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Old 09-19-2006   #11
Livingston's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679
I like Milo's idea of the ++, but it would lead to confustion as there is already +'s in use.

I think the rating system used in climbing is a good solution. For those of you not familiar, roped climbs are considered 5th class, unroped would be 4th class (scrambling); I'm not really sure what 3rd and under are, perhaps steep trails to sidewalks? Anyway, roped climbs are an open ended system (5.1, 5.2, 5.3, up to the current hardest of 5.14d, maybe 5.15). There are divisions of this system too, +/- for 5.9 and under, and "a,b,c,d" for 5.10 and up.

On trad (aka tradition or gear routes where you place your own protection) routes, there is sometimes poor gear placements or shitty rock. For these routes, you might see a 5.9s or 5.9vs for "scary or very scary." Out East, they used the movie ratings system, R and X.

I like the idea of refering to a river as a III-R or III-X in the same way.


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Old 09-19-2006   #12
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
I think in climbing the R means runout and the X means if you fall you might hit something and die even with a rope.

Sooo... what about R means runout rapid as in no recovery pool and X meaning if you screw up you might very well pin in a sieve?!

ps. after slight nervousness guiding on my first commercial run of the Gauley Saturday by Sunday I was worried more about looking good in the video - so its not that hard but there are certainly consequenses for screwing up. Beyond the undercuts I would say there is some broken bone potential if you hit the dildo rock in sweets and get launched. Its a pretty sudden stop based on some of the footage I've seen.

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Old 09-19-2006   #13
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 583
I've run the Gauley several times and at different water levels. I think it gets a little tougher at low water....the left side of the river in Lost Paddle is pretty tight.

I always think of the Gauley as being Class IV+, but both my wife and I have been pinned pretty bad on the Gauley and I have seen some nasty pins.

Near the take-out for the upper, in a non-chalant rapid, I floated close to a huge rock sitting perpendicular to the current....I didn't think much about it and was just floating along side it while watching my friend surf. Then, as I got about 8 feet from the end of the rock, I noticed water flowing under the rock. I tried to paddle away from it, but the current drew me towards the rock and I went up against the rock, broadside.
I tried bracing, but flipped and got sucked under the rock. I slid under the rock with the bottom of my boat rubbing on the under side of the rock. Eventually I pinned and felt the water running past me. Tried freeing my boat, but it was stuck. Last resort, bailed and the river sucked me further under the rock. After scraping my way along the rock, I eventually reached the end of the rock and surfaced on the other side of the rock as did my boat and paddle. It was really scetchy and no-one saw what happend to me. That was on a Class I rapid.
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Old 09-19-2006   #14
Charc in = charc out
ToddG's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
it's best to regard pretty much every rock in the new river system as undercut & dangerous unless you *know* it as otherwise.

there are some rapids on the upper that are long & not exactly intuitive & worthy of a IV+ rating. getting to really know the river & all the different lines makes things seem easier, but it's still a big & intimidating river.

you can run the upper g the whole way down to like 400 cfs. the raft co's will run "summer gauley" ducky trips. it's fun to do once if for no other reason than to see what you're floating over when there's water in it (watch out for rattlesnakes). similarly, it's good to hike the meadow to see what a steeper, narrower version of the gauley looks like w/o water.

it's more fun to run the g at +10K. the surfing is unreal & there are some monsterous holes that form. at +15K sweets totally fills in & forms some scary ginormo features. pillow is hectic.
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Old 09-19-2006   #15
rhm's Avatar
steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 199
i lived in southern west virginia for ten years. the gauley runs all year long when it rains, and some local boaters get on it all the time at various water levels. however, most people only go on it at the fall flow of 2800 cfs. alot of people have ONLY seen it at the fall flow. it gets pretty easy when you can "memorize" it. this gives a false sense of security knowing that it is going to look exactly like it did last time you were on it. when a hurricaine blows up the east coast and the water comes up it gets pretty interesting. it really seperates the people who can really read water from those who just remember what they have seen before. at 4 grand iron ring becomes a huge hole that a lot of rafts flip in. at lower water between 900 and 1100 cfs iron ring becomes a very hard rapid in a kayak or a raft. i've seen it flip raft after raft and even seen people who just boated the lower meadow walk around iron ring at 1000 cfs. some other danger spots to watch out for. if you enter tumblehome on the left you will see a hole on the left side of a rock that seperates the left hand entrance from the right hand entrance. after you go through that hole ferry right unless you know the left line. there is an undercut on the bottom left just below the slot that the left current feeds into. if you find yourself needing to run the bottom left slot then boof right off of it and keep moving right. another danger spot is at the bottom of conestoga wagon. conestoga is below lost paddle, but before shipwreck rock. there is a rock that looks likje a conestoga wagon at the top of the rapid. the current pushes to the right, and then starts to turn back to the left. when it turns back to the left there is a slot to the right of the main current that you could get vertically pinned in. there is a safe slot over there also. just stay in the current and don't go exploring for slot moves there until you know where you are going. be careful on the gauley and don't become a statistic
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Old 09-20-2006   #16
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Not meaning to threadjack but with all these issues on the Gauley and the pin that I saw some pictures of the other day, why does the river warrant a festival and there's such a big deal about it? Ok, before you even start, I havent paddled back East and I dont know about the traditions, etc. Just explain it to me without going crazy.

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Old 09-20-2006   #17
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
because it is a classic. why does gore deserve a fest? why does the ark deserve a fest? troll?
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Old 09-20-2006   #18
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Well you handled the "dont go crazy" part well, thanks for your insight.
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Old 09-20-2006   #19
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
although there are hazards on the upper G, they are easy enough to aviod. if you are a 4+/5 boater, you cannot help but have a good time there. It is really a beautiful run filled with high quality rapids and excellent play (better than most in CO). Combine that with consistent releases in the fall and people travel from far away. When I was there last weekend I met people next to us in the campground from Delaware and Michigan that had driven ten hours for the weekend. It really is a great run. cheers.
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Old 09-20-2006   #20
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
gh - The hype is because it is probably the most fun river on the east coast, with big drops, great play, and even some creeky moves if you want them. It is in a beautiful gorge, far from the world. I highly recommend the pilgrimage - on a non-Festival weekend.

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