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Old 07-20-2008   #11
whitehouse3001's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jul 2007
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I've only seen videos of gore canyon, and I didn't realize that it had such a reputation for bad swims/life insurance/etc. What is it that makes for such a nasty swim there?

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Old 07-20-2008   #12
whip's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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and all the big rocks the railroad dropped in when they punched the line thru there.

No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 07-20-2008   #13
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Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
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Josh, you are hilarious...
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather...To skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW !!!! What a ride!!!!!!"
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Old 07-20-2008   #14
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Originally Posted by whitehouse3001 View Post
I've only seen videos of gore canyon, and I didn't realize that it had such a reputation for bad swims/life insurance/etc. What is it that makes for such a nasty swim there?
Any swim in any class V rapid is very dangerous. I don't run much class V because it is at the very limit of my abilities and I know from experience that the price for a mistake can be HARSH. Besides the near drowning experience, I find that the shins and knees on the rocks is just about unbearable.
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Old 07-20-2008   #15
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Rapids Rating System

You should read up on a bit of the history before you go - Capt. John Adams' first descent and Fletcher Anderson's first "successful" descent would be a good start.

Here's an oldie but a goodie: the swimmer's rapid rating system, I think the Class V description below probably reflects what to expect on Gore:

************************************************** *
Someone once asked an anonymous boater about his class IV comfort level and his answer was something like "I'm comfortable that I can usually find an eddy to swim to." Thus, the interviewer was inspired to offer this revised International Scale of River Difficulty:

Class I: Easy
Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Swimming is pleasant in the warm water and any rocks are smooth and rounded, shore easily reached. A nice break from paddling. Almost all gear and equipment is recovered. Boat is just slightly scratched.

Class II: Novice
Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Swimming to eddies requires moderate effort. Climbing out of river may involve slippery rocks and shrub induced lacerations. Paddles travel great distance downstream requiring lengthy walk. Something unimportant is missing. Boat hits large rock leaving visible dent on frame or new gash in plastic.

Class III: Intermediate
Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Water is swallowed. Legs are ground repeatedly against sharp, pointy rocks. Several eddies are missed while swimming. Difficult decision to stay with boat results in moment of terror when swimmer realizes they are downstream of boat. Paddle is recirculated in small hole way upstream. All personal possessions are removed from boat and floated in different directions. Paddling partners run along river bank shouting helpful instructions. Boat is munched against large boulder hard enough to leave series of deep gouges. Those high-end sunglasses you bragged about getting from your friend's buddy who's a rep? They looked really cool in at the put-in this morning - next time you'll be wearing el cheapo shades from the gas station.

Class IV: Advanced
Water is generally lots colder and rockier than Class III. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise swimming in turbulent water. Swimming may require 'must' moves above dangerous hazards. 'Must' moves are downgraded to 'strongly recommended' after they are missed. Sensation of disbelief experienced while about to swim large drops. Frantic swimming towards shore is alternated with frantic swimming away from shore to avoid strainers. Rocks are clung to with death grip. Paddle is completely forgotten. One bootie is sucked off your foot. Hydraulic pressure permanently removes waterproof box with all the really important stuff. Paddle partners running along bank look genuinely concerned while lofting throw ropes 20 feet behind you. Paddle partners stare slack-jawed and point in amazement at boat which finally gets pinned by major feature. Climbing up river bank involves inverted tree. One of those spring loaded pins that attaches watch to wristband is missing. Contact lenses are moved to rear of eyeballs. You won't really miss that lost bootie on the hike out because your foot will be numb from the cold until you get back to the car.

Class V: Expert
The water in this rapid is usually under 40 degrees F (if it doesn't classify as a supercooled fluid) and rocks are sharp and plentiful. Most gear is destroyed on rocks within minutes if not seconds. If the boat survives, it needs about three days of repair. You'll later reflect that term "swimming" is just a quaint misnomer here as it takes everything you've got just to make frantic movements to keep from becoming one with the rocks and to get a breath from time to time. Terror and panic sets in as you realize your paddle partners don't have a chance in hell of reaching you. You come to a true understanding of the terms like "chundered," "maytagging," and "pinballing." That hole that looked like nothing when you scouted has a hydraulic that holds you under the water until your lungs are close to bursting. You come out only to realize you still have 75% of the rapid left to swim. Swim to the eddy? What #%^&*#* eddy!? This rapid usually lasts a mile or more - before the next one. Hydraulic pressure removes everything that can come off your body within the first few seconds. This includes gloves, shoes, neoprene socks, sunlasses, hats, and clothing. The rocks take care of your fingers, toes, and ears. That $700.00 dry suit, well it might hold up to the sharp rocks. Your paddle is trash. If there is a strainer, just hope it is old and rotten so it breaks. Partners on shore are frantically trying to run and keep up with you. Their faces alternate with horror as they stare at how you are being tossed around and relief that you finally flushed out of that hole! They are trying remember how to do CPR (is it four compressions then a breath or the other way around?!?). They also really hope the cooler of beer is still intact because they are going to need a cold one by the time they get your carcass and boat out! Climbing out of this happens after the rapid is over. You may need the help of a backboard, cervical collar and Z-rig. Even though you have broken bones, lacerations, puncture wounds, missing digits & ears, and a concussion, you won't feel much because of the severe hypothermia. Your recovery time give you a chance to get caught up on those old TV shows you never had time to watch and write letters to old friends.

