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Old 06-27-2008   #1
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Royal Gorge vs. Narrows/brown's?

In doing a bit of research about the gorge I get a mixed sense for the difficulty. Some sources state that it is all class III and at high flows IV-. Other sources state that there are class V rapids in there and that it is quite hardcore.

How would you really rate it? How do you think it compares to Frog Rock or the Narrows and Brown's including sidels?

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Old 06-27-2008   #2
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
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i personally think the gorge has more of a big water feel to it than anything else. i would say class -IV most of the time and after about 2400 i remembered it started to get juicy. awsome wave trains that feel like they last forever.

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Old 06-27-2008   #3
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Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
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Pretty much III+/IV- even at these flows. A step up from browns/frog rock for sure. It's just moving quite a bit faster in places, longer rapids, bigger waves and holes. Right now (at 3200) sunshine and sledgehammer are just tons of fun. The Narrows section below the bridge turns into a 1/2 mile wavetrain followed by Wallslammer. NOT a good place to take a swim by ANY means.
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Old 06-27-2008   #4
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Boulder, Colorado
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I did it at 4200, so I can only speak to that level. I would call it class IV with IV+ consequences in places (protracted swims if out of boat). No way would I call it class V. I did it with people who do not boat class V and everyone did fine and I'm sure would be eager to do it again. There aren't many holes, but the ones there are quite large, however they are fairly easy to miss. There were many large turbulent waves that make getting flipped quite possible and funny eddylines and swirlies abound.

By comparison, I have run Browns at around 2300 or 2400. I would call Brown's III+ with a couple IV- spots at that level. I ran the Fractions/frog rock sections at around 2500-2600 and I would call that a little easier than Browns (I don't remember anything very significant in there) - probably just straight class III.
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Old 06-27-2008   #5
oh yeah
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i think the numbers at 3000 and the gorge at 4000 are be pretty similar in difficulty. both IV+ over all due to the continuous-ness. the gorge has bigger holes and more dynamic eddy lines while the numbers is more continuous. neither are class V-.

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Old 06-27-2008   #6
Longmont, Colorado
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Raft companies like to call it as a V so they have more Varity. In reality at normal flows it’s a III+ with a little bit of IV action thrown in. By no means a hard run, there are a couple of fairly critical moves in places like Sunshine, the other big ones are pretty easy to get through as long as you are in the right place at the top to avoid the holes.
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Old 06-27-2008   #7
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
Just did the gorge and it was way fun at this level. I would say a bombproof roll is required cause a swim in the narrows would not be fun. Other than that it's not really difficult. I'd call it Class IV- bigwater. You have to make moves in pushy water but the moves are not hard.
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Old 07-22-2008   #8
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Erie, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 237
anyone else do Brown's this year around 3500? thinking about giving the Royal Gorge a go this weekend now down to 1500? Will these be somewhat comparable? Felt good on brown's at 3500 so thinking gorge might be pretty ok too now that it dropped. My roll is bomber (for the most part).
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Old 07-22-2008   #9
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Summit, Colorado
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Yeah, you'll be fine. Might want to scout Sunshine.
"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 07-22-2008   #10
Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
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Brown's on acid

Did Brown's this year at 3500, in a tandem ducky with my girlfriend, each of us on 3 drops of acid. Think the dose was the true reason neither of us swam, as it was her first time in a ducky and in Brown's. What a fun day!!


"Man is entitled to his adventures" - Ramtha
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