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Old 01-26-2007   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
spring colorado creeking?

I really want to start hitting drops, and technical stuff this year. I've done a fare share of big water, and have great roles, but I don't know where to go to learn to creek in colorado. Any tips?

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Old 01-26-2007   #2
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
If you are on the front range then Clear Creek in Golden is the answer. Try the upper run and the lower run. If they are too easy then try the Black Rock run. Black Rock is pushy and scary with lots of water. With less water it is technical and kind of dangerous but easy.

For the earliest possible creeking around town then you should check out Bear Creek from Idledale to Morrison in April. Go with someone who knows it because it is tiny and doesn't have many eddies and it is FULL of wood when it starts running.

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Old 01-30-2007   #3
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 254

hey ture -

i'm about in the progression you mention, trying to get a successful run on BR - how would you compare BR on CC to escalante or bear?

For a guy who's having problems getting the first two crux's on BR (OK - really just having trouble on the first crux, and haven't stepped up to Mr. Bill yet), do you think I have any place to be out on escalante or bear?

after hearing about my buddy's humbling run on bear (DSP), i think i'll be running shuttle, but just thought i'd see what your opinion is.

Hope your re-hab is going well, man. - it's quite a tale you've told, and has got me re-evaluating my perception of ocean surfing in a kayak.

take care and heal up!

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Old 01-30-2007   #4
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062
Beginner creeks

If your just learning to creek in CO I would start slow. Creeking has a lot to do with pace and contolling your descent. I would start with some of the eaiser runs like Waterton, Lower Clear Creek or Foxton. Get used to your creek boat. Learn to master the boat control before stepping up the difficulty. It would really suck to get over your head before you really get started. Start slow and remember most folks on here under grade things- it's common practice.
I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
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Old 01-31-2007   #5
Denver (Philly Native), Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 146
Dumont is a good choice as well at about 400 cfs. At 600 + things get a little busy. You can walk stuff easily.

Check out Alto Alto at about 200-300 cfs. Go with someone who knows it, some of the drops are a little blind. Water is freakin cold and a swim would be bad. Good III+ creeking at this level.

Boulder Canyon Run too at lower water. You can scout the entire run from the bike path or road. Elephent Buttress is the hardest rapid, easy to scout or walk around.

I'm still in this process of learning about "creeking". Have fun , be safe.
"When the going gets weird, the Weird turn pro" -HST
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Old 01-31-2007   #6
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
no offense, but I wouldn't send anyone to alto alto with 200 cfs--that is a bony run anywhere below 400, and 300 is a good cutoff for most. In my opinion it is better to do runs with water in them at a given difficulty level and progress to a harder run with a reasonable flow when you are ready rather than scraping down runs at below the recommended flow to downgrade them...but we all get desparate some times.
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Old 01-31-2007   #7
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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I did Alto-Alto twice at 200 last spring when I was beyond desperation (it was the first thing within reasonable distance that was runnable). It was fun (I did go back, after all). That being said, 200 is too low unless you are incredibly desperate. At the time, I considered myself a IV+ boater and went down with a friend (neither of us had done it before) and we did it all read'n'run boat scout style. There were a few pretty sketchy pinning-as-as-strategy spots, especially up top, and it was super bony. Because of the boniness, a lot of it paddled like a IV. I would say not to do it under 300 unless you are incredibly desperate and comfortable on low-volume runs where you become quite intimate with the rocks. Of course, I'll probably still be out there this spring.

"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 01-31-2007   #8
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I would suggest the upper canyon of Escalante, taking out before the lower gorge, is a good early season creeking warm-up. IV+ drops at most levels, with decent recovery pools below every drop. When compared to BR and Bear, both of which can beat down a swimmer, Esca Lite is a good first step. Go with someone that knows the run so you can get a guide down the drops, and more importantly, know when to bail out before the bottom gorge.

Other good "beginner' creeks
The Upper East (skip Stupid)
Slate Lite (skip Wanda)
The Upper Frying Pan
The Piedra (not really creeky, but some creeky moves in there)
South Boulder Creek (skip the V's, but run the dam once)

You can also boat Lime down to Adrenaline and then hike out- that'll give you a taste of gorge paddling at about IV+ level. And if you're feeling really good, go ahead and hit up the rest of Lime- it's really not that terribly hard or consequential.

I agree with the above recommendations, other than Bear- above 150, creek moves come at you pretty fast and there's a pin around very corner. Not exactly a run to cut your teeth.
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Old 01-31-2007   #9
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 651
The North St. Vrain above Lyons has some nice class III creeking, which is rare on the front range. Put in off Hwy. 36 at Longmont Damn Rd. and take out at the Apple Valley Bridge.
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Old 01-31-2007   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 36
If you're used to big water starting with Gore isn't a bad idea.
My first ever creek was Bailey at like 300. It was kinda fun, but the lack of water and abundance of rock made it a little scary.
I'd boated the last couple of seasons on the Poudre, Colorado (Barrel Springs, Shoshone), and Roaring Fork (Slaughter House), all of which I ran with at least 800 in them. Not exactly big water, but huge for most creeks.
After runs on Bailey, Clear Creek of the Ark, Black Rock, and Big South I finaly made a run down Gore, and the bigger flow made me so much more comfortable.
Part of that is because it is less intense than those other runs (really pool-droppy), but the big flow was comforting (fewer pins, fewer opportunities to drag your face on the river bed, etc.)
It might not be a creek per se, but I think it's a kinder intro to gradient and consequeces than a true, low-volume creek.

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