Class VI: World Class
Not recommended for swimming.
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 07-20-2008   #16
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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Originally Posted by producerchik View Post
I know I can do it. I'm not worried about that one bit. I'm in shape and a very good swimmer. Not to mention, I have had to swim some this summer. What does it compared to other Class V whitewater in the state? By the way, I tried to do a trip with you guys on the Poudre. I called several times, and no one returned my phone calls. I even called other outfitters, and had the same issue. I guess the Poudre isn't getting any love this summer. Too bad.
What time did you call? If you call any of the companies during business hours you shouldn't have any trouble booking a trip. I don't know what's so hard about it... I'd say try again, but the water is dropping fast and you won't get the experience you're looking for.

As for Gore, you're going to love it! It's the scariest, craziest, funnest commercial raft trip around. But I'm serious about being in shape. Every tourist that waddles into the shop tells me that they know they can do it. Self confidence and self awareness are two very different things. I'm not saying that you can't, or don't have what it takes. You've been rafting, you're young, and you're asking the right questions. I'm just trying to answer them as honestly as I can.

If I recall your previous post you mentioned swimming Seidel's before. That's not a swim, that's a dip in the pool compared to a 1/4 mile of Gore beat down! Of course you will probably portage Gore Rapid, and if you're followed my advice about who to go with you might just stay in the boat the whole time!

Maybe you should call AVA and tell them you want to run Pine Creek/Numbers with them and have them evaluate you for a Gore trip. They can help you make the decision while running a genuine class 5 rapid.

Have fun.
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Old 07-20-2008   #17
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Eagle County, Colorado
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Call Lakota and ask for Alan B. (970)-845-RAFT
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 07-20-2008   #18
Vail, Colorado
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Old 07-20-2008   #19
niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
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Originally Posted by producerchik View Post
I've been rafting all summer long, and everyone's telling me I HAVE to raft Gore Canyon. I hear it's the most complicated run in the state, maybe country. First of all, when will Gore be open to commercial rafting. And my second question, should I be scared? I had one person tell me I need to make sure I have life insurance. Then I had one raft guide say he refuses to do Gore Canyon. I've seen lots of video of Gore Canyon. With a great guide, I totallly think it will be awesome.
"and you can't get someone to run with you on the Poudre" HMMMM- Perhaps you should add to your rafting resume Granite/Pine Creek, Crystal, Cross, and certain sections of Clear Creek before you do this- then and only then will should you even consider Gore Canyon. Maybe not even then. I like the suggestions here to PAY MONEY and run it commercially when it's being run. May just save your life. Better yet, call Clear Creek Rafting and PAY to run the class 5 sections of Clear Creek- that should give you some sort of an idea of what you are getting yourself into. At least THEY know what it's like to run Gore- they participate in the race every year. And if you can't find folks to run it, ----- pay attention here--- maybe they are keeping your best interests at heart- and remember- they aren't inviting you on the Poudre either. What's up with that? And the Poudre isn't even a good warmup for Gore. Over the years, I've personally turned down plenty of people who wanted to run it with me. And as far as the 'scared' comment--- you really need to stop the BS here and consider the swims. I've swam gore falls after coming out of a raft, and was lucky enough to have someone hit me with a bag. I guess you could say I was 'scared'- focused might be a better word. Are the people you are going with (unless you are considering running solo(?)) able to nail you with a throw bag the first time- because there will only be a first time- or none at all. SERIOUS rafters do run Gore- and some- a rare few---- have run it successfully more than once- and at least one I know personally rafted it MANY times- in an oar frame, and most of those runs were solo- but that doesn't mean that other rafters should run it at all. So here's a good question- what have you SWAM? Maybe that's a better qualifier. Choose your crew wisely if you go- you may just have to rely upon them to save your life. Oh and with regard to your sources talking about Gore being the "toughest" in the "country'- what country? If you really want your butt kicked in raft, try Tumwater canyon outside of Leavenworth, Washington- or Icicle Creek in the same area, or any class V high volume river in the state of Washington- or Idaho- or maybe the Upper Box in Taos--- if you REALLY are willing to really put it all on the line. But it shouldn't just be about putting it all on the line should it? I personally like to do my runs with style- not just survive. If this sounds harsh, its only because I speak from experience. Boat safe and Good Luck.
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Old 07-20-2008   #20
xena13's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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Originally Posted by Randaddy View Post
Maybe you should call AVA and tell them you want to run Pine Creek/Numbers with them and have them evaluate you for a Gore trip. They can help you make the decision while running a genuine class 5 rapid.
This is a great idea. If you want to run the entire Pine Creek Rapid, wait until the water level gets below 1000 cfs. They portage the 1st part of the rapid and put in right by Pine Creek hole at levels higher than 1000 cfs.

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