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Old 07-11-2006   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Big Thompson Beta

Big T is up and I'm heading up this afternoon. I did from about a mile above drake to the second dam earlier this season when it ran. CRC has info on the section below the first dam. Reading stuff Brian Adkins put on eddyflower, the 3 miles from the hair section down to drake is fun with two IV+ rapids. So the entire thing, 3 miles above drake to the second dam is too long for an afterwork run. If I remember correctly things kind of petered out towards the end anyway. What is a good afterwork run? What do folks generally run? The 3 miles from the hair to drake sounds good. Sounds like it could be extended too. Are there any good takeout options after the first dam so that you get that steep section too, but not all the way to the 2nd dam takeout? That seems like it would be about a 5-6 mile run. Interested in thoughts for a prime IV/IV+ after work run below the hair section.


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Old 07-11-2006   #2
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Those two IV+ rapids are pretty stompy at this level (450), and even the busy water has some big munchy holes that can get you if you're not expecting it. Scout when you're shuttling, and know that the section just below the Dam is meaty too. The last drop of that hair section boats easier than it looks at this level, so give that a look 'cause it's steep and fun. Wish I could jump on this week, but I'm out of commission. Definitely one of my favorite front-range runs, and this level is really fun..

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Old 07-11-2006   #3
ski_kayak365's Avatar
Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
Our afterwork group is meeting at Drake between 6 and 630pm today. Planning on running the 3 miles between the bottom of the hair and Drake. Meet there if your interested.

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Old 07-11-2006   #4
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 458
deepsouth, those two rapids you speak of are class V at this flow. they are clean but you probably want to scout those if you haven't looked at them before. everything below that, down to the canyon mouth, is read and run IV/IV+ boogie.

yesterday we ran the 3miles above drake to the park (just shy of the second dam). the run took us 1.5hrs. at this level the entire run is good down to the canyon mouth, so if you have more time i would suggest pladding on down.

don't miss it while it's up, it's an awesome run at this level.
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Old 07-11-2006   #5
bouldrmatty's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137
Our run last night....

We ran from the Idlewild (sp) Damn to the diversion damn (4mi ?) last night. I dont know the name of the lower diversion damn where we took out, but you will know what I am talking about cause below the damn the flow looks to be 200cfs, and above is 500cfs..

I believe this water is diverted to Carter Lake.

So the run we did starts Below Idlewild, for a couple of miles of class 4, a 4+, and through to Viestures Park. After the park, there is a couple more 4 to 4+ drops, and then eases for the last 1.5 miles to the diversion damn.

This is a great run for those getting into the 4/4+ creeking.. The other option for the after work run is from the hair to the Idlewild damn. The run eases when you get to Drake.
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Old 07-11-2006   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Thanks folks, exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 07-11-2006   #7
Loveland, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 510

Saw Bouldrmatty's post and wanted to chime in a bit just to share some info:

The lower diversion dam, right before the narrows section, is called the Dille Diversion Dam. It does not divert water to Carter Lake (that diversion comes out of Lake Estes). Water from Dille goes through the Dille Tunnel to the Charles Hansen Feeder Canal that rings along the foothills between Flatiron and Horsetooth reservoirs. It also crosses the Big Thompson at the canyon mouth (via the big brown--I mean "ecru"--tube). The Dille diversion puts water into the canal and we generate hydro-power with it at the Big Thompson Power Plant there by the Dam Store. The water drops from the canal about 180 feet down to the power plant.

You'll notice the flows in the Big Thompson go back up again after the Dam Store--if the Handy Ditch isn't diverting. We "borrow" water from the river at Dille Dam, taking it out for a little more than a mile for extra power generation during the summer months, then put it back. There is an instream flow on this section of the river, so we cannot borrow water at harm to instream fish and wildlife.

Thought that might be interesting to know...
Kara Lamb
Public Information
Eastern Colorado Office
Bureau of Reclamation
(970) 962-4326
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Old 07-11-2006   #8
bouldrmatty's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137

Thanks Kara, ever since I started kayaking, my knowledge of Hydrology has really increased. I am amazed by the amount of diversions through the state, and how water can be moved and utilized.... Amazing..

On a kayaking note, can anyone chime in on the comparison to what I did last night (Idlewild down to Dille Diversion Dam) to just below the class 5 upper section to Drake. I believe there are a few 4+ drops right after the class 5, and was wondering if they were easier, or significantly harder than the 4/4+ below Idlewild?

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Old 07-11-2006   #9
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
the section below the gnars down to drake is harder than Idlewild. At the current flow, you can expect two rapids in the V- range that are significantly bigger than anything on the Idlewild stretch. The rest of the run is similar in difficulty, but moves pretty fast with few eddies. It is a great run, you could portage all or part of the bigger drops if you pre-scout your take-out eddies to keep the difficulty level similar to the lower run. git sum.
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Old 07-11-2006   #10
bouldrmatty's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137

Kool.. See you all up there tonight....

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