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Old 01-23-2004   #1
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 27
When did you start Creekin?

Thinkin about finally making this jump. Just wondering what you ran your first time, did you borrow a creek boat, or did you have your own, what was your skill level at the time, etc.

My first trip will probably be either Willow Creek or Fish Creek (lower) this spring. Have lot's of strong boaters for support and I have been told I have the skills for sure. Been boating for about 5 years - mainly play. I have run Cross a few times. More of a mental hold back that anything.

Any thoughts, advice would be appreciated. - thanks

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Old 01-23-2004   #2
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Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Before I even got to the bottom of your post... my suggestion was to do willow creek 1st. It's a great run and perfect for the new creeker. I would most definitely try to get your own boat. Creeking can be rather scary and to know your boat is KING.

Unless you are really up for a serious run, I would probably stay away from Fish till you have a couple under your belt. Truth be told fish isn't very creeky, it's more of a fast river run to me. There are such a minimal amount of eddies and the water is cranking at a hell of a clip that failure is usually painful. Ultimately it's not the toughest of runs but as I mentioned failure happens fast and can be painful.

My buddy (who has creeked a bunch) swam it last year at a mid level and his boat was totally destroyed. We couldn't even catch it till safeway and the problem happened along the golf course somewhere. It was a bit scary to see how fast it all went down.

My suggestion is get real comfy on Willow, then maybe step up a bit when you feel up to it.

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Old 01-23-2004   #3
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 27
Thanks Craw - that is pretty much what I was thinkin. I would like to grab a Creek Boat, but I think I want to at least try Willow once first. I have a friend that I can borrow a CFS from that I should fit into fine.

Speaking of Boats - seems like the shorter boat for tighter, more technical runs are the preference for CO - CFS, Huck, Sniper, etc. Is that the general consensus, or do more folks use the larger - Gus, Big Gun, etc style? I know it is personal preference and what not but I am wondering what most prefer.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-23-2004   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 139
I'd say locally that Willow or Lower Fish at a low to mid level would be a good place to start. I "officially" started creekin' last season and my first runs were down Lower Fish. I had done Willow once before, at ~170cfs, and I'd say that the first rapid on Willow is harder than anything on Lower Fish. It's long, tight and continuous, from what I remember.

I helped clean LF last spring so I could really scout it before I ran it. It helped a lot. My first run was super low, ~1.7' or so on the gauge. My friends wouldn't go, they said it's not worth it until it reaches at least 1.9' or 2.0'. They were right, but I got an idea of what is was like and what the lines were. Next I ran it at 2.0' and it was awesome. Next I went at 2.2' and it was even better. The more water, the better it is, to a point. The creek really fills in and those FU rocks start to dissappear. The highest I've run it was 2.7' and man what a rush!

I had run easier "creeky" runs on the Front Range - Lower NSV, Boulder Creek, Waterton - so that helped too, only we were running that stuff in playboats which we were really used to and comfortable in. I'd say get a creeker, you can find older ones pretty cheap and use it for a season, see if you like it - it's a different animal for sure - things happen way fast, then upgrade.
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Old 01-23-2004   #5
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I ran my first creeks last year and I started with the Narrows on the crystal and then Gore. I have the same background as you and decided to run what was comfortable. I picked creeks that had easy portages in case I didn't feel up to a certain drop. I also went with lots of people and we had a great protection set up each time. You are the best judge of your talent.
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Old 01-23-2004   #6
Denver (Philly Native), Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 146
I just starting creeking last year. If your in the Front Range, Upper Boulder Creek is a good intro that has a fun/challenging rapid at the end that is an easy scout and portage. At lower flows Lower Clear Creek, Upper Clear Creek and the Lawson-Dumont to Idaho Springs sections are good intros. Not real continous. All are pretty much road side and scoutable. Alto-ALto is good humble III+/-IV creeking on South Boulder Creek up in the mountains near Rollinsville. Very remote feel, some access issues and at big water is a screamer (IV), ask the Craw. The water is always cold. I scouted 10 Mile creek (Officers Gulch to Frisco) and looked straight forward but we didn't run it due to the low water. It's definetly a different animal but know I know why people love it so much. :P
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Old 01-24-2004   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
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bailey was my first creek. great starter, everythings walkable......super fun lines, and fairly safe. Also, one of the most beautiful canyons, other then the burn areas.......Id hit that up bout 300 can walk anything you dont like, and in between most the rapids, is good boogie water to keep you on your toes......haha
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Old 01-26-2004   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
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i never creeked til i went to panama. it was pretty fun. i hope do more this summer when i get chance.
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Old 01-26-2004   #9
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
The one that I learned on was Escalante creek. It runs early in the season, it's warm, everything is scoutable, and there are plenty of eddy's to get out, slow down, or swim too. The top half of the run is a great first time "creek" beacuse it actually is a creek. It teaches you the process of creeking, instead of just challenging your skills. Runs like Willow, Fish, and Bailey all feel like small rivers to me.

The bottom half of Escalante is a little more full on. Follow the directions in the book, scout, and go with someone that knows it, as with any creek when you are learning. I did it my first time as well though, so it is simply a comfort level.

Don't confuse class V with Creek class V. Gore is class V, but it isn't a creek, and the way people run it is generally pretty different from a tight technical creek. Decide if you are just trying to run harder water, or if you actually want to run low volume waterfalls. The best way to learn is to go with people that love the tight and steep, know safety procedures, and communication, and will take you under their wing.

my 2 cents...

Kyle McCutchen
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 01-26-2004   #10
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 27
What type of Creeker do you use?

Thanks for all of the feedback - all good thoughts. I am definitely just looking to take it up one notch - probably class IV creeks, nothing too crazy. Mainly so that I can expand my paddling options and run some things later in the season.

So - in regards to Kayak choice. It seems to me that we mainly have lower volume, tight, technical runs - even the "easier" ones. I know it is personal preference, but are most CO peeps out there using the shorter creek boats - CFS, Huck, Sniper, etc or the larger ones - Gus, Big Gun, etc.

I'll probably borrow one for the first time, but would like to keep my eyes open in case I find something I can't pass up.

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