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Old 10-30-2006   #21
Livingston's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679
Good advice from all. The biggest issue for me is the people I'm boating with. IMO, a good paddler (playboater or creeker) doesn't necissarily make a good boater. The crew I paddle with gives me confidence when I'm eating shit. Surround yourself with good "boaters", you'll feel better and loose less gear.


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Old 10-31-2006   #22
BastrdSonOfElvis's Avatar
Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
One thing that I don't think anyone mentioned is how different it is to paddle a playboat and a creekboat. The difference in handling between planing hulls and displacement type hulls is pretty severe. If I haven't paddled my creeker much I find myself making tons of correction strokes, and that takes your eye off the ball. If you're like most people and you paddle your playboat down most rivers, it might be worth it for you to take your creekboat down a stretch like the #s at peak or low water pine creek a few times before stepping it up. I wish I had thought to do that before hopping in my creeker for the first time and heading down the green in NC a few years back. Bad juju. I think that was a case of the ritual sacrafice that somebody mentioned a few posts previous.

I really like the Clear Creek of the Ark. I don't think there were really any hardcore consequences last season, barring new wood, and it was super fun for a novice creeker like me. You might get a little gripped, but that's half the fun. And like everyone said, a good crew is paramount.

Oh, and hit the Euphrates up this winter. It runs in January. Not much gradient, but the headless-corps-strainers, sniper fire and mega-high fecal bacteria count make it a solid V.

I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 10-31-2006   #23
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 335
Nice job Bastard you managed to work Nacho Libre and Stevo into the same post.
Basically,don't be in a hurry to prove anything get to where you can run and read and work a variety of class 4 runs before you move up.
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Old 10-31-2006   #24
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
you'll know

There is lots of appropriate words of caution being offered for you. Heed all the advise. On the other hand, I think you posed a fair question to begin with. Again, I emphasize that Pine Creek at low water should be your proving grounds. Start early, when it is slow. Learn to slice and dice. It is important to know when you have to power where you need to be and where to eddy hop and slow the action down. Pine is pretty straight forward. Most people seem to blaze through without stopping. When it's really cranking that is about all you can do. However, I suggest getting in there early and often, starting at 150 and progressing. Learn to feel comfortable, relaxed, and surgically disect it. It is not a techinical rapid, but it is fast and I emphasize getting used to slowing things down. Class V boating is largely about being able to put on the brakes and preventing becoming over whelmed by the fast action. Sometimes the brakes must be applied in the middle of the river and in the midst of the gnarl. I disagree that one year is not enough experience to advance. It depends on the person and the group he or she boats with. Many forget that the major class V runs were pioneered by us old timers 25+ years ago, in 13' 3" boats, with inadequate gear, and with little experience. We developed our prowess on our own. Your gut will tell you if your up for something, and it is the only way to progress. Just do it. Too many people never make the break-through to the next level in boating. That's fine. It is not for everybody. With self preservation at heart, you'll know when your ready. You have to start sometime. Class IV+ and V is where it's at. It is the defining level of being a confident and great kayaker. Someday it may take you to foriegn countries and fantastic adventures. If your group is experienced, confident in your ability, their willing to support your effort, and your feeling on top of your game, together you will most likely get the correct idea of what must be achieved through a class V rapid. The major advise I have is to remember that some runs are miles and miles of continuous class V and you must have the physical and mental capacity to endure to the end. It is when either begin to fade that you risk not rising to the demand. Don't bite off too tall an order in the beginning. My favorite runs like the Emudo, the Upper Taos Box, the Pueblo, the Big South, and even Bailey can wear down and devour a person when weakness sets in. I have seen a 6'+, 220#, man cry like an infant and nearly in shock just from the sight of what he had gotten into. He walked from Powerline to Little Arsenic while I ran both his and my boats through the Upper Box. He assured me he was a class V kayaker and begged me to allow him to join me. Never again. Know who you're boating with. Either a person's reputation must preceed them, or a history of boating together must be established, for everyone's sake. Rescues in class V put everyone at risk, including the rescuers. Still... like I say, if you and your group know that you are ready ... then, yes, you can be ready even in just your second year. I did it and you might, too. Granite through Six, with the short and sweet class V Pine Creek early season, is where I highly encourage you to hone your skills. The rocks are round and their is plenty of slicing and dicing to enjoy. I believe you possess the right attitude and will achieve your goal. Be smart and have fun. Power to you. Cheers!
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Old 10-31-2006   #25
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 342
Even though runs like Upper Mish and Pineview Falls are rated class III+ to IV, I would boat other things around the state to make sure you're really are a class IV boater. I've never been recirculated in a hydraulic on the Poudre (granted that I've never run upper or lower narrows), because its a fairly gentle river (there are a few notable holes). I'm not saying that the class III and IV runs on the Poudre arn't challenging, but other rivers in the state will prepare you much better for class IV and V. One thing to keep in mind is that the Poudre Canyon has reasonably soft rocks in the river bed and very few undercuts and sives (except the narrows). And I'd say most of the canyon is close to being pristine. Class V runs in Colorado are generally shallow, full of nasty potholes, undercuts, razor sharp rocks from railroads and roads, logs, waterfalls with consequences, and very few eddies that are mostly micro-sized. These are things not easily trained for on Mishawaka. The numbers at high water and the Lower Big Thompson would be more appropriate for class V training. These are tough runs but you have a much better chance of surviving if you screw up than running a class IV+ to V- run. I guess my point is that you can't go from the Poudre to class V. Since the Middle Narrows is close to you, I would definitely practice on that run. It's a lot of fun and it prepares you for more difficult runs. Just watch the pin rock at the Bottom of Green Bridge. It trapped a guy under water for 5 minutes a couple years ago. I'm still working on class IV+ and I've been boating for almost 5 years. Also, going with a crew you trust helps a lot. Good luck!
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Old 10-31-2006   #26
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Seattle, Washington
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Someone else brought up a good point. Creeking skills are different from river running skills. Pinecreek and the numbers will only teach so much about creeking, even though you can learn class V river running skills.
Top creeking skills:
1. Eddy catching
2. Ferrying
3. Boofing
4. Experience (only 4th because it can't be taught)

