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Old 08-18-2011   #1
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7
Catamount to Dotsero rapids

I've been a bow flower on many trips, but have very little experience actually rowing a raft. I'm going to be rowing a 16' raft from Catamount to Dotsero this weekend. Can anyone give me some advice on Rodeo Rapid and Pinball?

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Old 08-18-2011   #2
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FtC / Rancho del Rio, Colorado
Paddling Since: 8AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 378
ya know i've wondered this myself.
i've done pumphouse a ton, but never been below rancho. i was thinking about a trip from rancho to dotsero or even down to hanging lake exit above barrel springs. it's not a section written about in most guide books. i'm sure there's a ton of flat water in there, but what are the rapids like?? i assume nothing much bigger than on pumphouse??
anyone know how far it is from rancho to hanging lake??


All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.
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Old 08-18-2011   #3
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Contrary to popular belief, there are some real rapids below Catamount. You need to be prepared to avoid railroad bridge abutments and other things that could give a novice rower trouble. I think you can scout most of these from the road, someone else will need to provide detail.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 08-18-2011   #4
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Lower Upper C

Yes, Railroad bridge abutments are definately something to avoid. My first trip down I saw what appeared to be a kayak wrapped around the bridge abutment below the giant water wheel. Actaully turned out to be a dory. Guy must have been drunk because it was not that hard to miss. I will say that Rodeo surprised me with its difficulty (Low water III). Basically, it is a drop with plenty of rocks right after a horizon line. So it does take a little maneuvering. In other words, you can't line up and give her hell, you got to move around. From what I remember, and this was five years ago, you enter center (maybe a little right of center) and move right then have to come back towards the center. Obviously, it might have changed since then. You should be able to see the horizon line and even hear the rapid from a little ways off. So yeah, pull over river right and scout from the road. I have no idea where pinball is nor do I remember it, but this doesn't really mean anything.
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Old 08-18-2011   #5
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Colotucky, USA
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We did it last year pinball was a drop gpin bow first thepull back to the left, you can scout it from the road.
The double bridges I completly screwd up in but was able to get out of it stay river right through the bridge abutments and by that I mean run it through the right side of the right abutment, there is alot of pointy metal thingies that will fuck up a raft in the right circumstances. The rapids after the bridges are fun as hell and easy to run. Watch out for the rapids @ an 1 hour or so down as in low water it is bony as hell.
Thefishing is great on that section we caught 3 in 20 minutes
Who's your monkey?
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Old 08-19-2011   #6
RFV, Colorado
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rodeo rapid

Yep, Go all the way right under the railroad double bridge. Rodeo is boney as hell. Enter center/right pull in to the center it's really fast and alot of rocks comin at ya. Be careful of the hole at the bottom. Don't hit it!
Big Dave
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Old 08-19-2011   #7
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
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Thanks for you help and comments. I will definitely be prepared for some moves.
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Old 08-19-2011   #8
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
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just did the stretch from catamount to cottonwood this weekend. For rodeo, we went left of the pointy rock in the middle and hugged the left line riding out the left wave train. right is the easier, more straight forward line, with a big eddy to regroup in . much more water than when we did the trip last year, most of the oar blade snapping rocks are covered. there are some moves to make on the left line, but if you slide right less so. all our boats chose the more fun left line.

Pinball was left line, pick thru the rocks til you get to the bridge and that way you are lined up to go thru the left side of the bridge. Couple of other fun rapids at this level thru to the ranch.

Water moved along nicely, trip was quite a bit shorter than years past. (4-5 hours each section) one big strainer tree in a bridge at the lower ranch section, but you are going slow and can see it a mile away.

bring a rod. fishing was great.
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Old 08-19-2011   #9
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Golden, CO
Paddling Since: 1856
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What is the main risk at Rodeo, wrapping or damaging your boat on sharp rocks? I checked this one out from the road once and thought it kind of threw a monkey wrench into an otherwise easy carefree stretch of river.
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Old 08-19-2011   #10
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
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last year, at lower flows, there was a boat that flipped, and another that dump trucked in the lower left hole. that hole was just a big wave and wave train last week. there is a sharp looking rock dead center of the run that could tear a boat, probably not going to wrap you though. its easy enough to go one side or the other. a little more maneuvering around obstacles than yarmony or eye of the needle, but big ,safe landing area and you can scope it out from the road.

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