Explore: Rim to Rim club hopes to inspire, seeks votes for grant application

IVINS – The 23.9 mile trek descending and then ascending from rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon is a bucket list item for hikers from across the country and around the globe. It is characterized by stunning views, strenuous ascents, often dramatic temperature changes and a feeling of accomplishment that those who complete the journey will want to cherish and share with others forever.

Michelle Delloso hiking rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, August, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Michelle Delloso, St. George News
Michelle Delloso hiking rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, August, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Michelle Delloso, St. George News

At least that was the case for Ivins resident, Michelle Delloso, who upon finishing the climb to the South Rim immediately asked: “Where’s the club?”

Like others who had gone before her, Delloso was celebrating the completion of more than just miles and, she said, she wanted a way to share her experience and in turn, share in the experience of others as they ventured into the Grand Canyon.

The response that there was no club to commemorate the accomplishment led Delloso to create her own club and small business dedicated to sharing the inspiration of the canyon, as well as selling trademarked and responsibly manufactured Rim to Rim merchandise.

It is a club and a business that Delloso said she sees as her calling and one that represents a sort of sea change in her life but though the business started shortly after her rim-to-rim experience in 2010, her path really began before that.

In 2005, Delloso was sent to Southern Utah in her role as a consultant for Adidas when she felt “the call,” she said, and she knew she had to move out here.

Delloso, who has traveled all over the country working with big companies such as Nike, Louisville Slugger and Adidas, felt called to Ivins, she said, for its access to Snow Canyon State Park as well as nearby national parks: Bryce Canyon, Zion and, of course, Grand Canyon.

“I fell in love with Snow Canyon,” Delloso said, “I had such a great experience that I knew I had to move here even though it made no sense to do so.”

A few years later Delloso moved her parents to Southern Utah to care for them through illness and started her own consulting firm: Red Rock Consultants.

It was a time in her life, Delloso said, when she was starting to see the writing on the wall that corporate America was about to change.

A view of the Grand Canyon from South Kaibab, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Date not specified | Photo courtesy of Michelle Delloso, St. George News
A view of the Grand Canyon from South Kaibab, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Date not specified | Photo courtesy of Michelle Delloso, St. George News

Those impending changes – Delloso would eventually be let go from her position with Adidas due to budget cuts – coupled with the passing of her father led her to train for and complete the rim-to-rim hike; an experience that, in the wake of losing her father, was equal parts comforting, spiritual and celebratory, she said.

The Rim to Rim club and merchandising business, both registered trademarks, were founded as a way to connect others who have completed the trek and give them a place to share their accomplishments and experiences and to reflect on what the hike meant and means to them.

Both the club and the merchandise business operate under a three-pronged vision – experience, adventure, perspective – which is artistically represented by three Kokopelli figures descending, crossing the bottom and ascending the canyon.

The club is also a place to inspire other hikers to embark on the rim-to-rim journey as well as to advocate for responsible hiking.

Responsible hiking includes but is not limited to the following guidelines:

Sandy Schey Frenia and Michelle Delloso hike rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, August 2010 | Photo courtesy of Michelle Delloso, St. George News
Sandy Schey Frenia and Michelle Delloso hike rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, August 2010 | Photo courtesy of Michelle Delloso, St. George News

What began as a small club that has grown organically one hiker at a time, Delloso said, is becoming a successful business with products being sold online, at the Bright Angel Gift Store on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, and locally at Red Mountain Spa, the Desert Rat and Café Soleil in Springdale.

All of the products sold are responsibly made – shirts, water bottles, license plate frames and stickers are made in the USA in environmentally friendly shops, Delloso said, and the multifunctional headwear, or bandanas, are manufactured at a female owned and family operated factory in China.

But though the brand is growing, Delloso, who has funded the business on her own thus far, needs help to ensure its continued success and its ability to keep the club free and reaching out to others.

Delloso is in the process of applying for a small business grant sponsored by Chase Bank but cannot continue through the process without enough votes on social media.

Receiving the grant would enable Delloso to continue to chase her dream of creating a business that both inspires and celebrates the amazing experience, adventure and perspective that one can get from a trip into the canyon and back, she said, and hopes that people will take their time to vote.

“I want to keep dreaming and inspiring people,” Delloso said.

