Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-12-2007   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
RRFW Riverwire Pearce Ferry Rapid Update

RRFW Riverwire Pearce Ferry Rapid Update
October 12, 2007

The once tranquil waters of Lake Mead at the end of the Grand Canyon near Pearce Ferry, Arizona continue to change quickly, as the Colorado River is reclaiming 50 miles of territory that once was the flat reservoir of Lake Mead.

With the ninth year of drought continuing, Lake Mead has dropped 119 feet, and as the river down cuts into lake sediment, it no longer follows its historic river bed. The reborn river now channels full-force into hillsides, crosses once-buried ridges and travels through rocky saddles far removed from the pre-lake river bed.

Approximately one mile north of Pearce Ferry, at river mile 280.8, the river now flows over a saddle between hills and then straight into a gravel hillside. At Devils Cove, mile 292.4, the new river channel is a half mile from the historic river bottom and now flows through a saddle lined with very hard limestone outcroppings of rock on all sides of the river channel.

While the lake level is still high enough to cause no more than a riffle at Devils Cove, a rapid has developed near Pearce Ferry, called Pearce Ferry Rapid.

A small riffle at the top of the rapid has formed two very small pour-overs along the shore, with a clear tongue in the middle of the riffle. Just below this riffle, the river passes a rock outcrop and makes a sharp ninety degree turn as the full force of the Colorado slams into a rocky hillside.

A large outcrop of cemented rocks sits in the middle right of the rapid, with a tongue going to the left of the outcrop into a strong reverse current, with an eddy on the left side of the reverse. A fast channel with a steep drop at low water has developed on the river right side of the outcrop. See photos of the rapid online at our website here: rry_Rapid_Update.

At water flows of 12,000 cfs and less, the run is now left of the outcrop heading right once passed it.

This rapid poses a threat to river travel, as a boat could wrap on the mid-stream outcrop. Night floating through this area is not recommended, and as this rapid may get more severe in the next 6 months as lake levels continue to drop, scouting on river left is an option.

The geologic term for this type of rapid is called a Nick Point. Here, harder bedrock material forms a waterfall which prevents further down-cutting upstream of the waterfall.

As of October 10, 2007, there are as many as eight nick points emerging in the 13 mile section of river between Pearce Ferry Rapid and the end of current in Lake Mead, presently in Gregg Bay near river mile 293.

The Pearce Ferry Rapid is cutting through consolidated gravels, and it is possible the river will be able to erode the gravels to avoid the creation of a more serious rapid. River runners should exercise caution in this reach as it continues to evolve while the river reclaims the receding reservoir.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~
RIVERWIRE is a free service to the community of river lovers from River Runners for Wilderness. To join RIVERWIRE, send an e-mail address to and we'll add it to the RRFW RIVERWIRE e-mail alerts list.

Support the RRFW Grand Canyon litigation seeking preservation of Wilderness character and Wilderness access by donating and or purchasing items at the on-line RRFW Store!

Join RRFWs listserver to stay abreast of and participate in the latest river issues. Its as easy as sending a blank e-mail to

Check out RRFWs Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki for free information on Do-It-Yourself Grand Canyon rafting info Main Page - Rafting Grand Canyon.

RRFW is a non-profit project of Living Rivers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~
Tom Martin is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
RRFW Riverwire Pearce Ferry Rapid Update Tom Martin Whitewater Kayaking 2 11-26-2007 08:57 PM
RRFW Riverwire GRAND CANYON LITIGATION UPDATE Tom Martin Whitewater Kayaking 1 09-09-2007 06:48 PM
RRFW Riverwire Glen Canyon Dam Update Tom Martin Whitewater Kayaking 1 09-05-2007 09:48 AM
Pearce ferry Rapid Photos now on-line Tom Martin Whitewater Kayaking 0 09-02-2007 12:54 PM
RRFW Riverwire – GROUP ARRESTED AT LEE’S FERRY Tom Martin Whitewater Kayaking 9 01-31-2007 12:13 PM

» Classified Ads
Dagger Nomad Large Blaze

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


Dagger Nomad Medium Lime

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


2 Stohlquist Rocker PFDs

posted by ErikH

Stohlquist Rocker type III PFDs, both size XXL. Looking for...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:15 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.