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Old 07-02-2008   #11
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Upper at high vs low flow

Originally Posted by mania View Post
okay this is the way it is. the upper a is dramatically different at high vs med vs low flow. right now its medium and fairly forgiving and fun. I am up there more than not right now and its great. high water this season was insane going 13 miles an hour on class IV+ with no eddys is pretty wild. if you have done it at med to low and you think you know it at high you are wrong, but high water is over for this season.

ps. its also warm and sunny now which makes a big difference from snowing.

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Old 07-03-2008   #12
g-spot, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 15
Upper Animas compared to other runs?

Could anyone make some comparisons between the upper A and some other runs in the class IV range in CO? Ive never done the Piedra but have been eyeing the upper A as an overnighter walking the 3 big drops as I love continuous class IV, and wilderness.

If you were to walk the 3 V's how would you say it compares to the numbers, clear creek runs (dumont?), poudre runs, big thompson runs, etc?

Also, is it recommended to go with someone who's been there before to identify the V's if you plan on walking them? Or if you're taking your time and scouting most bigger looking horizon lines will it be obvious?


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Old 07-03-2008   #13
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Distinguishing the 3 class Vs on the Upper A

Ten Mile is hard to identify without knowing the river pretty well. It doesn't have a super obvious horizon line, and is just after another right hand corner. At medium to lower flow in a kayak it can be a class IV+ read and run, but I still really recommend scouting it (river right). It gets harder as it goes down with two distinct halves. Correct me if I'm wrong Mania, but I think this has the hole on it that killed at least 1 person back in 2005 (in the lower half of the rapid).

No-name. Rather obvious horizon line though it comes up quickly. The river gets really narrow (relatively speaking), the rock walls albeit only ~8ft high are steep. Pulling out can be tricky. At medium to higher flows this rapid alone, if I didn't know the run, would be cause for me to go with someone who knows where to get out to scout/portage. The train tracks are about 20-30ft from the river w/ no vegetation in the way, making the portage and/or scout very convenient and simple. Don't swim- still continuous after this rapid.

Broken Bridge- Rather obvious. As soon as you come around a corner to the right and you see the right side of the bridge is broken, it's time to get out and scout. The rapid starts immediately at the bridge. Here's the catch though- the scout is non-obvious on the left side of the river (walk away from the river, hit a trail, follow the trail downstream 100yards, etc.). One can also get out on river right and hike up a small (40ft) hill up to the train tracks to portage. Thus, the better scout is on the left, and the far better portage is more on the right. It can be scouted on the right okay I suppose- I've never scouted it from the right.

Broken Bridge is an easy class IV read and run at low and possibly medium flows- lots of time between features. At high water it becomes a solid class V. Don't swim, as it's rather continuous class IV for the next 2 miles or so after the rapid.


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Old 07-03-2008   #14
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 198
I think the Upper A isn't really comparable to the Poudre (my backyard river), Clear Creek (either one), or the Big T. More like the Numbers at high water, but much longer, more continuous (really!), and bit more difficult, and I think No-Name (at medium flows) is a lot scarier than Pine Creek. I'm calling about 1200 at Silverton and 2800 or so at Durango a medium level.

I've run it twice, last year and about 20 yrs ago. Both runs with one other person and the only knowledge we had of the river was (very poor) memories and the guidebook. We carried No-name, scouted another drop (slide?) and carried around one hole, and scouted broken bridge. We thought it might have been a good idea to have looked at one other drop (20:20 hindsight) but we managed to hit a critical slot anyway.

_If_ you're experienced, I don't think you need a guide. at least at low to medium levels. But you really want to stay in your boat, and there's _lots_ of read and run, and many holes that I sure wanted to avoid. We recovered a boat several miles below No-name from someone that swam at No-name. No-name was _HUGE_. The swimmer eventually walked out to Silverton, but there was major search effort in the meantime. It's a long way out, I don't recall a single pool, and I'd guess a yard sale almost always results in lost gear.

Good advice on the left-side scout at broken bridge - we didn't know this but lucked out. Our line included a far-left move that would have been very difficult or impossible to see from river right.

It's a classic run. Get it if you can.


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