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Old 04-24-2006   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 82
Who should I talk to if I wanted to do the Crystal Gorge

I'm planning another trip to CO near the end of June/first part of July. On most runs, I'll either just lead my group with the beta and I can gather from CRC or on the web. I've been thinking about the Crystal Gorge for a couple years now and might be looking for a group willing to let me tag along. Are there any Crystal Gorge regulars out there willing to take a competant creeker down, or is this a run where you really have to know someone personally before they'll take you down? Who knows this run well and would be open to showing me down? Resume available if there's anyone open to the idea. Thanks.

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Old 04-24-2006   #2
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
talk to yer soul

when I ran it two summers ago, it was just two of us, both new to the run, and we scouted it as we went. If you are comfortable catching micro eddies on the fly, it is not hard to scout, with the exception of the middle of the inner, but even that was scoutable with some creativity (and a low flow). But I am sure you can post when you are out here and get someone to take you down. Maybe some of the real CO guru's can give you better beta.

edited to add: this year, around the end of june/early july, I would guess that the gorge (at least the inner) will still be too high for mere mortals, but who knows.

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Old 04-24-2006   #3
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 82
Thanks for the info. It's encouraging to know that it can be scouted by a first-timer. I guess it has to be since someone was the first at one point. Did you scout the inner gorge via the trail mentioned in CRC first, or did you scout one or two drops at a time?
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Old 04-24-2006   #4
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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yeah, we got out and hiked up from river left to the old mining grade above the inner gorge. From there you can see zute chute and get an idea of where you want to be. You cannot see much of the majority of the inner gorge from the trail, though, because to get close enough to the edge would be very hazardous to your health.

We hiked down to the takeout and from there you can go up the river a little ways and get a good look at the last two drops, which are the toughest in the inner gorge.

Once we were in the inner, the other boater was very comfortable hopping out of his boat in an eddy and crawling up onto rocks on the sides of the drops, so we were able to get a good idea of what everything looked like. We also waded down to scout perfect piton (2nd to last drop I think) while we were in the gorge. I'd imagine that some of this wouldn't always be possible if you had much more flow than we did (around 200cfs).
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Old 04-24-2006   #5
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
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End-o-june / first week of july that could be crankin! You may want to look at a plan b run if the crystal is too high.

Lake Creek is just over the pass from aspen and a great roadside run if the crystal is too high and it should just be commin into season about then!
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Old 04-24-2006   #6
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 82
Thanks for the flow ideas. I was there a couple years ago around that time. We ran Crystal Mill Falls and were going to run down to the put-in for the gorge, but the last boater in our group, flipped above the falls and got knocked out. So, we had to evac him. The paramedics that met us in Marble said that we shouldn't have been running the falls that low b/c when the gorge is running, the falls don't have enough water. Guess 2004 was lower than this year.

Is Lake Creek any more manky than Crystal? Looks like it from the pics I've seen. How about Valecito? It looks like it's got a similar feel to Crystal. What's the season for it? I think it's about 85% of average right now if I'm not mistaken. Mainly, I'm looking to run some steeper creeks that aren't completely mank. OBJ is on the top of the list if there's water left in it when I get there.
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Old 04-24-2006   #7
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 72
If flow and group are looking good, Crystal is a fabulous run. Maybe N Fork could be in if water is too high in the gorge - need good 4x4 for the shuttle.

My memory is that Crystal is a late July/ August run in all but the worst water years.

Another plan B option for awesome creeking would be Big South.

Have Fun!
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Old 04-24-2006   #8
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Bham, Washington
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 463
If you have balls the size if tiger woods then you'll have no problem dropping into the lower gorge in late june early july. Traditionally the crystal gorge is run late summer when the flow is pretty low. When I was there if meat grinder looks pretty bony but runable then the gorge was good to go.
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Old 04-24-2006   #9
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Posts: 557
Crystal gorge may be too high at that time, but who knows really. The north fork of the crystal would be a good option. Don't let the guidebook scare you away from that one. It is quite a bit easier than the crystal gorge. I think it is one of the better runs in colorado. Also, Yule should be running then. That would be good. And, you will most likely have to hike up to the devils punch bowls for a sweet hike and huck.

Lake creek is much less manky than the crystal when it has good flow. The drops are mostly pretty clean.
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Old 04-24-2006   #10
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 82
Good deal. I heard somewhere that NF Crystal wasn't as bad at CRC makes it out to be and that there's really no 40 footer. I don't have huge balls. Just rely on skill and confidence primarily and don't roll the dice too much. High-volume steep creeks are definitely not my speciality, so I'll keep out of the gorge unless the flows are optimum. Now, I just have to talk my bud into taking his new X-Terra up the road to Crystal. Our 4-Runner made it ok last time and the new X-Terra seems pretty decent off-road. Wish he hadn't been down that road before so I could fib a bit!

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