in a day with no support. I assume that you can park your car at the bottom of Shaferís on the side of the road without a permit as long as you arenít there overnight?

    Either way this wouldnít work for us, as we want to camp at Potato Bottom, and we canít leave our car overnight over at the bottom of Shafers. Currently we are working on getting a support vehicle.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Boz View Post
    This sounds like the best way to do White rim in a day with no support. I assume that you can park your car at the bottom of Shaferís on the side of the road without a permit as long as you arenít there overnight?

    Either way this wouldnít work for us, as we want to camp at Potato Bottom, and we canít leave our car overnight over at the bottom of Shafers. Currently we are working on getting a support vehicle.
    There is an area at the bottom of Shafers that is good for parking. I may be wrong but I think you can park there overnight. Camping at Potato Bottom does add an extra challenge. I had a couple of friends that did White Rim in two days unsupported. The problem was, it takes a lot more water to do it in two days then in one day. Even though they took water then when doing it in one day they still ran out of water near White Crack and had to beg water of of someone else.

    I think if I were to try a multi day unsupported I would seriously look at someway to get an extra water cache. Maybe you could make a deal with one of the tour groups to cache some water for you somewhere. Or you could drive in to some spot, cache water and then drive to your start.

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