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Old 04-06-2010   #1
St. Louis, Missouri
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
What is the best way to run skull

My wife and I are going to run west water and cataract in late June. I have been through westwater once, but as a passenger. I can remeber a rock at the top, skull in the middle and roomofdoom on right. Since this is at the begining of a two week trip I would rather not crash and burn fullly loaded. Any advice and CFS changes would be great.

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Old 04-06-2010   #2
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Gut it.

Ok- just kidding. Lots of ways to do it, but I believe the preferred method (for me and most of my rafting crew) for a fully load raft, at flows below 10K or so, is to start center right as you exit the slack water and start to get carried by the current. The reason why you start center is due to either a fence of rocks on the left, or a lateral wave caused by it that will carry you into the main current and right into Skull.

I like to have my angle at about 45 degrees from center, bow forward. Then I start pulling towards the left shore at a 45+ degree ferry angle until I'm sure I have enough speed to get around Skull Rock.

So then you're in the left side current, still facing downstream, and you can negotiate the boulders in the left channel & can shuttle your oars if you get too far left. Of course, if you go too far left you can bounce off the left rocks and spin into Skull, or not pull hard enough and go into Skull.

Full disclosure: I have missed my timing and flipped a loaded cat using this method. I've also inadvertently gutted it and been fine. But given the estimate # of times I've rowed WW, I'd say this method has been 97% effective for me.

But others will of course have their methods too. I've also run the far right line, and that's easier to make but there are holes to punch leading into them, especially in bigger boats. If the flows are still above 10K in late June (probable), you can line up center-left and push (forward) a left angle - the left lateral wave is mostly washed and the left channel is cleaner.

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Old 04-06-2010   #3
Matty's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
What is the best way to run skull

Right side up.
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Old 04-07-2010   #4
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
High water line and low water line pretty different. Busting the lateral can be tough/impossible above 10k. Skull is particularly amenable to "You Tube" scouting, lots of footage at lots of flows.
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Old 04-07-2010   #5
Boy Howdy!
pinemnky13's Avatar
Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,054
I have gone right and biffed it, very very embarassing and I still am reminded of it by my freinds on a daily basis still. I have gone left of center and have run it right through the meat with a loaded cat and a passenger but that all depends on what my mind frame is and what Murphy decides to do when I run it
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Old 04-07-2010   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Kayak: far right, driving right. Eddy out in the room.
Raft normal: center to left
Raft low-flow pimp: center to left to right to have a safety meeting in the room of doom

My votes.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 04-07-2010   #7
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 117
Best way is to use the search feature and read the 6 pages where it was just discussed a couple days ago.
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Old 04-07-2010   #8
H2 Hoes
Kayak, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 107
drop in switch on river right angling towards river left wait till you get real scared. then pull left hard
West Slope
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Old 04-07-2010   #9
jmrider19's Avatar
Eagle, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22
I would definately say to follow El Flaco's directions... Center to left. I have run it that way multiple times, anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000, and it has worked good. Just make sure you clear the hole, or you will be screwed...
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Old 04-07-2010   #10
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Originally Posted by Cutch View Post
Raft low-flow pimp: center to left to right to have a safety meeting in the room of doom .
I pioneered that line.

Best joint point in the canyon.....IMO

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