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Old 01-20-2004   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Has Anyone Rafted/ Kayaked the upper Animas River?

This summer I would like to kayak the class 4 section of the Animas from the Silverton down to the Tacoma Power plant. I've heard there is some class 5 water within the run. Has anyone ever boated this section? If so I would really appreciate any information about the run itself as well as the best places to take out or portage to avoid a "hair run".

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Old 01-20-2004   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
I kayak. They rate 2 or 3 of the rapids in the first 25 miles as class 5, but they are easy to run, easy to scout, and easy to portage. CRC2 gives pretty good info on where they are, and if I remember correctly they are pretty easy to see from above. Low flows make this a scenic and easy run. Higher flows (I ran it at 4500 or so once) make the run one continuous and large wave train. Not hard, but you have to paddle like hell in certain rapids to avoid the holes.

The bottom 2 miles (all of the Rockwood Box) contains the only true class V in my opinion. Take out at the last railroad bridge, and what I believe is the highest bridge. Get out on the river right bank, hike to the tracks, and scout the whole thing. About 1/4 mile down there is a river wide tree with no portage. At low water it was 6 feet above my head. At high water I had a nine inch gap to squeeze under on the far right. Not a bad idea to scout the takeout either. Then either go or don't, and memorize the lines to save you time and energy in the box. Remember, you are looking down on the river, so that small whole may actually be a large pourover.

The guide book gives pretty good information from what I remember. Plan on a long long day, 27 miles can be pretty taxing.

Kyle McCutchen

Kyle McCutchen
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Old 01-21-2004   #3
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 75
IMO you should NOT attempt this stretch unless you are a SOLID class IV boater. Even at low flows the rapids can require you to avoid very nasty holes. The upper A is not an easy run.

No disrespect to Cutch when he says this is an easy run but consider the source. He is a very accomplished paddler with many many miles of serious class V under his belt.

Cutch is right in pointing out that you will know when to scout, with one exception,,,10 mile rapid which can sneak up on you if you aren't aware that you should be looking.

You needn't be concerned with the Rockwood Box (class V) since you intend to take out at Tacoma. Just don't float by the take out because once you're in the Box there's no way out.
Cutch is also right in suggesting Colorado Rivers and Creeks 2nd Ed (CRC2 also known as "The Bible") as a great source for further info.

This stretch of water is one of my top 5 all time favorites for its fantastic scenery and its fun (and not too daunting) drops.

hope this helps
Stay Wet
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Old 01-23-2004   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Hey thanks for the imput! It's great to have a little advice on what's most important in a river run.
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Old 01-23-2004   #5
bum, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 72
I boated that strech as a guide a few years ago, It was great and very beatiful. One thing for sure, make sure you dress for the cold. No matter what time of year, bring gloves and a beanie, The water is cold!!!!

Have fun and be safe!!
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