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Old 05-31-2012   #1
Charlottesville, Virginia
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 38
Needed: Rockwood Box Beta??????

Hi guys,

I will be in CO for the second half of June. I am researching hard to find what options I may have with this low water.

We are planning on running the Upper Animas, which hopefully will remain at this low runnable level (currently 609 cfs). I was also thinking that the Rockwood Box would be a good option at these low levels.

What is best gauge for the box?
What are minimum flows for the box?
What is a good recommended flow range (considering I don't want it burly)?
Put-in and Take-out logistics?
Anyone want to lead me down?


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Old 05-31-2012   #2
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
The good folks in Durango or at 4Corners river sports can give better beta than I, but here's thoughts from recent experience:

By the second half of June, flows will probably be very low for the upper. If you set your expectations to "river-trip," instead of "whitewater adventure," you'll be delighted by the miles of scenic river valley. 4Corners can probably help with practical min flows for the upper and box, but 600 at below silverton gage felt low side of medium and 1000 at the tacoma gage felt solid medium in the box. Spend a night or two in the upper A. It's Middle-Fork beautiful. No guide needed on the upper A, you can figure it out.

Regarding rockwood: you'd be best to run it with someone who knows the lines. At 1000 cfs on the Tacoma tall timbers gage, Rockwood was something like IV+ or V-. The run description on the 4corners river sports website is pretty spot on. By late June flow would probably be well below 1000 and running it no-guide would probably be relatively low stress.

Logistics: putin in Silverton, takeout and hike out above the sieve-filled middle-box to the Rockwood station.

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Old 05-31-2012   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
Honestly, its not looking so good for the last half of June on the Upper A unless it rains. I would consider 500 on the Silverton gauge the minimum for the Upper. Maybe you could go a little lower, but you are definitely going for the scenery at that point.

As for Rockwood, it can be run at pretty much any level, but I definitely would not drive several hours to run it at low water. It is more of an after-work desperation run at low flows, plus it involves about 2.5 miles of hiking for the same amount of boating. Regarding difficulty and levels (Tall Timbers gauge), I would say:

300-800 is Class III
800-2000 is Class IV
2000+ is Class V

Basically, don't bother unless it rains, but if you do come down and want a guide, PM me.
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Old 05-31-2012   #4
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
I paddled the UA with an average of 300 on the below Silverton gage the first time. The gage was swinging by 100 daily. I enjoyed the trip even with the occasional bump and slide. Below Needleton there were very few rocks to hit. Would prefer more flow now, but if you haven't done it before I suspect you'd like it that low.
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Old 05-31-2012   #5
Durango South, 4CRS
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 173
The only add I would make is if you do run rockwood sans guide (which will be fine at low water) is keep your eye out for a big white sign on river right that says takeout. Don't miss this! Other than that run the first drop river right, and after a mile just below a big pool avoid the sieve river left in red wall. Everything else is read and run.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller
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