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Old 06-09-2009   #11
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 154
As said before, 14 footers are run down there all the time.

August water should be good fun. 14,000 - 18,000 or so last year, I think. Although every year is different, and there's no telling what they will end up releasing. If it's that high, the gorge will be fun. You should be able to split the horns in Horn. You can still split those at pretty low levels. The right run at Crystal will be a bit more open. Hermit will be a ridiculous amount of fun. Keep 'er straight, push like hell, and get out of the wave train before the 10th wave. At those levels it eats boats. Weight and momentum are your friends. Have Fun!!!!

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Old 06-09-2009   #12
lmaciag's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
My raft is a little over 14' and I took her down in November after 6 months on the oars (but several years of kayaking before that). I was very happy with the size of the boat. No flips, but two swims in smaller rapids. One thinking I was past the sleeper hole in the runout (thus sideways looking up stream) and the other being distracted by a passenger and missed by one stroke. Almost got bumped by the V in Lava. I had a friend bet that I'd flip 5 times. He still hasn't paid up.

Pay attention. I was pretty heavy (an inch or two below the line at Lees), but think that was to my advantage. I was still able to move to where I wanted to be, but helped me punch in other places. It's all in the setup!

I thought about borrowing a 16', but decided to stick with the boat that I know.

Keep up with the map/guidebook... we spread out a bit above 209 and it resulted in a flip in that rapid b/c they didn't know where they were.

Some things are harder at low water, some at higher water.


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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Old 06-09-2009   #13
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Originally Posted by UserName View Post
"The more than likely your gonna flip" comment is uncalled for in my opinion. Nothing wrong with a 14'er down there. Trade off is 14'er is more maneuverable / 18'er more stable/holds momentum. I'd rather be maneuverable and in the right place faster than stable and still struggling to get there. Definitely arguments both ways though.

Pffft,"uncalled for?" Waaah. I knew that there would be some jackwhip who would cry a river cause i said 14footers are more than likely gonna flip. Congrats,your him. Like i said,"PLENTY of people do it in 14fters and do just fine." Your odds of flippin are still greater in a 14fter.And a 14footer loaded to the max,and then some, is not gonna perform as well as you'd love to make yourself believe. I wish i could remember thinking of a spot,or even an eddy, that i was "struggling to get to" in my big,slow 18fter.

Like a wise,old river bud told me-"Its always the Indian,never the arrow."

Edit: And if you wanna split the horns then scout it well. There's some rocks in there(not the horns) that you can't see from most places. And like lmaciag said---its all in the setup
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Old 06-09-2009   #14
Fuzzy's Avatar
Knife Fork of the Spoon Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 365
If you can get your hands on the 16 why not. More beer room you'll need it
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Old 06-09-2009   #15
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
I've been down there with 12' to 18 footers. I think a 16' is the best compromise if you have the option. They are all fun.
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Old 06-09-2009   #16
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Originally Posted by BarryDingle View Post
This is my favorite word today. It's one of those days.

We split the horns, no scout (we didn't scout many). That was freaking FUN! It sure helps to follow someone whose been down many times.

Shoot, we ended up split before 209 too. I had a relief rower. I looked up when I heard the rapid, asked her if she wanted to row it, then I saw the hole shoot a geyser for just a second. I jumped to the oars and I think I was about an inch away from it as I went by. Whew!
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 06-09-2009   #17
Mapleton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 35
Yeah, 209 is a boat eater, we don't even take Jrigs in there. The left run at Crystal is fun if you know where you're going. I did my first and only private in Oct-Nov of 07, we had 14 people and 8 of us were GCRG's. we had 4 18's 1 16' and one 14' and on kayaker (me) No flips,No swims. we were hurrying through some of the more popular spots, passed up elves, pulled into the mouth of havazoo and pulled right back out, trying to hit the spots we rarely see when working, had a couple other private groups tell us "Hey, slow down, there is a lot of canyon to see" Yep thanks for that, have fun up havazoo. So my advice is take your 14 if you're comfortable with it, if not get a 18 and load her down. Have fun, if you need Ice beg it off of western boats and tell em Newty sent ya!
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Old 06-09-2009   #18
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 18
You can get 250 lbs of beer in the front bay of a 16' (3 people, 25 days to Pierce, end up with enough beer for the de-rig). You can't get that much in a 14'. Cargo space is important if your group is not very conservative with the gear.

In the couple trips I've done, it's the 15' (Upset) and 19' (209) boats that flip, though the 14' give a sporty ride. As others said, it's far more about who is behind the oars.
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Old 06-09-2009   #19
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
Cheers to the 14 footer! I ran the grand in an 18' and thankfully didn't flip anywhere but sure wished for the maneuverability of a 14er in a couple of rapids....Bedrock, name a couple. On the flipside (pun intended) I was thankful for my 18'er when i hit the V wave in lava and the monster hole after the V wave. Both sizes have prose and cons (getcher mind outa the gutter). Overall, 14 or 18, rain or shine, upstream or downstream winds, beer or coffee (or both), the GRAND is F*in awesome and you'll have a great time!
Be sure to post some pics and stories when you return!

"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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