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Old 10-30-2006   #11
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
I like the suggestion about middle narrows. Since you're comfortable on the Poudre, it's a natural progression. Running the middle at various levels is an excellent test with some challenging moves. At higher water (above 3.5 on the rock) it gets pretty pushy. Lower Narrows at lower water is a great way to step up as well. I started running lower btwn. 1.5 and 2.0.....not too pushy, you learn the lines, and you're more confident when it gets above 2.5 (a significant difference on the Lower in my book). I think middle is a better test/warm-up than Pine Creek alone. 1.5 miles with various moves/challenges as apposed to 1 rapid with 1 move. Pine Creek + Numbers is a fantastic IV+ run though!! My .02

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Old 10-30-2006   #12
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 335
Try some of the smaller class 4 creeks like Boulder canyon,Lefthand,or Tenmile to get a feel for tighter faster paced runs ,then graduate to Bear Creek. Bailey seems like a prerequisite for Gore.
If you move up to quick and really get your ass kicked it could harm your confidence/learning curve.

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Old 10-30-2006   #13
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
walk before you swim

As Alice Cooper would say -- Welcome to the nightmare. I think you're going to like. As long as you don't die first. LOL! I'm just trying to put some fear in you. Attaining Class V is a worthy goal, but you must respect it. Don't rush into a questionable judgement. Many of the runs mentioned above have very abusive and sometimes life threatening consequences if you swim. I would highly recommend starting on the Upper Arkansas in the early season. Progressing on Pine Creek from 150 up to about 1200 would be great training. Definitely avoid it between 1500 and 2000. Certainly tackle the Numbers at all levels. Developing an always reliable battle roll is a necessity. This should be your training grounds until late June. Then, with several experienced Bailey veterans along, you could consider Bailey between 250 and 400. Again, a swim on Bailey could really hurt. At low levels it is bone-zone technical boating. As it gets cranking (usually in July), so does the action. In addition to Pine Creek and the Numbers, other great classics to drive to include the Upper Animas and Piedra. Eventually, and with great respect and a veteran guide, the Upper Taos Box is one of the best experiences you'll find. It offers a real expedition feel of adventure. Anyway, start early on Pine Creek, stay forward and aggressive, when in doubt...scout, and remember that the rivers will still be there to try another day if you're not feeling on top of your game. Cheers!
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Old 10-30-2006   #14
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I don't think one year is enough experience to be paddling class V. You have to have more experience getting in and out of bad situations first. The penalty for messing up isn't so harsh in class IV so stick with that for at least a few more years. Class V is very unforgiving and if you swim in a true class V and don't get out immediately you are going to take the beating of your life and you could get killed.
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Old 10-30-2006   #15
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Durango, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 316
Good thread. Yea, try lots more different IV. nail the harder lines. And a few other thoughts: playboat a lot, gets you comfortable in holes and rolling quickly from all positions: also, as one of the boaters in the Dagger website mentioned, BOOF EVERYTHING! Full face helmet?
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Old 10-30-2006   #16
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 945
Thanks everybody...Theres alot of good info. Yes I've taken the proper water rescue classes, had a few bad runs/gotten into trouble...had to swim out of a really bad hole gotten beat up....jumped back on the saddle. I spent about 2-4 days per week running the poudre every week this summer....(I don't have a summer job!!!!!) So kayaking and recovering was all I did. I also know don't float the class float the river, which is very good advice. I just am interested in more of a challenge. I look forward to hooking up next year and running #'s, bailey, mid narrows and such. I do tend to (overscout) runs...since I teach fluid mechanics which is a positive and negative but I insist on walking the whole thing unless I'm with a group thet really knows it and can explain. Anyway see you next year when it starts flowing!!!
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Old 10-30-2006   #17
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Bottom V on Elevenmile is a V+, not a V.

I agree that one year is not enough experience to be safely running class V. Running hard water is not just about strokes, but also about being intimately aware of what the water is doing and also having the experience and knowledge to know when the SHTF before it does to prevent it and having the presence of mind to deal with it if you can't stop it. Ease into it and you'll have a safer, and almost certainly more fun experience. FWIW
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Old 10-30-2006   #18
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 22
I would try the Lake Fork too before you move up to class v's. Definitely hammer in the IV's and make them more difficult by taking harder or trickier lines.
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Old 10-30-2006   #19
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,471
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As someone who has moved up very quicky in kayaking ability, I'd really suggest that boating one year in Colorado does not qualify for class V experience. Maybe, I'm wrong, but having boated almost 90 days this year, I'd say no. You say that you tend to over scout rivers. Scouting is something that should always be done when in doubt, but part of being a strong class V boater is that you don't need to scout class IV and can run it on directions. The reason being that many V runs have miles of IV and it would be impossible to efficiently scout it all. This is another part of the experience factor. Also, running the same lines down the same stretchs that you know well doesn't provide nearly the experience that running different streches of river does. That being said, here's my suggestions. I think the lower narrows below 1.8 is a great class V-. Good eddies, boofs and consequences. The middle narrows is a great class IV section that can teach the skills. Boulder creek from four mile down at 200-400 cfs is great easier mank creek boating. Lefthand might also be a good step, but I haven't been there. The Piedra at 1500 would be good. The numbers at 2000 are excellent class IV and if you feel solid with few scouts and tons of eddy catching in the rapids, you might be ready. I would be hesitant to recommend Bailey/Gore/Upper A because unlike the other above stretchs, these are not roadside and could present major problems if you get trashed bad. I think the Upper Taos Box is a terrible idea for a beginning class V boater. It is filled with deadly sieves that a beginner may not recognize and it is semi wilderness. Make sure for any of these runs you bring a creek boat. Also, remember that on any run in Colorado, we tend to bring a sacrifical lamb for the river gods. It sucks being that guy. Finally, never take advice from someone who shows up at the Gore putin during october in shorts. Take your time moving up - it'll be there, just make sure to enjoy every day on the river.
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Old 10-30-2006   #20
TimWalker's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 205
Gannon - Ton's of good info from the buzzards. I'm pretty much done with class V, with some exceptions. I'm getting older and have two kids whom I wish to see grow up. I've done some great V and V- runs and nothing, IMHO, beats the technical small volume creeks. The attraction and lure is a natural one. It sounds like you've prepared with the swift water courses - which can help if plan A and B are down the tubes. IMO, next you need to learn about creeking and class V etiquette. Talent unleashed without the proper structure could be dangerous for you and your fellow boaters. Hand signals, eddy scouting, reading rapids, reading geology, vision, instinct, etc. Class V is glamorized in this sport and shouldn't be entered into lightly. Just continue preparing, surround yourself with mentors and when you feel confident that you are ready, well you are the one and only one that'll probably determine your fate. Rescues in class V happen but they are risky and probably don't have the best of odds. Another thing, it is easy to feel superior confidence on a road side run that you've paddled many times. See other rivers, I guarantee the unknown lines will provide that extra challenge/rush you want. And my parting advice, I used the fun/consequences risk assessment to decide to run rapids.

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