Resources

  • To learn more about the Rim to Rim club or to join visit the website or Facebook page
  • To vote for Rim to Rim to be entered to win a small business grant click here
  • To learn more about or to plan your trip to the Grand Canyon click here

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16 Comments

  • voice of reason September 18, 2014 at 10:26 am

    With all due respect, I sincerely hope and pray that this club is a complete and utter failure. You are advertising and promoting a task which 99.9% of tourists, hikers and runners have no business attempting. This club (and others) is one of the main reasons the National Park Service is amending and modifying travel plans and permitted activities through the Grand Canyon. Because of the attention this website brings, they’re ruining it for everyone. Your ruining it for me. I have completed this hike (and back in a day) and did it without having to take “selfies” or make facebook posts or live tweeting along the way. Why can’t you just do the hike and be proud of yourself that you accomplished it? Why do you have to tell everyone and their dog about it? There was a day that people didn’t need constant attention and “positive affirmations”. I hope to get back to that day soon.

  • Rim to Rim Club September 18, 2014 at 11:29 am

    We are helping others to hike it responsibly and respectfully by offering the information on our website. “Tourists” head down the canyon and than they realize how difficult the climb back out is and that is where the problems begin. The “hikers” are searching for the information to take on the hike responsibly and respectfully and we offer that as well as a forum to share the stories of others on our website.

    Sorry you feel this way about our club and the hike but we did not build this for you since you did the hike out and back in one day and we don’t recommend this. We promote taking it on responsibly. The ones that are hurting the trails, etc. are the ones that don’t respect the canyon. We can only do our part in promoting & protecting it. It seems that you may want the trail and the canyon only to you which is not fair. Your comment of people taking selfies or tweeting along the way is not what most hikers do as there is no cell phone service in the canyon down there. Taking pictures, yes, and what is so wrong with that?

    Offering a place for hikers to share photos of what they have just experienced & offering a forum to commemorate their accomplishment is something we are very proud of.

    The canyon and this hike is for all of us to enjoy and embrace.

  • Bender September 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    “The canyon and this hike is for all of us to enjoy and embrace.”
    .
    Until it get’s so crowded NPS starts putting permitting in place. Wait time for a private permit to float the Grand Canyon is now 20 years.

  • Rim to Rim Club September 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Appreciate the comments as that is what this country is all about = FREEDOM of SPEECH.

    Understood Bender and Voice of Reason but please realize that there are multi-million dollar marketing campaigns by the states promoting the national parks. I do believe that last year’s closing of the national parks is driving the visitation rates and demand (don’t know what you have until it is gone adage). Of the 5 million people that visit the Grand Canyon less than 1% hike the canyon from Rim to RIm. We are usually also the individuals that work to preserve and protect the canyon by contributing to the GCA and other causes for maintenance of the trails, etc. WE as a club can’t control what is happening with the permits as that is in the hands of the NPS. That is why it is critical for ALL GROUPS to have voice. WE can only do our part (as the Rim to Rim Club®) with regard to offering information encouraging hikers to hike the canyon from rim to rim responsibly and respectfully. The information we have offered on our website as well as the our Facebook & You Tube pages helps people do just that. The club is FREE and we are hopeful that having information out there will help the hiking experience for all.

    Now back to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

  • Voice of Reason September 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    But you as a club have a massive influence! You, as a club, can control what is happening in regards to permits. Clubs like yours are the reason the permits are now required! The hike has become too popular and it is overcrowding the trail systems. By actively promoting the hike, you are doing a disservice to all the other hikers and runners who want to participate, but want to do it in a low key way without the need for shameless self promotion. It may be selfish, but I don’t want everyone to be able to do that hike. It’s hard and not everyone can do hard things. That’s why it is a special place. If everyone could do it, it wouldn’t be special at all.

  • Rim to Rim Club September 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Not true Voice of Reason as I believe the multi million dollar marketing campaigns reaching the US and the rest of the world are overcrowding the parks and trail systems. I have self funded this club as we are not a non-profit so there is only so much one person can do. You are seeing it from your point of view but I see if from the point of view of our over 1,000 Rim to Rim Club® members that want us to exist as a club and offer a voice for the hikers. It is up to the NPS (National Park Service) to control the permit process as that is not something one group/person can take on with little to no funding. The GCA (Grand Canyon Association) is there to preserve and protect the canyon and the trails as they are the official non-profit organization of Grand Canyon National Park. I find it hard to believe that my website and club are causing all of the overcrowding. I am one that also finds peace and tranquility in the park and I just did so two weeks ago at the North Rim where I only witnessed 5 hikers on my hike down and up the North Kaibab trail. Take a good hard look at all of the buses coming in minute by minute to the parks and you will notice they are not hikers rather they are tourists that like to take a “walk” down the canyon trails until they realize they have to climb back out. They are also the ones spending a ton of $ in the parks so that is going to be a tough battle to fight = limiting visitors. It sounds like your issue is with the NPS and I suggest that you voice your opinion there. Moving forward may we allow this forum for some other hikers to offer their opinions and feedback. We are incredibly appreciative of the St. George New for covering the club and offering the links to many readers so that they can take on the hike responsibly. And congratulations on your Rim to Rim to Rim hike as that is an amazing accomplishment!

