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Old 06-16-2011   #21
Buena Vista/Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 67
Just to clarify, so that I don't misrepresent some of the folks in our group... a couple of the paddlers in our group did not feel quite the same level of concern/sketchiness at rock fall, or elsewhere, nor did they feel that they were close to any deathly mistakes around rockfall. The whole lot of us are experienced class 5 boaters, though those guys are more confident/solid boaters than I am, were in control of their actions, and we were glad to have them in our group. It's good to note that they share a different perspective, and would happily recommend this flow to other strong boaters. Just didn't want to misrepresent them. People have different perspectives and they're all valid. Just good to get some info out. We all had an awesome trip, thanks for taking the lead Brian and Scott.

Swiftwater Rescue training, Leadership and Team Development Sailing Voyages.

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Old 06-16-2011   #22
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 9
I've only been down the Upper Box twice. In 1998 at 850 and this year at 600. Rock fall did seem different this year like either new sieve's opened up or old ones got bigger. Utah River Runner Guide says over 450 the center chute is runnable, but this year at 600 it was not yet good to go. I know the gauge had some serious issues a number of years back, and maybe this and/or a changing riverbed has made a difference in the reading vs the true flow.
I recalled from '98 that getting out of the tiny scout eddy was truely frightening and I nearly got sucked under the scout rocks, but the center chute run itself was pretty chill. I do remember fighting to stay off the river left undercut wall in the runout, but I don't remember it being as squirrly as it was at 650.
Most of the run had more swirls and boils than I remembered actually, but it was just as awesome and beautiful as I recalled and would recommend the run to boater with the skills and safe attitude necessary.
I will add some more details to the Eddyflower description in the near future. I will consider the above coments and certainly welcome other suggestions. email me at theblindprobe@yahoo.com with any thoughts, or if you have some pics you would like added to that or the second box detail. Include photographer name, paddler names, rapid name (if not obvious) and any captions if you would like.

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Old 06-17-2011   #23
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Sammer, all in jest. Really I just like saying arrogant sandbaggers over and over again. The Black Boxes are seriously amazing, wish I had time to get out there and do it again. Stoked you guys got it and Doublet too, luckys. Also Carpor is right, combining the Black Boxes with the Left Huntington and cottonwood creek makes a super awesome Utah trip.
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 06-17-2011   #24
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 55
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I was on this epic adventure with Sammer and crew and didn't think it was quite as bad as Sammer made it seam in his original post. I'm not totally discrediting his recount as this is a committing stretch of river with some serious consequences if one isn't prepared; not only physically but also mentally.

WWSR provided more than enough beta in my opinion and a chat with Doublet and his crew confirmed most of what we had already thought to expect, but with some clarification and a little more detail that really helped.

Rockfall rapid was definitely the sketchiest part of the run, especially for the first paddler to make it to the eddy having never done it before. I was totally comfortable pulling into said eddy with assistance. The seal launch wasn't as bad as it looked and the boils and turbulent water are something to be expected in a place like that.

The second box was my favorite, truly amazing canyon with some fun drops. Running blind just makes it that much more exciting! And the float out is so awesome!

I thoroughly enjoyed this run and would totally recommend it even at the higher flows, just know what your getting yourself into. There is still plenty of water in there, get after it!
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Old 06-18-2011   #25
~Bank's Avatar
Ashville North Carolina, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 274
I completed a no Portage run of the 40 mile stretch. What an awesome place. The flow was good @ (1300cfs +or - 200cfs). The slots were amazing while very committing. Class five skills will help you out. Class four boaters would be pushing limits. It looked like you would be safe to swim just about anywhere except above any one of the undertows flowing through submerged rocks. Most of the drops have good recovery pools with small beaches or rock piles for gear/boater recovery if you need it. The rapids would run smoother and faster with more water. Portage or die went well on the right, the left line also looked good to go. More water would create new awesome boofs and some larger holes. I scraped a flat hard to see rock in the right side of the hole above the boof in the middle line of Rockfall that robbed me of my speed. I had no other option than to run the right line backwards. Looking over my shoulder I got a good look down the right side from the lip. It looked like you could run the right side forward and up-right with left boat angle without flushing into the undercut like I did backwards left to right. I scouted thoroughly before I decided that the right channel with the undercut looked like it was flushing well enough for me to commit. I knew if I went left it could be worse. Saftey was waiting for me to screw it up at the sieve on the left. I was counting on him to guide me over the seal drop if I went that way. Swimming that way would be shitty if you could not get out. There is a flat pool of water leading to the lip of Rockfall, from there you can see the must make move on the left to catch the eddy. This active avalanche zone should be treated with respect. There are many exciting read and run drops in the boxes. When in doubt go left everywhere except @ Rockfall it’s important to get center or right to avoid the sucking hazard on the left if you miss the scout eddy. The flat water was moving fast and the sightseeing was some of the best I’ve experienced. Great trip with great people, I would be happy to go again. The Black Boxes are an experience that should be enjoyed by every boater who has the skills and mindset.
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Old 06-28-2011   #26
SLC, Utah
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3
I would just like to add for the record that we ran it on June 10-11. The gage read between 1000 and 1100. Weeping wall was the toughest run as the pourover was a big hole and most of us went for a pretty good ride in there. Rockfall is definately the sketchiest and we all portaged. Getting to that middle boof seemed difficult and the consequences for missing it were high. I thought the take out eddy was easy. We took out on the left above the sieve maybe 10-15 feet and a couple vertical feet. No worries and we did not even assist each other though we did go one at a time. The seal launch for us was about 3-4 feet into boiling water. One of us got sucked back and flipped in that hole but recovered.

