Desolation - typical flows June 12- June 19? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-17-2017   #1
Marietta, Georgia
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 11
Desolation - typical flows June 12- June 19?

Can anyone please tell me what the Desolation Canyon flows are like June 12- June 19 typically? What the weather is normally like normally? And what class does the river normally run like during this time? Thanks a a lot !!

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Old 02-17-2017   #2
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 166
Desolation is class III at all flows. It'll likely be medium to medium high - between 8K and 15K is my guess, though that is only a guess. I've run it from everywhere between 1.5K and 25 K, and it is easy and fun at all of those levels.

Weather will most likely be warm to hot and sunny with giant clouds of mosquitos, possibly with rain and thunderstorms.
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Old 02-17-2017   #3
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,129
Deso is mid-June is unpredictable weather and flow-wise.

June can feel like one of the hottest months in southern Utah as the monsoon hasn't kicked in yet and often get no reprieve from clouds. That said, Deso is its own beast. Expect anything from hot and blue skies to hypothermia inducing 50s and hard, steady rain.

You'll likely be right around the peak but more likely on the taper. If the snow and water saturation keeps up you could experience flows anywhere from the low teens to 40k (2011 peak; this years snowpack exceed that water year). Difficult to predict four months in advance with the odd weather Utah has experienced this La Nina. For comparison, the river peaked on your permit dates at 40k-ish in 2011 and stayed above the mid-30s all of June.

I find Deso most "technical" and challenging the lower it gets. Mid teens is just plain fun. I find it blows out and eases once it gets above the low 20s. That's not to say there aren't consequences but to me the moves get simpler and Deso never seems to be as pushy as its other Green and Colorado brethren at medium to high flows. If its still at or just on the taper from the peak be fully prepared for cold, medium length swims. We could easily see a peak of 40k this year if the March-April snow fall is remotely average. If so, enjoy a fast first couple days.

I would simply recommend your crew be competent at high water Class III and recognize it could be less volume but more challenging as the river drops.

Hope that helps. Great desert float.

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Old 02-17-2017   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 117
Bring the smallest boat you can fit your gear into, Deso is a trip where rank amateurs (AKA "custies") rarely get into trouble even in duckies. I have only run in a commercial 18ft hog and I can't really say more than 5 or 6 rapids were a lot of fun. With the exception of Cow Swim and Coal Creek most rapids can easily be run fully sideways in a big pig.

Weather wise, that time of year in the desert tends to be dry. The whole week could easily contribute to a streak of 20-30 days with no rain. But Deso is sort of a different beast than some other trips. You could very well have multiple heinous storms that were not forecasted when you launched.

Once you push past Jack Creek the mosquitoes are less bad, and the first 20ish miles are semi-boring anyways compared to the rest of the trip. Crank it out as quick as you can. Don't underestimate what you hear about Sand Wash, the mosquitoes can be even worse than what you hear.

PS only total douche guides call clients/customers "custies" and hence why I used the quotation marks.
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Old 02-17-2017   #5
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Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 264
Site for historical flows, just choose a year:

Pay heed to Phillip's post; winds can reach 70 mph, snow, hail, rainbows, extreme heat, cold nights, driving rain, it is awesome when well prepared.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"
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