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Old 06-18-2007   #1
teletumbler's Avatar
Golden Paddling Since: 2005
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Intro to creeking??

I've been boating seriously for the last two seasons and just picked up a creek oat at the beginning of this season. I'm looking for some "Intro to creeking" type runs to start honing my skills but is seems like most of the creeks in colorado are class V and I'm not ready for this level of water...yet. I'm in the Golden area so things close would be nice but I am willing to drive for the goodies.

I've run Boulder Creek from 4 mile down and that was great for long continuous narrow rapids, but didn't have any big drops and the lines were pretty straight forward (at least at the level I did). I'd like to try some clean falls and runs with more challenging lines. Alta-Alta, Middle Narrows and Lower Narrows (at low water), Lower Clear Creek are all is on my list, what else would you recommend?

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Old 06-18-2007   #2
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Seattle, Washington
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Middle North Saint Vrain (Proving Grounds). The first two are V- with more defined lines. They would both be rather difficult, but not impossible to portage. The rest is great IV read and run creeking. Watch out for the dangerous river wide log currently in place. Also, check out bailey. It's easy to walk the Vs and you will get used to running technical IV with only verbal directions, which will make the inbetween seem scary and difficult.

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Old 06-18-2007   #3
Join Date: Jun 2005
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There was good discussion of this topic last year too, check out

beginning creeking?

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Old 06-18-2007   #4
pnw, Washington
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I am still working my way through that list but have had a great time so far.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 06-18-2007   #5
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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Clear Creek of the Ark is great, "easy" creeking and flowing at a fun level right now. Be sure to scout the gorges on your drive up, because they're pretty committing once you're in them.
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Old 06-18-2007   #6
Silverthorne, Colorado
Join Date: May 2007
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The Snake River just behind Keystone is up and we are planning to run it late tomorrow (Tuesday). I think it is only considered a Class 4. It is a fairly low volume creeky run (despite being called a river). It is not too crazy in there, but with a couple of rapids we will definitely scout.

Most of my friends progress initially in creek boats by simply paddling runs they are already comfortable with in their small boats. It seems that getting used to the handling of the creek boat is more important than trying to jump into technical creek runs right away.

Maybe one of the most magnificent and beautiful "sort of easy" creek runs in all of Colorado is Castle Creek in Aspen just above Slaughterhouse. Castle Creek is short, but you get to continue down Slaughterhouse right after the creek. Some paddle small boats in Castle Creek, though a creek boat would definitely be more suitable.

But about tomorrow, the Snake River is really not too nasty. I will paddle my small boat there only because I am resisting moving into a creek boat until my little film project is finally shot (I want one boat in all scenes so as not to confuse non-boaters).
Though not too difficult, the Snake River is definitely a run suited for a creek boat.

I guess my last suggestion would be to make sure you paddle creeks with people you can count on to look out for you and who preferably have some rescue training.
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Old 06-18-2007   #7
teletumbler's Avatar
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Savage brings up another great point and something else I have been working on, that is finding a good crew.

Right now my time on the river is limited to one day on the weekend, between work and studying for the CPA exam I'm pretty slammed, but next season is wide open..! So, all those folks reading this post because you are also looking to get into creeking and would like to start a crew to work our way up over the next few years drop me a PM.

Short bio for potential crewmen or crewwomen:
I consider myself a fairly strong boater, as mentioned at the beginning this is my second serious season, the first season which I don't count was 25 days on the lake and 5 days on the river. Because of this I have a pretty bomber roll, onside and offside handrolls. I've only swam once in the last two season (knock on wood) and am generally considered the probe by my current boating friends. I also took my first swift water rescue class this season and have all the applicable gear.
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Old 06-18-2007   #8
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Boulder, Colorado
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You should try Black Rock on CC when the flows start coming down (below 500). It's not really creeking but good practice.
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Old 06-18-2007   #9
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
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When you've gotten comfortable on runs like Bailey, Boulder Creek, & Black Rock, the Source at low levels (~225-250) might be a good introduction to steep, low volume creeking.

Now, before I get totally flamed, let me qualify that- Some may disagree because it's really busy, but the swims are usually very short, the rapids are of relatively low consequence at lower levels, and for the most part your team can get right to you (by wading) pretty easily if you get in trouble. It's a short run, easy to walk out, and not that isolated. And you're almost guaranteed to pin... and I mean that in a "good" way. Part of Class V creeking is getting pinned (sometimes intentionally) and knowing how to react in that situation; better to pin in 10 inches of water and step out, rather than in the middle of a complex class V drop that puts your crew in immediate danger in order to rescue you. Since it's usually run twice, you can watch some veterans run it first and decide whether to step up for run #2. The downside is that it's cold as f$%K.

The Upper East, as mentioned in other threads, is also a good option but it's running out of water.
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Old 06-18-2007   #10
Join Date: Apr 2004
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For those days when you can't make it to your "Proving grounds" and you find yourself on easier runs, you could always get in practice by purposely making the run more difficult by catching smaller eddies in tough spots, making demanding ferries, zig-zagging your way down, etc.

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