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Old 12-02-2010   #31
yakkeranna's Avatar
Canberra, OZ
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 168
I haven't been rowing recently? Psh, I took my fully loaded raft off a 10ft waterfall just a few weeks ago.

Stop trolling mountain buzz or I'm uninviting you from my grand trip.

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Old 12-02-2010   #32
boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 142
ugh, not in public

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Old 12-02-2010   #33
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Get her rowing gloves for sure and an extra pair just in case. NRS and Warmers both make decent ones. I use both but in my experience, the Warmers have thicker neoprene on the backing and seem to hold up a bit better. Check daily for red hot spots and carry some good tape to tape hot spots before they turn into blisters.

Blisters on the hand when rowing is a big problem and can ruin a GC float. Remember you are going to be on the water for several weeks.

Been down the GC twice, first time in August and cracked skin on finger tips and toes of those who just wore teva's was a big issue. None of us knew much about floating the GC on that trip and it showed.

Second trip was in first of October and weather was not as hot and we all used hand lotion big time and not much skin cracking on that trip. Folks on this trip had a lot of experience and were prepared better than we were on my first GC float.

Winter GC trips might not be as bad as summer trips, but I have seen some folks come off summer GC floats with skin cracks a inch long and showing red meat.

Maybe some other GC veterans with more trips than I have can chime in on skin cracks from the low humidity and water exposure in the Canyon.
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Old 12-02-2010   #34
craig, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 13
Squeaky boater, are you on yakkeranna's trip tooo?
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Old 12-02-2010   #35
The Mogur's Avatar
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 457
Originally Posted by squeakyboater View Post
How hard is the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon isn't hard. It's FUN! Now, if you're asking whether you should do it on a 14-foot cataraft, that's a different question. That's just a matter of how much you worry about getting wet. The smaller the boat, the higher the chances are that you'll swim.

Getting dumped in the river, in and of itself, is no big deal. I'd rather get dumped into a big, deep river than in a shallow, rocky one. On the whole, water is a lot less likely than rock to break your bones. But in Grand Canyon, the water temperature is a huge issue.

There is a book "Death in Grand Canyon," which analyzes all of the deaths by every cause that have ever happened in Grand Canyon. In the chapter dealing with on-river accidents, it appears that nearly every death was the result of cardiac arrest induced by the cold water. So do be prepared to get any swimmers out of the water quiickly, and of course dress appropriately (what ever that means, when the weather is 100 and the water is 50).

Nobody has mentioned it (and maybe that's because you've already done some big-water rafting and know this), but you need to know how to use a strong downstream ferry angle. Contrary to what has been said several times in this thread, there are places where you absolutely DO need to maneuver the raft in the rapids. Hance, Horn, Crystal and Dubendorff come immediately to mind.

In these rapids (and others), as the river funnels into the rapid, strong lateral waves form at the sides of the entry tongue. Unless you are going to stay on the tongue (and that is almost a guaranteed flip at Horn or Crystal), then you're going to have to get across those laterals. If you try to do that with a conventional upstream ferry angle, the wave will simply surf you back into the tongue. You have to get the back of your raft pointed at 90 degrees to the lateral wave--in other words, use a downstream ferry angle--to pull yourself across the laterals and out of the tongue.

Depending on your water level, there are several places where it might not be prudent to take your 14-footer headlong into the big waves. Granite, Hermit, House Rock, really any of the wave-train rapids often develop waves that can flip a raft that size. The alternative to powering straight into the big waves is to punch the laterals and get out of the main flow. Allow time to scout the rapids and judge for yourself what you want to do.

Now, as I said, you probably already know this. But I wouldn't want some novice reading about how easy it is to do The Canyon, and go get himself into trouble.
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Old 12-02-2010   #36
BCJ's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
Hey I like Mogur's advice. If you've never done so before, good time to learn a downstream ferry, yes, yes, yes, but don't let fear take you over. I do know people who run frequently in 14' boats. Low water, sharper drops, high water (18-20's think big), etc. By the way, it's also well worth the extra time to re-think your typical river menu and spread it out in the garage for a few days organizing and working it down to size. Use a vacuum bagger machine and get rid of all the paper packaging. Canned veggies are fine, or hard ones like potatos, carrots, onions, and fruits (if you have to have fresh) that hold up like apples, oranges, etc. Forget sprouts and fluffy, delicate things that take up lots of space. Think LOW ICE if you can. Lots of good meat options, tuna, salmon, chicken, etc. Rice, pasta, etc. in vaccum bags, etc. No potato chips man! (Maybe Pringles, but even they take up more space than they're worth). Low price granola (vaccum bag it) and soy milk that doesn't need ice, etc. You'll come back lean and mean and the better man for it. No one gets scurvy in just 18 days. Read Jack London. You can go a month on smoked salmon, whiskey, water and chew. Enjoy!
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Old 12-02-2010   #37
boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 142
I don't think we will have a space issue. Last I heard there are nine boats going and some guy is bringing a dory. A dory looks like a row boat right? It should be fun to watch the dory run the rapids.

