Just wanted to pass along some beta for the Vail Pass run if anyone is interested in checking it out. It's class V, 466'/mile single-track boating, 1.2 miles long with the gradient concentrated in spots for the most part. The run starts immediately at the first truck ramp on the west side of the pass near I-70 mm 187 (East Bound) and the take out is near mm 186 at the second tributary coming in from river right.
Put in at the small pool immediately above where the creek drops away and starts Crazy Train. There is a small pipe gauge for reference across the pool. This is the biggest total vertical drop on the creek. There is some discrepency on the verticle of this drop (70'-100'). It's hard to tell cause you can't see the whole thing from one spot. It's basically a series of slides, ledges, and falls all combined in one. Make sure to boof the last vertical falls. The rock here is sandstone and sticky. If you go deep and hit bottom, you will vertically pin instantly. On two trips last year and one this year, we have had three vert pins here. It's relatively safe and easy to get out with safety on river right if you mess up. This portion of the creek is above the first tributary so the flow here is a bit weak. The drop is worth it but until you hit the tributary that kicks in on the right, it's boney, high pin-potenial, and somewhat annoying but you really don't have the time to think about it. The good thing is that it's fairly flat and very easy to get out of your boat if you are unfortunate. If it wasn't for the drop above, this part would be not worth adding on. We hope to streamline the riverbed in the rockslide area by shuffling the rocks soon (Monday night??) and eliminate the bad part.
The river at least doubles in flow, probably more, once you hit the tributary coming in on the right about 1/2 mile below Crazy Train. From here it's pretty much non-stop V to the takeout. Immediately below the feeder is Two Tickets, a fast 15' vert slide/fall combination. Aim for the ski jump right of center and see how far your can launch
The small pool leads down a slide section and bends hard left into Paradise, a very fast semi-twisty chute that ends in a river wide ledge/hole. Be careful of the log on the left side of the entrance of Paradise. It's a nasty root ball but can be avoided running along the wall on the right. There is small eddy at the bottom of Paradise on the right for recovery or a regathering point. In a short distance there is a defined diagonal horizon line. Run right-of-center and down the slide. From here to the takeout is basically eddyless, non-stop, heads up fast boating. Keep it straight and follow the water. Be heads for a log jamb just above the takeout where the creek bends hard right. There is a path, just make sure you take the right line!! Depending on how high it gets this year, the water may go over the top of the pile so be heads up here. The good thing is, gear lost from above ends up here for easy recovery.
The takeout is hidden. If you have 4WD, turn off right before the bridge at mm 186 and head along the guard rail. Turn down the grass to a faint road and follow it east down to the creek. The put-in has limited parking, park along the bike path across from the start of the offramp.
Last year we ran it twice but it never got high enough to have any flow of significance. Sunday we set a gauge and it read 5-6" when we put on at 4:30. Crazy Train could hold more water but still boated fast. After the tributary, is was really fast. I would say 5-6" is a med-hi level. Run this creek late in the day/early evening for peak flows. It is a good idea to scout from Two Tickets to Paradise before you put on so you can enjoy the best part. It's a very small creek, so other than that, it's pretty much one line.
As far as wood goes, there has been over 50 hours of cleaning involved over the last two years, including 3 hours Sunday afternoon. The run has no portages now but there isn't much stopping either. With the possible flows we might get this year things could shuffle around so be careful if you check it out as jumping out of your boat midstream isn't the most fun thing to do.
There you have it, it's official. It's all on the table...at least Part I of the Vail paddling "secrets". We are sharing up here so give us some love back
Hope to have some more goods for you all as the season goes on.