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Copper Canyon Rim to Rim Advice

My best friend and I are planning to backpack the copper canyon from rim to rim this winter. We're experienced backpackers and have done solo trips in the desert before (Big Bend and other places in CO/UT). We've also done international trips with guides (Kilimanjaro and Toubkal).

We are wondering if we should hire a local guide for safety reasons? We don't need porters or people to cook for us and are trying to make this trip as affordable as possible. We've read mixed messages online about doing this trip solo and would really like to hear from people who have actually done the trip.

Any other tips for this trip such as villages to stop in, gear to bring, and transportation thoughts are welcome too!

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