    • Voice of Reason September 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Actually, no. My issue is not with the NPS. The Park Service is reacting to a problem. The problem is large groups of “day hikers” attempting to cross the canyon from rim to rim in a single day. The park service is putting use limits in place as an attempt to deal with the problem. Another part of the problem stems from the promotion of these activities. The Park tells people flat out “Do not attempt to cross the canyon in a single day. Don’t even try to get from the Rim to the river and back in a day”. When clubs and groups (like yours) start advertising and promoting single day crossings, they fly in the face of the Park services recommendations. Now the Park is taking drastic measures. I’d much rather go back to the days when crossing the canyon was done in an “underground” fashion.

      • My Evil Twin September 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

        I’d much rather go back to the days when the pork er park service was actually an agency that attempted to deal with the public in a respectful, dignified manner. Now, way too often, these little demagogs come on like storm troopers in their dealings with people.

    • Redrock lover September 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Ignore the haters-glad to learn about your club! Good luck with it! I might join!

  • InnerMountain September 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    The Rim to Rim Club does great work and stands for a great cause. Thanks for a great article!

  • pricklypear September 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    There’s no harm in a club that inspires and discusses Rim to Rim hikers but I don’t like the idea of it being turned into a brand. Commercializing the experience is not the way to inspire and honor anyone who’s accomplished this hike. The claims that this is a site for members don’t seem to be backed up very well by the one single page about “experience.” As for information, the parks service does pretty well with that. Aside from trying to sell merchandise they must have an exclusive relationship with the guide service their promoting. Even the parks service site will tell you that there are many companies guiding trips in Grand Canyon, particularly the Grand Canyon Field Institute (part of GCA which this article keeps talking about and seems to want to support). It all just seems too commercial to me.

  • zed September 19, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    This article should have posted this picture from the NPS, and mention that the permit fee is $175! Makes we want to hike with all the swarms. (Not)
    http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/interim-permits-r2r.htm

  • Rim to Rim Club September 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    The “assumption” that my little website & online club are the reason for the permits and the overcrowding is humbling. WE live in a society where we assume first and than judge and offer opinions based on those assumptions. One cannot control this. I know what I see and hear out there and that is from the 1,183 (not 5 million) beautiful people choosing to like our club that are hiking rim to rim for all that is good and positive and sharing their experience with others. I know that I have created something very special for many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts that love and appreciate the canyon and I am proud of this and proud of what I have built. When you put your hard earned $ into something you are going to do your best to protect it and I have done that with my trademarks and my business just like anyone else that comes up with a great idea (this is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). Before you assume please realize that we are an “online forum” and do a fact check on the # of hikers actually hiking rim to rim annually. There are over 5 million “visitors” to the Grand Canyon each year. The national parks are growing in “visitors” each year as the states, etc. are spending millions of $’s marketing and advertising this effort of “more visitors”. The NPS has implemented “I hiked the …” challenges at various parks as campaigns where visitors are encouraged to take selfies and/or rub three or more benchmarks on hikes at certain points (some pretty far in) and than they take them to the visitor center for a reward. My suggestion is to put use your voice to use where the problem lies and use it to make a difference because rest assured that I will keep on keeping on with this vision, this club, and this business. The purpose of this club is being reached and I know it is already making a difference as well as succeeding in what I set out for it to do. Thank you again St. George News for writing such a wonderful article. We sure do appreciate it!

  • Jeanne Meeks September 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    LOL at those who would keep the canyon to themselves and try to hide it from the world. Too late! Your club is a great idea and celebrates those of us who have already done the hike plus gives good information to those who wish to. Glad to have found your site and just subscribed.

  • Lori September 23, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Voice of Reason sounds like a selfish child…”it’s mine and I don’t want to share!” It is a natonal park, it is for all of the public to enjoy and use, and this club promotes responsible use of this national treasure. Ignore the negative and don’t it give it more power by responding to it. I’m looking forward to hiking this trail one day with this amazing guide!

  • voice of reason September 23, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I wonder if the hiker who died over the weekend was a member of you “club”.

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