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Old 05-17-2012   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8
Piedra at low water?

I'm looking for some beta on the bottom canyon of the Piedra at low water (like this weekend). Is it worth driving down from Denver to do, taking into account there is no water elsewhere and our other choice is Numbers at 400? Can I / should I take my playboat (Jackson Super Star), given that I paddle Numbers and the Lawson section of Clear Creek (up to 550 anyway) in it?

Just trying to determine if it would be worth it. I realize it will be low. I learned to boat in the South East, so there are many stages of "low".


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Old 05-17-2012   #2
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
The NWS is predicted the flow could be up to 800:

That's a moderate flow. You likely hit rocks in 1st Mud and Lucifers so choose your boat accordingly.

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Old 05-17-2012   #3
coloradopaddler's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 206
It's about seven fifty and climbing. A couple of weeks ago we paddled the first box at about seven hundred and had a great time. I've only been on the numbers in a tandem canoe so my comparison of the two runs is skewed. I've been told that the piedra is more difficult than the numbers. I would agree too. So, definately try to get on it. It's an awesome run and a beautiful place. Heard of people running as low as five hundred and you'll easily have that much.
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Old 05-17-2012   #4
Durango South, 4CRS
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 173
IMO, the piedra is a solid 1/2 class more difficult than numbers at the same flow. 800 is the low side of good, but boatable and worth a trip. Eye of the needle is the only rapid I think would give any real problems for a solid playboater, but it is easily portaged if the hole is too big. That being said, don't think that running the numbers at 550 means you will style the P at 800. PM if yall make the trip; I might be in there this weekend. Peace.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller
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Old 05-17-2012   #5
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8
Thanks for the feedback. @cadster, that link is sweet. No idea a river level forecast existed.
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Old 05-18-2012   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 96
We rafted it last sunday with 2 14' paddle rafts @ 660 or so. Got stuck a couple times, (meatgrinder and mudslide were bony), but still had a great time. In a kayak it would have been easier to pick the tighter lines with more water, but I know someone who has rafted it down to 550 without major problems. I would go for it, and if you think it is to low when you get here, there is always the animas.
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Old 05-18-2012   #7
Julesberg, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 33
Im heading up there, never ran it either... playboat or creeker?
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Old 05-18-2012   #8
rg5hole's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
creeker, its long and cold.

also, remember that the rapids are not is a deep gorge, so don't swim.
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 05-19-2012   #9
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Originally Posted by rg5hole
creeker, its long and cold.

also, remember that the rapids are not is a deep gorge, so don't swim.
One boater described his piedra experience like getting repeatedly slapped in the face with a frozen trout for hours on end.

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Old 05-20-2012   #10
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
I just got back from an Upper Piedra trip, and wanted to ask you guys a question. Have the 2 bigger rapids in the upper stretch changed recently? CRC says the first one is a IV+ and the second is a tough S-turn with a big hole. WWSR says they are both III. My friend had the Intermediate Paddling guide book which said it was II-III with 2 easy III's.

In my opinion, and the opinion of both the other paddlers in my group the first one was a IV and the second a tough III+. I wonder if these have changed because I know a lot of intermediate paddlers that are fairly comfortable in Browns/Fractions, Foxton/Waterton that would have got throttled in there (I had a nice chundering in a large hole in the second rapid)...seemed like they were tougher than the drops on most class III runs.

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