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Old 07-15-2015   #1
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 6
Stupid Falls, background and real name

Can anyone give me the background on how Stupid Falls got its name? It is such a beautiful spot to be given such an ugly name. I can see that it probably got its name due to someone messing up the line. However, upon running the falls, I found the line to be smoother than it looks (backed up by smooth runs by the other 2 guys who ran it). That caused me to wonder why in a state with so many good paddlers that this name stuck. Is there a "real" name for the falls other than the one given to the drop by paddlers? Thanks for any information. This will greatly help me with writing my article on my recent trip.

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Old 07-15-2015   #2
4CRS, Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 295
Not sure exactly how it got the name, but as a 25 year CO. Paddler, it has injured a lot of very good kayakers. The Zone Dogg is a bad ass and props for cleaning that shit up!

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Old 07-15-2015   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
You may want to interview young Mr. Hartle and his blown up shoulder. I'm glad it went well for you guys, but you are kidding yourself if you think that drop does not have some big injury potential.

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Old 07-16-2015   #4
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 6
I can see that the drop definitely has major injury potential. However, I have a hard time referring to any beautiful waterfall like that as Stupid Falls. Where I am going with all this will be more clear when the article is done, just gathering a little background knowledge at this point.
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Old 07-16-2015   #5
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 109
I've heard it called Upper East Falls but I don't know if it has another name officially. Not sure when it became Stupid Falls either, maybe Milo or Brent or someone who's been in the valley for a long time knows?
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Old 07-16-2015   #6
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
I heard an east coaster first D'd it and an local old schooler have him grief for not letting a local go first. As if if something had been stopping them.

The alleged first descender then named it "Locals Only", but it never stuck.

Personally, I do think you need to be just a little stupid to run drops like this, no offense Zone Dogg.

Sure it could go fine, but the consequences of it not going fine can be awfully severe.

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Old 07-16-2015   #7
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
I’m not sure who named it, but the name fits. We were boating the Upper East in the early 80s. It was the era of 4 meter pointy boats and hockey helmets. We always took out above the drop because to run it just seemed “Stupid”. Modern boats and protective gear are an advantage now. However, the falls are prone to delivering injuries. It has probably been dropped most often by people in drug induced states of mind, exercising poor judgement, and suffering various extents of injuries. The site is prone to injuries because of its height, the ledge impact in the middle, and the shallow landing cascade that follows. Life is fragile and paralysis is a potential consequence that can occur in the blink of an eye. Just because it’s been dropped does not make it smart to run. Value your health and hopefully live to kayak into your 80s.
No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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Old 07-16-2015   #8
hullflyer's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 187
do I hear a vote for John Brennan anyone? aka "Keel" on the buzz. It just seems to fit his personality.

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Old 07-16-2015   #9
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 298
The first time I remember it being called Stupid Falls was when the 1st Colorado Rivers and Creeks guidebook came out. Don't know if the authors coined the term or not. I've lived in CB since the 80's and have always been disappointed that the name stuck too.

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Old 07-17-2015   #10
GWS, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 133
If you think Stupid Falls is bad, try moving to Glenwood where your after work runs are Meatgrinder, Upper Death and Slaughterhouse.

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