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Old 09-28-2005   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 245
Westwater this weekend--> biggest hazard?

we've got five people in our group, two rafts and two kayaks. no one has run westwater before, but four of our five did middle fork this spring, and yearly brown's/royal gorge trips. I believe we'll be within our ability.

what would we need to be really careful about at these levels? I've heard it's very channeled this low, which sounds fun, but at what danger level?

just looking for moral support really, eh?


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Old 09-28-2005   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 26
Slipping on the rocks scouting Skull. Have Fun!

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Old 09-28-2005   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 245

so is it just alot of play? or a neat look at the bottom of a river...
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Old 09-28-2005   #4
BV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 46
Fun in westwater

I was there 2 days ago. Here's what scoop I can give you. If you're in a kayak. It's all pretty easy, some good waves and fun eddy lines. Class III big water feel rapids. Now in a raft it can be a different story. We had carnage. I don't know if it was the moons not aligned correctly but we got spanked. We had a raft surf in Little D w/ a swimmer out of it. Words of wisdom for that rapid, just don't float into it expecting to get through it. Or just miss the wave/hole in the center. The rest of the stuff up until skull is easy read and run with fun pool drop rapids. Now Skull is really incredibly easy, as long as you're set-up correctly. The only move is to miss the hole Right of Center by moving Right to Left. If you want to go big, go for the hole, what could happen? I'll tell you what could happen, you could end up in the "Room of Doom". Now I've probably personally been in the "Room of Doom" 10 times at lower water flows (what it is now). I've seen dozens of other rafts in there as well. It is really easy to get out of normally at low flows and is a great place to watch other folks running skull, but I would not recommend going in there right now. It is chocked full of wood, making it incredibly hard to get purchase with the oars. IT WAS WICKED HARD TO GET OUT OF. We had rafts in there for a long time. Once we finally got our rafts out of there "Sock It To Me" throttled 2 of our boats. It's just a huge wave/hole down the center. We all tried to run the hole instead of pulling and sneaking right. We had 2 flips. "Sock It To Me" also has a really nasty rock wall down below the hole on the Left. Pull your butt to the right after you're through the hole otherwise you'll end up highsiding or worse, flipping on the wall. It was all smiles at camp. If you find beers in the eddies, there probably ours. If you have more questions, feel free to shoot me a email at

Look for Bald Eagles, we saw a bunch. Evan
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Old 09-28-2005   #5
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
You'll have a blast. SITM is really the main threat at this level - ditto EvanB about the "magnetic wall" below it. - you'll want to start pulling to the right as soon as you bust the wave/hole. You can often skirt SITM on the right if you don't want to hit the main action.To run Skull, start out on the right and start pulling to the left about 50 yds above the hole itself - this'll get you over to the left and you'll just float past the gnarly part. A buddy refers to it as "a Class II move with Class IV consequences." Bowling Alley is a kick, Last Chance you'll want to run on the left of the rock (right is the easy sneak if you need to be conservative).

Great news! WW's just boosted up to about 6K cfs and predicted to be about 5K this weekend. Its all the more fun, your group will have a great time. Hopefully Bowling Alley won't be washed out....

Maybe I'll see you there - I'll be rowing a blue Vanguard with yellow oars. If we're together in the rapids I'll show y'all the setup landmark for Skull.



Flow forecast:
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 09-28-2005   #6
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
If you want to go big, go for the hole, what could happen? I'll tell you what could happen, you co
We watched a ranger one day prove something by driving a medium size raft straight into skull. She endered, flipped, threw her passenger and ran him down into the rock wall that forms the downstream corner of the Room. He did surface after a while, but it was ugly to watch. Pretty simple to start right and pull left after passing the pourovers on RL at the top. Nice eddy RL just below Skull.
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Old 09-29-2005   #7
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 245
well that all sounds like fun, at least I'm in the kayak :P

we're leaving tonight and our permit is for friday, think you'll be there then? I wonder if we might even have an extra spot open on our friday permit? if it matters I can find out.

thanks for the tips all, I'll be sure an tell the rafts to run the meat on skull, eh?

just kidding
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Old 09-29-2005   #8
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 86
Try this for fun!

Here's a fun run through skull that you can try! Go way right up against the wall, between the canyon wall the the hole. Then you can eddy out in the room of doom, collect some cool driftwood pieces for your coffee table back home. You can also get out and climb up on the cliff above the hole and watch everyone else from above. A cool view!!

Really, Westwater is no problem.

Only one piece of advice, if you flip at Sock It To Me, don't anyone get immediately out of the river if your raft is floating downriver. You can't walk out from there, stay with the raft even if that means swimming for a ways.

This is the best time of year down there!
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Old 09-29-2005   #9
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
guess what - its at 7000 now! at that flow you can go right into the gut of skull. I'll be there tomorrow and saturday. see ya!
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Old 09-29-2005   #10
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
What's the highest folks do the right line at Skull? I love that line at low water (under 2K) but haven't tried it above that.

Join up, suckas.

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