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Old 03-15-2007   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Fremont River in UT is running

The little known Fremont River in central UT is running, and on the rise. Our expert UT creek and flow analysts Tim Payne, Sam Chesley and Chris Smith bagged a descent last Saturday at minimal flow. The photos looked good, but more importantly the flows are improving. Although it may dissapoint if you are looking for hard whitewater, the steep mank can be entertaining, and more importantly, it's a very cool slot-like canyon to paddle through. If the flows drop out be willing to head to the nearby slot canyons, or bring a mtn bike for fruita.

Something to consider for this weekend if you want an adventure and prefer to drive as much as you prefer to kayak.

The full run description from Tim Payne:

"The Fremont is an excellent wilderness run that transects the Waterpocket Fold, the uplift that creates Capitol Reef National Park. The trick on this run is to catch it with enough water. You want at least 150 cfs, but you can bash your way through as low as 100 cfs, as long as youíre in your brotherís boat. Our recent run was at 120 cfs and it was very abusive but worth the bonking just to see the place. Camp at the main campground in Capitol Reef, this is the takeout, and put in where Highway 12 crosses the Fremont, just south of Torrey. The run is 9 miles, plan on about 6 hours the first time. Consider putting in late morning to catch optimal flow.
The first two or three miles are mellow class II, things start to get exciting when the canyon closes in. Eddies are small and infrequent on this run. Most of the beginning rapids are straightforward , although blind, class III. When the boulder bashing becomes horizon line scouting, and the drops become class IV, you are near Hangover Falls, the first Class V. Itís easily recognized by the house sized boulder that hangs over the channel from river left. Shortly after this junky, abrupt drop thereís a 15 footer into a deep pool, the lip of this drop has become less crisp in recent years. About 200 yards below Lower Hangover Falls is the next class V, Chunderbunny. You donít want to stumble into this mess, its crux is an 8 foot drop where most of the river smashes into an awful boulder. You can sneak this, but itís not pretty. If youíre thinking about running these drops you should scout Hangover to Chunderbunny together, things happen fast in here. A quarter mile and a few class IVs later, the final V, Fledgling Falls, sneaks up on you. Fledgling is notorious for luring paddlers in with its innocuous entry, and soon theyíre paddling for their life. Donít miss the scouting eddy, and if you do, avoid the nasty sieve on the left of this drop. Portage left, and look for the pictographs. For the next two miles the canyon is very tight, several hundred feet deep, and beautiful. There are a few nasty, pinny jumbles below fledgling, but the whitewater eases soon and itís just a few miles of fast, willow in your eyeball class II to the takeout."

If I get motivated I'll post a photo...

Kyle McCutchen
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Old 03-15-2007   #2
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 211
Hey Cutch, how's it up in the real world?
I have been watchin this creek for the last week. Some Durango boys are talkin' bout leavin tomorrow night. With the flows double from last weekend, do you think it is worth the 5.5 hour drive over? Does it get out of control slot canyon like at big levels like >300cfs. Thanks, Juanny
p.s.- New book goin' well? Burnout much? Don't worry I am talking everyone I know into buying at least one.

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Old 03-15-2007   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
floaty, things are good in the real world. Book is done, I'm so happy. It looks ridiculous. They're printing the first bound copies tonight.

I think we are going to go tomorrow night. I've never run it, but the higher the better from what I've heard. I think it will be worth the adventure, but don't go for a weekend packed full of hard whitewater. The quality could be great if the flows stay high. You guys should go (although NM would be good also).
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 03-16-2007   #4
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 211
NM? Closer. UT? New run. We are not sure yet. Might have to sell a kindey this season just to afford gas. I guess it is just good to have options. Juanny
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Old 03-18-2007   #5
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 22
Cutch, where'd you dig up this run description from Stinky Tim Payne?
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Old 03-19-2007   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Pierce, Tim emailed the description and pics to me last week.

Was bummed we didn't meet up with any other paddlers this past weekend, but it was a fun trip. Kind of a cross between Bear Creek, Willow Creek, and low water Escalante Crk. Tons of brush on the shoreline, and it encroached into the streambed a lot in places. Tight and steep rapids with big boofs and undercuts and sieves for the off line paddler. The 12 footer is sweet. I wouldn't run it any lower than the flow we had Sunday, but the rapids were approaching V+ at those flows, and portaging is not easy due to the brush.

Best of all, its in the middle of Utah, and we had temps in the low 80's.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 03-22-2007   #7
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 22
Tim Payne left a threatening message on my answering machine, so I'd like to publicly apologize for calling him "Stinky".

Mike Pierce
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Old 03-22-2007   #8
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 557
I was with kyle at the fremont and looking at the graph, we had about 200cfs on saturday and 300cfs on sunday. After the run on saturday, I didn't want to go back. After sunday, I was psyched. Most of the run is manky as hell, but with 300cfs, it padded out a little. I would say 350 would be optimum, however the main 4 drops would be pretty burly but good. Moving around on shore is a pain in the ass due to a lot of bushes. Eddies were scarce at 300.

Pinning is your most serious concern on this creek. And a poorly placed log could be bad. we had no wood issues though. If you like Eldo, the Fremont will be fun for you.

Oh, and don't run the last drop blind.
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Old 03-23-2007   #9
placerville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 732
kyle, are there desciptions of this and other utah runs in your new book?
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Old 03-23-2007   #10
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 71
Steven, we have a brief "get you there" description of the Fremont in the new book. It's sufficient for how often the Fremont actually runs. We checked the gauges on it for six weeks straight last year and it never ran. Stoked to get it this year.

We have more detailed descriptions and photos of tons of other UT runs.

Escalante this weekend? We might make a trip.

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