I am not too worried about down stream ferrying. The move on big drop two was a down stream ferry to punch a 15' lateral, I made it, but my boat was totally empty which made it really really quick.

It is going to be a different game with a boat loaded for 16 days. I guess I will have to make my moves earlier.

I appreciate all the advice. Is the move at horn hard in a raft? In a kayak it didnt even require strokes, the water just went where it needed to.
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Old 12-02-2010   #38
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Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
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As I recall, at medium flows, 8-10, the move at Horn requires strong pulls, start early (just past the horn) and then keep pulling and don't give up to soon. Not everyone who catches the hole flips at Horn, but it is a big one. (The old "Steven's" river map had a warning on it thusly: "Horn Creek Not Recommended Between 8-10,000 CFS") That was a bit dramatic, but it is a big hole. My buddy MD pulled his squareback Avon through it backwards and more or less submarined the boat but didn't flip. Lots of gear on the back end probably helped, as did pulling into it and getting some momentum.

As I recall, at higher flows, 18-20K (my last 4 trips {out of 5} were at these higher flows, tho it is always hard to tell exactly what the CFS at any given point, except when it peaks and ebbs), we found a run and went left, what they call "between the horns." It looks like a ledge at top left, but there is a slot and it's not as big as it looks and you stay more or less left of the big lateral V-wave train. Just take a look. You can do it. If you can miss Skull hole you can miss Horn, just think of that way. But Mogul is right, a downstream ferry is a good tool (thus my description of a guy who floated straight into the hole at Upset frantically pulling hard upstream the entire way, not moving his boat one way or another, slowing himself down, then flipping end over end).

I highly recommend getting on YouTube. There are some good clips of Horn, and many others, including some dory runs. Don't let this scare you - - it's one of most fun whitewater trips out there, and relatively benign, except, it does flip boats here and there, and at low water there are some sharp holes in places where at higher water there is nothing.

By the way, here's another tip I learned (especially rowing my dory): Don't get lost. What I mean is, when you scout pick your markers and focus on getting to them, rather than getting midstream and focusing on what you're trying to miss. At Crystal, for example, if you're gonna run right, pick out that rock or that eddy where you know if you make the pull there you are out of the hazard zone, and as you come into the rapid, look for that spot, not downstream.

I've seen lots of people study a rapid for far too long, then get out on the water and forget all about "the plan" they made for themselves while looking downstream trying to figure out where they are. Most times you reach the place where you want to make your sneak pulls far more quickly than you expect, so if you don't focus you get carried past them, etc. Just focus. Anyone who can pull a tight corner with the oars can do it if they focus. It is a skill learned by guys like me who have a yellow streak up the middle of the back and don't like to flip and swim any more.

Have I gone too far? Been rowing for 32 years. These are just my tactics to keep my ass outta dat cold watta!

As a kayaker you can probably relate to what a missed stroke or two means. In a raft, cat or dory, it can mean the same thing or worse, because you don't get a second chance. The boat just won't move quick enough and is really being tugged along by the current, so catching that sneak line right where you want to is even more important.

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Old 12-02-2010   #39
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 148
Just a bit to contradict what buckoff says(thought I agree in spirit, especially about the yeller streak), if you do the sneaks be really careful of pulling too early. Loads of rocks along the bank, and the carnage is entertaining if you blow the sneak. We had a boat go left at Bedrock that bounced hard on a river right rock pulling too early. Its also really easy to bounce into the hole in House, Crystal, Upset, and Lava if you start pulling too early. In many cases, the sneak lines won't get you wet and are pretty easy if you time them right, but carnage results if you screw up.
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Old 12-02-2010   #40
BCJ's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
Absolutely atg - - and good point too. Accuracy (and thus focus) are the key to a good sneak run. Otherwise, go big or go home!

Hey, if we keep this thread going maybe we can do a rowing manual to replace Bill McGinnis's classic guidebook? (GRIN)

Good campfire stuff man!

Merry Xmas everybody!

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