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Old 02-12-2009   #11
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 945
I'm not a class 5 boater but I've run pine creek and NF, upp and lower narrows on the Poudre at low water but here is my 2 pennies worth...I began teaching another boater on Upper mish through bridges & mid narrows on the poudre...That essentially ment me running everything backwards/sideways and real close to the newb to make sure they were comfortable. That was my real 1st time leading and having someone depend solely on me. That gave me alot of confidence to try harder things myself once I had to put myself in unfavorable lines to assure someone else they were ok.?.

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Old 02-12-2009   #12
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
....since we're on the point, how about a good progression back to class 4?......as to not destroy what bit of self worth one already has?......jrRANGER420cb....
Milo, we need to do more boating next season. Maybe we can start with Escalante. Nice pool drop IV, then hike up to the truck before the gorge. Get the beer and the carton of eggs from the truck and then go back to the rim and throw them a la Gary E -style at all the nice kids running '57 below us. The next day we can just putt around on the dirtbikes.

BTW, If anyone's dad gets belligerent at our just trying to have a good time, the two of us together might be half as tough as GE (probably not though), so I bet we would come out of it okay.

Grandpa always told me: Never pick a fight with someone you don't know...just might be a cage fighter.


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Old 02-12-2009   #13
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
more thoughts

my first response was kind've tongue in cheek, but deepsouth's response was so well thought out and articulate it inspired me to contribute

first, I think when you're stepping it up it's easy to get obsessed with rapid ratings, they're a good frame of reference and facilitate good discussions like this one, but in reality remember there are just two types of rapids the ones you run and the ones you walk

which brings me to a second point which has to do with walking. get good beta from friends, books, etc. - put-on with plenty of time and with patient paddling partners and do some hike assisted boating - as long as you're not paddling into the unrunnable, unscoutable, unportageable gnar it will be educational

I truly wasn't kidding about my compliment to deepsouth's post my favorite part that I would like to echo is to pick a line and make it happen - and most importantly be honest with yourself about whether or not you nailed it

the goal should be to clean it up not just survive - there's nothing more disgusting than watching a n00b run a rapid upside down, getting lucky they didn't bash their brains out, roll up at the bottom and holler and fist pump
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Old 02-12-2009   #14
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 428
I am pretty much in your shoes. I have run all of the poudre ones, gore, bailey at a good flow, and some other IV+ V- stuff. The thing that I found to be most helpful was to practice all of your creeking moves on easier runs. Like others have talked about, boof every rock, surf every wave and catch every eddy and you will instinctively carry those skills into the harder stuff regardless of how gripped you might be.
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Old 02-12-2009   #15
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
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Below is my breakdown of the list you gave

Easy IV+
Numbers at high water (above 2200)
Slaughterhouse at medium water
Dowd Chute at high water
Lower Clear Creek at high water

Hard IV+/Easy V-
Poudre--middle narrows at medium water
Upper Animas at medium water
Upper Animas Rockwood Box at low water
Clear Creek--black rock section at low flows, excluding Rigo
Bailey at low flows
Gore Canyon

Hard V-
Cross Mtn. Gorge at medium flows
Bailey at medium flows
Poudre--lower narrows at low water
Castle creek at medium flows
Clear Creek of the Ark--low or medium flows

Notes: Run Gore around a 1000 your first time. It's a lot cleaner than 800 but still not pushy like 1200. The perfect friendly padded level for your first time. Definitely consider remoteness: Blackrock is harder than Gore but it's also roadside and escapable. The Upper A is easier but makes Gore seem roadside. Runs like Castle Creek and Clear Creek of the Ark are a lot more continuous than some of the others and require a higher level of comfort with read and run IV+/V-. Castle was woody as hell last season and not a place for a IV+ paddler looking to step it up. The link posted is pretty good.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 02-12-2009   #16
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8
Thanks all

Thanks everyone for the great input. So if I understand everyone correctly, I should forget paddling the class IV stuff and just jump to Poudre Falls or North St. Vrain .
Seriously though, I really appreciate the insight, particularly your comment deepsouth about conceptualizing progress as a skills progression rather than just a progression to more difficult runs. Great comment.
Count, thanks for the breakdown of my listed runs. I didn't list the Encampment but that is another run that I would like to run. Any thoughts there?
I know the runs I've listed all seem to fall into the class IV+ to class V- range (some exceptions), but I've always considered the jump from class IV to IV+ to be a full step up rather than just a half-step (cf. IV- to IV or III to III+), so I want to make sure the next step up is the right one. Time to make harder lines on my favorite class IV, focus on improving technique, and then take the plunge.
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Old 02-13-2009   #17
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
Maybe deepsouth said it, I was kinda skimming, but along with the raw skill and practice comes a mental attitude. You need to know when you are on and when you are not. Good V boaters know when to take a break or walk a rapid. It has been said many a times but it is better to walk a rapid and live to paddle it again than to run it and f-up cause it was an off day. Trust me, I have had horrible days on easy runs like Bailey cause I was on my D- game, but I would walk and take a tampon. When I came back I felt good and ran everything clean no biggie.

I also have to agree with try teaching people or showing them the lines on runs. When you are first it just seems to crystalize everything, sometimes when I am in the middle I get that complacent feeling cause I know people got my back, kinda like when you drive across town but don't know how you got there. I know it ain't good but it happens. When you are taking 1st timers you have to be on point and I personally thinks it helps you see the rivers better.

That being said, from what I have ran on your list it all looks good. Progress at your own speed and don't be afraid to walk here and there. Try not to swim, but it will happen so know how to get yourself out safely
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Old 02-13-2009   #18
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
Encampment is great. Just a long drive. IV(IV+) at medium, IV+(V-) at high. The parenthetical rating is for Damnation Alley the hardest single drop, but it doesn't stand out much only because things pick up steadily and cool down the slowly, too. This is my favorite river in "Colorado", but it's actually in Wyoming.
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Old 02-13-2009   #19
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
myrealdad advising people to walk rapids! Are you feeling ok?

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class iv, class v

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