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Old 09-29-2005   #11
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
I think running right as Skull (in a raft, at least) is more of a low water move (<2500) and if you do it at a higher level, you're asking to get pulled into the hole sideways as you come around the rock. It'll be hard to control your boat when you've got a rock wall on one side and a huge hole on the other. I know that I'M going to be running left of the hole! Maybe you can do it in a kayak but it seems dicy in a raft...

If you swim SITM, I'd recommend swimming to river right ASAP to avoid the possibility of getting pinned against the magnetic wall, there should be plenty of time to get picked up above Last Chance. If you do happen to swim into Last Chance, try to go far right for less chundering than on the left side.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 09-29-2005   #12
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 86
right line...

I've never really paid much attention to exact flow levels when I kayak Westwater, but since most of my Westwater boating has been in October and November, I think flows I've seen are mostly 3,000 to 6000. I think I've seen that right line at Skull run at all those flows, in a kayak at least.

Westwater used to get hundreds of boaters every weekend in October because there was no permit needed at that time of year. It is really very forgiving. Running Skull if you just sit there and go with the flow, more often than not you'll go right around the hole on the left. I've seen this fact proven with boaterless rafts and open canoes coming down and just skirting left at the last minute as well as clueless boaters floating past. It seems that the more gripped people are the more likely they are to end up in the hole!

Only been down there in a raft once! I do know someone who lost their raft at SITM when they got ashore and it kept going. They spent a cold night burning some cash to stay warm and then had to swim the river twice to keep hiking out. I think this was very late in the fall or very early in the spring, so very, very cold. Their boat was found down on a sandbar below the take-out!

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Old 09-29-2005   #13
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
You get pushed to the left of Skull naturally at 4000 and below.

At current flows, I think Skull is at its worst. Big and meaty. But, it's not a killer. Just a dramatic tossing of a boat in an unpredictable direction followed by a "fun" swim.

The room of doom is a fun place for kayakers.
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Old 10-03-2005   #14
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 245
well thanks for all the advice, we had a great time, and no swims! skull looked tempting to get throttled in, but we skirted left. we ran sitm straight on from the left side, perpendicular to the lower hole with both rafts, right thru the meat with no worries, doncha just love cats?! I had no choice in the kayak but to go right into the hole, surfed about half a second, then played the up-down-sideways game for a second till I rolled. then paddled back up and did it again from the eddie!!

great times and bootiful weather, stayed at hades up on the tower.

quote for the trip: I've got something in my pocket, if you can guess what it is, you can have it back...

told by some guy who got out to suit up at our campsite while we packed up, seems he "found" our headlamp and thought it looked nice
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Old 10-03-2005   #15
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
so I actually tried to go into skull hole saturday - but was pushed to the right. go figure.
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Old 10-03-2005   #16
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 245
so who went into the room of doom? I heard someone ask the ranger if "those two rafts ever got out"?
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Old 10-04-2005   #17
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 53
Biggest Danger.

I think you are al missing the point. The biggest danger is that the wind will be blowing upstream once you leave the canyon. If this happens with sufficient force, you may never get back out at all!
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Old 10-04-2005   #18
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Yeah I was gonna say the biggest hazard is sunburn. I was there when the second raft was in the room. They eventually made it out the top. I did hear that they went in there intentionally, but I also heard that they hit the Rock of Shock and then went in, which would seem to indicate it was unintentional. More wood than I've ever seen at the top of the Room. I heard the first raft also made it out the top.

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