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Old 04-02-2007   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Not So Sunny At Sunshine Falls

Well yesterday, we decided to go down to Royal Gorge after our Cross Mountain Gorge run fell through. It was just a routine run until we got to Sunshine Falls. I asked my friend if he wanted to lead a group of newbies down the rapid, while I ran safety. So I got my camera ready to take a picture of him going down the right hand side of the bottom drop with the nasty hydraulic. Well, I couldn't believe my eyes when the current forced his boat to the left near the meat of the drop after running it pretty clean. At that point, he proceded to do a couple endos and swam. He saw my rope go right over his head, so he grabbed it before going through another maytag cycle. He was really stuck in the hole. I just don't think that anyone could have swam out of there. It just looked impossible. So once he got ahold of the rope, it took about all my strength to pull him out. I think I was pulling on twice his weight with the hydraulic holding him. I'm writing this because I think that people should know just how retentive and dangerous this hydraulic can be at 450 cfs. Has anyone ever swam out of the bottom drop in Sunshine Falls at this or any other water level? I personally think that safety is mandatory on this rapid at this level. What do you all think? Anyway we had a great crew, so we managed to get his boat and paddle back and he only spent about a minute total in the hole. He was alright, but shaken up pretty bad.

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Old 04-02-2007   #2
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
That hole is very sticky and when we post about RG we tell people to have a look at it when it is at these low levels. Personally we always have safety at that hole. All swimmers that I have seen in that hole have needed a rope to get out.

"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 04-02-2007   #3
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Glad it all turned out ok. Sandbaggers, take note of what happened in a lowly "class III" rapid.

Some years ago I clipped my throw rope to my Redline (what a radical design) and tossed it in the water above a low-head dam. I would recommend the exercise to anyone who is curious or doubting the force of a bad hole.
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Old 04-02-2007   #4
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 136
I swam out of that hole last year after going through about 3 or 4 maytag cycles at about that same level. I had to push off of my boat and the rock to get out. My boat stayed in the hole for about fifteen minutes until my friend waded out and pulled it out of the hole. it is a very sticky hole until about 800 cfs it starts to ease up a bit.
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Old 04-02-2007   #5
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
Sandbaggers, take note of what happened in a lowly "class III" rapid.
word. good on ya' calling out the sandbagging on the Buzz.

Sunshine at low flows in gnarly. Plain and simple. You should see that rapid late in the season when raft companies are still running through there a lot...horror show. When I run it at low flow I make sure that people I am with that may not have run it before at low flows look at that spot.

Some of luster has worn off that rapid over the years. Some may remember that it actually used to be a "fall" of sorts and was super gnarly at high flows. Shifting rocks have changed things over the last 12 years or so at high flows but below 700 or so that rapid is ugly.
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Old 04-02-2007   #6
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 17
I was there yesterday in the group ahead of you. I would consider myself a solid boater...needless to say, I walked Sunshine yesterday...

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Old 04-02-2007   #7
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Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
I feel a little better about walking it yesterday... I've run it a couple times at higher water with no problems, it just looked a little too wicked yesterday. We had a talk about making it a standard practice to set up safety there. Yesterday was the first time I have.

Nice meeting a couple of you guys downstream!

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Old 04-02-2007   #8
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I would add that at low water sunshine is not a class III unless you truely enjoy your sandbagging role.
"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 04-02-2007   #9
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
"A friend" ran this rapid rather lackadaisically for the first run of this season. He caught the eddy below the big drop way too high and rolled into it. Having seen other boats stuck in this hole he decided to bail after a couple rolls in the hole. He got released from the hole only after swimming hard towards the bottom and balling up. When he walked back up for redemption, he made sure a rope was waiting at the hole. That hole sucks, literally.
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Old 04-02-2007   #10
oh yeah
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 535
so should we call it a III+ then? and if that's class III+, then maybe we should upgrade zoom flume from a class II+ to a class III. and then that bumps pine creek into the fours and before you know it...

dan (admitted sandbagger)

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