Livingston makes one of the best points on this thread about boaters versus paddlers. It's much more important to be a good boater with a strong grasp on safety, group dynamics, efficient scouting, and maturity. There are many good paddlers that should never be on creeks.
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Old 10-31-2006   #27
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Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
I certainly agree that honing the skillz on various rivers is essential.....however, I also believe the Poudre is an excellent training ground. I had boated little else in the state (only cause the Poudre was 30 minutes away) and was able to successfully run the Narrows by my third season. I started on the Poudre, I ran my first Class V on the Poudre. That little river can push you as far as you want to go. On the flip side, as many have mentioned, developing an intimate knowledge of different river conditions, water levels, hazards, your crew, etc etc etc......define a true class V boater. There is A LOT involved and serious things to consider. My point of this post......if you're comfortable on the Poudre it definitely has what it takes to polish your skillz.....but just because you move up and successfully run the Narrows doesn't make you a solid V boater. Experience.....in all aspects on many rivers with a good crew.
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Old 10-31-2006   #28
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
back to the original question

Back to the original question he asked: "What is the recommended first class V a person should attempt (for next year)?" Nobody is recommending he go creeking. In my view, the one relatively short and confidence building rapid that anyone should attain first in Colorado is Pine Creek. With Class III and IV above and below, it is where I would advise any person ready to notch their first V get-r-done. At low water a confident class IV boater can, in fact, practice his ferrying, boofing, eddy hopping, choice of lines, and get the experience. Again, for the benefit of our young future class V boater, it depends on the person and his group as to when he's ready. I believe it was Ed Lucero's third month of boating when he first did the Embudo with us. The list is very long as to boaters that notched their first class V early, whether it be just Pine Creek or the Embudo. I would gladly support and lead any competent class IV boater wanting to experience his first V through Pine Creek rapid. It is not long, nonetheless it could be his first, and that is what he after.
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Old 10-31-2006   #29
Metro Area, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 214
This is a great discussion. I would like to ask my own question.

I have been boating for 2 full years now. I am a confident class IV boater. Run all of Clear Creek (except Black Rock) at all levels, Alto Alto @ 750 several times, Boulder Canyon from 4-mile down @ 425, and the Poudre from Steven's through BTO from peak down to 2ft. I have been hesitant to step it up to the next level because I haven't had much IV+ expierence, and don't want to jump straight from IV to a V-.

If I am comfortable with the above runs, would Bailey @ 350ish be the next step? What might be some other runs that would be a good transition from solid IV to easy V?

Any suggestions would be great!
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Old 10-31-2006   #30
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
What is this slicing and dicing you speak of, Ken? You mean, like, shake and bake? Now you see me, now you dont.

And Cecil, sounds like your ready for Bailey. That was about my experience level when I started bailey. As usual, go with someone who knows. Bailey is a perfect run for progressing and practicing for the harder stuff

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