7.19.2011

Weeks

Two weeks ago I got out for my first run on the Dumont/Lawson stretch of Clear Creek.  We had good flows, somewhere around 1200 cfs in Golden.  The run was fun, small-riverbed big-water sorts of feel in most of it, with a lot of ledges with standing wave-holes at the bottom. I was a little nervous, having never done the run, but things went fine. Outer Limits had more waves than holes, and went smoothly. No carnage to report either.
 
On Thursday I got out on Black Rock at 1200 or so with Ian and a couple of others. Ian and I walked Black Rock, the Narrows, and Rigor, though I probably should have run Black Rock in hindsight. The run was a lot of fun, with a lot of big waves and holes. I was spun around in the run-out of the Narrows which was a little more exciting than I would have liked, but it went smoothly after that. I was a little nervous about Elbow and Screaming Quarter Mile since I run them so frequently, but both of them went well, and Screaming Quarter Mile was a blast. There is still a boat pinned in the runout, which is boof-able at these flows.
 
Last weekend A and I went out to the Arkansas valley with the Hartmans and some friends. On Saturday we ran the Fractions, and then Numbers, at around 2150. The Fractions were all right, with some splashy-splash waves and a few good play spots, but there was enough raft traffic that it was dangerous to hang out and play for very long. The Numbers were a lot of fun, and A was even able to get some rafting in, which made things even better. No big carnage on either run.
 
Sunday brought an early-morning run of Clear Creek of the Ark at about 300 cfs. Fair bit of carnage there. Preston was a bit gripped, and swam out of the first big ledge hole we came across. We fetched his gear, and he decided to hike out. Then Dan swam out of the hole in the cauldron in the first gorge. He self-rescued and carried on, only to get flipped coming into an eddy between the gorges and swimming again. He walked out as well. Big Mike and I carried on into the second gorge, where he got surfed in a hole for a while but eventually made it out, and we were able to make it to the take-out in our boats. The run was more fun that I had remembered at this level, and despite the bony in-between parts, the goods were still good. A and I decided to head home instead of running Brown's in a raft. On the way home, I broke down and bought a new dry suit. The Stholquist that I've had for the last 4 years or so has turned into a bag of water in the last year, despite regular maintenance by the Stholquist factory. I was going to try and hold off a bit longer before buying a new suit, but I was wringing cups and cups of water out of my gear over the weekend, and was generally wet and not very happy. Given the amount of time I spend in cold water, I figured it was worth the investment.

6.21.2011

Hoosier Boating

Zach, Jeff, and Elise were in town this weekend.  We got on high water black rock and lower CC on Friday night with flows at about 1,000.  Things were busy, but everything was pretty managable.  We walked Rigo and the narrows, though Alex, who tagged along with us, ran them both.  Mr. Bill has quite a bit of stopping power, but it looks like a strong move through the right-hand lateral brings you through pretty well.  It's a riverwide hole at this point though. 
 
Black rock boated very smoothly, though the runout becomes long and busy.  Lower was fun, though Elbow got huge and managed to flip me and shove me into a wall.  Rolled up fine though.  Jeff got spit into the same wall.
 
Saturday and Sunday were spent up on the Poudre.  On Saturday Jeff, Zach, Roy and I all ran the Little South Fork of the Poudre at about 2' on the gauge.  The run was beautiful, and somewhat wilderness-ey.  The beta we had was that there were two gorges that rated about V- at these flows.  We went through one gorge early that was solid class IV, and was a good step up from what we had run so far.  We figured that was the first gorge, since it was noticeably narrower than the run so far, though it was somewhat overrated.  What we thought was the second gorge was busy and pushy, with a big hole that surfed Roy and caused Zach to flip.  It stopped me as well, though I was able to keep moving.  It would have been nice to have gotten a look at everything, but by the time we realized it was getting steep we were out of eddies.  It went well though, and the gorge let up just about where we needed it to.
 
Things opened up after that, and I figured we were heading for the confluence.  Nope.  Things narrowed down again, and before we knew it we were in another V- gorge, with a few big-ish moves and big holes.  It had a couple of convenient eddies about halfway down on both sides of an intimidating log drop.  Everything went smoothly though.  Overall, it was a fun run and a nice change of pace from the roadside stuff I've been doing lately.
 
Sunday was Stevens Down on the Poudre in playboats, at about 5' on the gauge rock.  It was my first time in the kingpin in big water for a long time.  I got pushed around quite a bit, and spent most of the run trying to stay balanced over my boat and avoid the biggest of the holes.  We walked Pineview Falls, which had a pair of big laterals in the middle of it guarding a big hole.  I was flipped in cardiac corner, but rolled up in the boily business at the bottom.  It was a run that was very good for my boating, but I think I would have had more fun (and definitely been more relaxed) in a creekboat.

6.06.2011

Black Rock, Big Day on the Big T

Made it out to Black Rock on Friday, flows were in the low 600s.  Everything was fun, and starting to get a little pushy.  The laterals and boils are starting to show up at these flows.  Lines went pretty well, though I ran too close to center on Mr. Bill and plugged it pretty hard.  I was able to paddle away, but next time I'll be further right.  I was used to worrying about getting deflected from the rock shelf on the right, but at these flows and up it's really not an issue.  I walked Rigo, though it looked like it was fairly forgiving.  Nevertheless, I may be done with Rigo for the next month or so as flows continue to rise.

