This location was photographed on October, 1, 2006 and again on February 12, 2010. The February 2010 panorama is available in the project; the October, 2006 scene is not but may be added at a later date. The following is a transcript of the narration for this panorama location. To watch and listen to the narrated panorama, enter the project here at this location and then press the play button.
Here we are in the Toroweap Formation, still very high up in the canyon, but the snow we see here will soon be gone. Back up in the switchbacks, in a panorama shot on the very same day as this one, the snow was piled up as deep as you will ever see. But here the trail is on a west-facing slope, and the high altitude sun, even deep in wintertime, will melt the snow quickly.
But there is still plenty of snow in the Toroweap in the northeast facing slopes on the far side of Pipe Creek Canyon. The Toroweap is sandwiched between two cliff-forming formations, the Kaibab Limestone above, and the Coconino Sandstone below. The falling snow floats on past the cliff faces but clings to gentler slopes like the Toroweap, so the Toroweap stands out as a white band between the darker cliffs above and below.
But look carefully and you will see that there is a fairly good-sized cliff band within the Toroweap, down near its base. When the Toroweap Formation was formed, an ancient sea sometimes covered the area, sometimes not. When the sea was present for a long time it formed layers of limestone, and one such thick layer of limestone forms the cliff band we see here. About half a mile down from here the South Kaibab Trail passes through that cliff band, but it is no obstacle since the trail builders blasted their way right through it.
We still don’t have an expansive view of the canyon here, but we now can see the full extent of Pipe Creek Canyon, from Pipe Creek Overlook at its head, and on out to Mather Point and Yavapai Point to the northwest. The snow steadily disappears as you drop down the face of the canyon, but it still helps to identify the upper canyon formations. The Hermit Shale, like the Toroweap, forms slopes, and it also stands out as a white band below the cliffs of the Coconino Sandstone. The top portion of the Supai Formation, the Esplanade Sandstone, forms cliffs in places, which appear as a series of dark splotches beneath the white band of Hermit Shale. The next layer down within the Supai, the Wescogame Formation, also forms slopes and appears as a final broken white band before the snow disappears completely on the lower slopes.
Heading up the trail from here, we go up to a spot within the tightly packed switchbacks that climb up through the Kaibab Limestone. Heading down the trail from here, we slowly descend through the Toroweap for about half a mile, turn a corner, drop into the Coconino Sandstone, and then see the Grand Canyon finally open up dramatically at Ooh Aah Point.