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Old 06-04-2008   #1
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Cataract Canyon

I have a raft trip on Cataract next week and wonder if anyone has been down there recently and how the big drops treated you. Thinking about canceling the trip.

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Old 06-04-2008   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310
Big Drops

Kayaked it a week ago. Big drops are straight forward, simple, and huge. In a raft I'd pull over on river left above big drop 1 to scout all three, then run all three at once. Obviously, Little Niagra and Satan's Gut are massive, and flipped 2 26 ft J-rigs 2 weeks ago when it reached 64000. I wouldn't recommend hitting those. Also, above 50000cfs the park rescue boat is out.

Also, rapid 7 is huge, though it can be seen for nearly a mile away. Really pushy, and is at the end of a huge 'S' in the river. Rapid 13 (beginning of Mile Long?) is pretty big.

It's a fun level if you're up for it.


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Old 06-04-2008   #3
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 79
I know it's been posted here before,

but here are some highwater videos from NPS

Canyonlands National Park - High Water Videos (U.S. National Park Service)

above 50k cfs I think. Pretty intense.
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Old 06-04-2008   #4
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if you are thinking of cancelling you probably should. it is huge unforgiving pushy water at these levels. eddylines that will flip rafts, waves that swell up out of nowhere etc etc. if you arent versed in that type of thing..............

however, if you have seen it at say, 30k this may be the next step up, albiet a big step up.
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Old 06-04-2008   #5
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Posts: 2,910
I was on a Westwater trip spring before last with a group of old timer canyon country boaters, about half of them had guided Cat and/or the Grand back in the day. By my estmate, among a dozen of us around the fire, there were about two and a half centuries of Western river rafting experience - I was the junior boater by far. The topic got around to Cat at high water and different guys told some of their stories - you could tell they all knew the stretch of river intimately. After awhile the consensus was pretty clear: "been there, done that, don't need to do it again."

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 06-04-2008   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
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We were on Cat several days ago when it was running 51,000. The kayaks had it easy compared to the rafts. Three out of four rafts flipped and most of the swimmers swam straight into the Gut. Dave's comments are right-on about the Big Drops when it's running >50,000. The canyon and it's ocean-like surges are mesmerizing and beautiful. If you have some big water(4+) experience and the folks you're boating with are a strong exerienced group that you can count on, then go for it. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
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Old 06-06-2008   #7
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
per 50K cfs...a group of boaters actually going to get handed to got handed to...18 boaters 13 swimmers.

You are not to go on Cat at high water unless you are there for the high water. Go later if you are going to float and swim and relax with a day of serious rapid fun...right now the water is fuckin cold, the waves are 20-30 feet in spots and it is rediculas to catch eddies in a raft.
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 06-07-2008   #8
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
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cancelled the trip till the fall

Thanks everyone. We decided to cancel the cat trip till the water goes down a bit. Going to do Loma to Moab instead. Still should be some fun to be had!

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cataract, cataract canyon

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