Yesterday (Saturday) Roy, Bridger and I went to go check out SSV.  It was runnable, but awfully bony.  After some debate, we decided to head to the Big Thompson instead, which had healthy flows of about 650 coming out of Lake Estes, with some additional feeders.  It was getting pretty pushy, with big waves and holes in a fairly small riverbed.  We got to the big drop in the middle of the run, usually class IV+ at regular flows but it was pushing V- or V at these flows.  I had a good line through the entrance and the meat of the rapid, but near the end of the first pitch the nose of my boat was deflected by a lateral and caught on a rock.  I was hoping that it would just spin me backwards, but the rock was too close to shore and as I started to spin, my stern was caught by another rock and the force of the water pinned me horizontally.  My head was underwater, and I felt the boat lock down onto the rocks, so I didn't waste much time waiting for it to dislodge.  I swam, and fast, for shore.  Roy was in the process of getting out of his boat since he saw me pin.  I managed to self-rescue, getting a little banged up on the rocks and swallowing some water, but was otherwise all right.  My boat pined a little ways downstream, and Bridger was able to fish my paddle out of the water. 

The excitement wasn't over yet; below the dam Roy misread a set of holes and got flipped, and then was shoved up against the bank.  He swam, and Bridger and I chased his boat for a looong ways.  About halfway through the chase I realized that I had forgot to put in my drain plug after we portaged the dam, so it was a bit of a race against the clock to try and retrieve his boat before mine filled up with water.  We managed to get it done though.  In all, the casualties for the day were Roy's sponge and my throw rope. 

6.01.2011

Black Rock, Big T

Got out on Black Rock at 350 on Sunday, Big T at 500 or so on Monday.  Black Rock went pretty smoothly; the extra 100 cfs smoothed everything out, and everyone had pretty good lines.  Rigo even went smoothly for me, which was nice.  The Big T was a lot of fun, as usual.  It was well-padded, and while there were some big stompy holes hiding here and there, you could skirt or punch everything.  Kevin had a bit of roll practice, and Roy's boat was stuck under a rock for a little bit, but everything ended well.  The wind in the canyon was near biblical; at some points the spray that was blowing off of the tops of the waves made it tough to see downstream.  Fortunately, the wind was with us and not against us.

5.29.2011

Black Rock 2x

Made it out to black rock last Wednesday and again today, Saturday.  Flows are coming up, and should be going like gangbusters next weekend.  Wednesday was pretty uneventful, though we had a pretty huge flotilla on the water.  Today we had a swimmer just before Mr. Bill in the narrows.  He got out all right and we collected his gear.  I went too far left in rigo, trying to avoid what flipped me last weekend.  I was caught by a boil and surfed in a hole for a bit.  I ran a bit of the rapid backwards, but managed to steer things around for the bottom drop.  All's well that ends well.

5.24.2011

Black Rock

Got out for a couple of early season runs on Black Rock at low flows, around 220 cfs.  Things were smoother than I would have expected at those flows, even in the in-between stuff.  The second time around I wasn't paying enough attention in Rigor Mortis, and got flipped by one of the entrance holes.  I took two big shots to the head, then rolled up before the bottom section of the drop.  I was happy to have the full-face, but even then the shot was big enough to split my head open by about 2".  My neck is a little sore this morning, but otherwise I'm no worse for wear. 

5.20.2011

Bailey

Made it out to Bailey last weekend with some buzzards at around 300cfs.  It was cold and cloudy, but the flows were good and everything boated pretty well.  I was fairly lazy, not really taking anything as seriously as I should, which can get dangerous.  Things went fine though, even though I had some marginal lines. 

5.10.2011

Escalante

Got out to Escalante this weekend.  We were greeted with strong medium flows on Saturday, and medium-high flows on Sunday.  We had our fair share of excitement; Roy swam at waterslide on the first day, as did Bridger.  A group in front of us all swam at waterslide; one boofed onto another, resulting in a concussion and a broken orbital bone.  I swam about 5 strokes out of the scout eddy above the inner gorge; an irregular ledge flipped me and I took a couple shots when I was setting up to roll that pulled me out of my thigh braces.  I ditched my gear and swam to shore, since I didn't have much time left before I was locked into the gorge.  My boat stayed in a recirculating eddy above the falls for a couple of hours, inaccessable from shore or from below.  I hunted downstream for my paddle, since someone had seen it hurtling through the gorge.  I hiked all the way down to the cabin, thinking that my odds of finding it weren't very good past the first 1000 yards or so, but lo and behold I found it pushed up against the outside of the bend.  It was a lot of hiking, but it was worth it.  In the meantime, another crew had pushed my boat out of the eddy, and it ran the falls on the right side by itself.  It apparently stayed in there for a while, but eventually worked its way out, and by the time I made it to the take out it was sitting on shore, intact.  I'm impressed with the Prijon plastic again; it had a couple of scrapes but no dents and no cracks.
 
Sunday had pretty big med-high flows; our crew walked waterslide after the group in front of us had to extract a guy from the sieve on the left.  His crumpled Nomad was up on shore.  The in between bits were a lot of fun at those levels though, and we managed to make it through without any additional drama.

5.02.2011

Waterton

Made it out to Waterton canyon for some spring training since the cold weather shut down Escalante.  Preston and I did a few laps and tried to catch as many eddies as we could.  It was more fun than I had expected, especially trying to catch as many mid-rapid eddies as possible.  Hopefully Escalante will kick back up for next weekend.

4.29.2011

Byers Canyon

Made it out to Byers Canyon last weekend.  The run was short, and cold, and maybe not worth the trip to do again, but I'm glad we got out there to see it. 

4.11.2011

First day of the season

Got out for the first day of boating in 2011.  Preston and I headed out to the confluence for a bit of a warmup.  It was good to get back in the water, but I'll be ready for some real boating next weekend.