The second box had two blind drops at our level, 7-8 great rapids and some good holes. Everything went well though. One of the coolest runs I have ever done.

I thought 1100 was a great level but you do need a solid crew. I would run it a little higher but not much. I am no hard core boater but we did have a few in our group.

One other note I want to make. We did the car camp thing between the boxes and the access road to the car is on the left immediately after the first box ends. We thought it was a couple miles and ended up doing some serious backtracking. Maybe that is because we are idiots but we did figure it out eventually.

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Old 06-28-2011   #27
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 403
Cottonwood is at 1,000 and is one of the finest Class IV-IV+ rivers in the country right now. Super fun, juicy rapids.

Left Fork Huntington is at the mythical 5 star level from the New Testament, I am not sure how much people have run it at this level before, I have never seen a TR, but we ran it Saturday at 150% of normal and it was an incredible day. Beautiful, juicy slides and top notch river running. It was definite Class 5 teamwork eddy hopping, scouting, routing and moving quick. It took us 4-5 hours and we did'nt screw around. Only 3 log portages and all the drops were clean, but lots of quick scouts for logs. Normally this run is a Class IV OBJ. At this level the rapids were still pretty much IV+ slides with big holes, but the river running was similar to a class V wilderness run where you really have to work as a team scouting for logs and swims could turn bad quick. The times I have done this run I am amazed at how the slides just keep going. When you think you are almost done, you are just getting to some of the bigger ones.

No telling how many years until these runs are at this flow again. Not sure how long they will stay.
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Old 06-28-2011   #28
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Wolcott, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 432
Hey Crapor,
Thanks for the Beta. Gonna try to wrangle some folks to head out there. Any beta on upper Ferron creek? No description on eddyflower and I dont have the bible with me. Thanks JD
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Old 06-29-2011   #29
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
More beta and updates from the area.

Austin Woody and I ran the 2nd Black Box on Saturday 6/25. The flow that afternoon while we were on the water was 1820cfs on the gauge. We scouted the 1st box at Rockfall from the rim and it looked huge and unportageable. The 2nd box was pretty intense at that level. The first drop is a stout and blind class V, requiring a center left entrance and plugging under a big hole, then punching a second hole. The second drop has an eddy and a scout vantage. The drop itself has some crazy funny water after it pinches and falls to two sides of a chockstone. It took me a good 20 strokes to clear the choppy slack water. The exit of that drop leads into a sweeping left slot canyon turn about 10 feet wide. The water was boiling off of both walls... super erie. At the third drop (another blind and unportageable) we entered on center left, and then made a move to the right. The fourth drop was a center right to left move of sorts. The 5th or 6th drop is the very pronounced ledge hole on river left (maybe someone can clarify my counting), and we ran a sneak line on the far right. This was the only other drop besides the second that we could easily scout. The 7th drop was particularly unerving since a tree backendered in the holes as we were approaching the lip. We charged center to left.

I recall 7 large drops that we navigated in the crux of the 2nd box. We were only able to scout two of them. The rapids were big water class V in feel... mostly punching and plugging holes deep as opposed to being able to boof anything. A few of the drops might have been portageable, but the first 3 are not and a swim would be horrifying. The side channels had high risk of sieves so we felt better off taking the center flow meat lines. The paddle in and out are beautiful. The entire run took us just under 4 hours. I don't think I would go in at a level any higher than what we had because the first drop is getting pretty full on, and the 2nd drop seems like it could be a no go at certain levels (because you can't paddle downstream out of the eddy water).

On Sunday we were fortunate enough to enjoy Cottonwood Creek's Straight Canyon in the morning, and that run is super high quality. We hit LF Huntington in the afternoon, and I can confirm that it was definitely at a five star level. The slides are tons of fun. We had three portages around wood, boofed over two logs, and everything ran smooth. We had a good vibe about the wood situation and used the force so we didn't scout. We ran Cottonwood Creek in about 45 minutes and LF Hungtington in 1 hour, so strong groups certainly have plenty of time to run laps, and/or run both in the same day.

Utah is the shit right now. Get some!
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 06-29-2011   #30
Boof like a Utard.
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Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 118
Cutch and Crapador: Thanks for the TR's. LF is next on the list.
JDHog: Ferron isn't in WWSR, but it's in the Utah book by Nichols. I ran lower Ferron a few weeks ago at (600-800) and it was fast, class IV mank. We intended to run the lower, then the upper, but opted for two laps on the lower since it was running so high. We put-in at the campground and took out at the gauge.

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