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Old 11-18-2008   #1
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 116
(Really) Late Season Westwater?

Anybody have a beta on Westwater in December? Would it even be worth the trip form Denver? (Not sure yet if that is a rhetorical question) The idea got kicked around after a few beers, and depending on the response from those of you who have been there, we may put a trip together that entails leaving on a Thursday night and coming back on a Sunday evening. Looks like permits are plentiful, so anybody who is interested just say the word.

Thanks for any input.

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Old 11-18-2008   #2
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 154
It could be mighty cold out there... But I've also been in that area in January and seen temps in the 60's. I'd say a crapshoot at best, but not completely nuts.

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Old 11-18-2008   #3
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I've been on Westwater every month by January; so yes, it's 'doable'. I looked for daytime highs of at least 60. You shouldn't have to worry about ice until mid-december at the earliest. Play should be fun at anything above 1500. Overnights are friggin cold - bring a ginormous firepan and fire blanket to catch big-fire embers if you want a social hour past 5pm. I only attempted day trips past mid-November through March.

But then again, I gave up such silly notions about 8 years ago when I left Durango. That shit is for younger, childless, desperate drunkards who don't know any better than to ski in the winter.
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Old 11-19-2008   #4
Airborne2504's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 420
DUDE! I just recently went on an over-night Westwater trip! (Nov.7-9) It was friggin sweet! We had two oar frames and a paddle raft, and about 8 of us in kayaks. The flow was around 4150-ish. The camping at the put-in on the friday night was the coldest night. Bring layers, and be comfortable...inflatable mattress, pillow, etc. We camped at the Little Delores Campsite on Saturday night, it was good, and a bit warmer with cloud cover to help hold in the heat. The water temp was cold, but I wore a few base layers below my dry-top, Splash pants over my hydroskin pants, and a pair of pogies. I stayed warm through the main canyon and even had a couple of combat rolls. I never swam. The air temp was around the mid 60's during the day. The 5 miles of pure lake/flatwater to the take-out was a bit rough in a yak, but not too entirely bad.

The drive is definately worth it in my opinion, beautiful canyon, good time on the river and in the big rapids in the in the inner canyon, and great people to meet, camp, be on the river with, and shoot the shit with.

Let me know if you put this together, I'd like to run it again!

- Alex
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Old 11-19-2008   #5
over, all
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 32
Get a camp on the east side of the river for extra sun. Definitely worth it.
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Old 11-19-2008   #6
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,477
Last Thanksgiving there was snow in the canyon- I don't anticipate that there will be this year any time soon. It will be cold at night and the water is freezing. Even if you don't swim, you will get wet since at these levels most of the big rapids are very splashy.

I'll be there the end of this month and will rent a drysuit- last year I dressed like I was backcountry skiing with my wetsuit underneath and I still shivered all the way to the takeout (2 miles). I believe a drysuit will change the experience dramatically.

The beauty of it is that Westy feels remote in the winter with cloudy skies and no people. Definitely worth it.
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Old 11-19-2008   #7
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
Always good

IMO Westy is always wothry. I have boated it in every month of the year. So many times that there are all kinds of stories. One reminder if camping in the canyon is "don't forget your sleeping bag!" I recall one December trip where Zirkelbach, myself, and someone else (forget exactly who), we were so hung over when we put on that I later discovered at our Little D camp about sunset that I failed to include my sleeping bag in my self support packing. It was one cold bitch of a night for me huddled up about one inch from the campfire all night. It was still a great trip though. Other memories are several trips boating in total blizzed conditions. Others in balmy heat during the middle of winter. You can have anything you want by boating year round there. Short of heading to Central or South America this time of the year, Westy is boating to still be done during the winter. Enjoy!
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Old 11-19-2008   #8
junkshowriverchick's Avatar
moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 59
alex, what it do! kate from pool sesh here.
we didnt make it to guthrie's last night. no rage was brought we just ate pizza at louie's and talked jealously about your westwater trip, and how much we collectively miss the river.
just because it's diet don't mean it's good for you!
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Old 11-19-2008   #9
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
That's not late season, it is early season!
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 11-19-2008   #10
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 94
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westwater for thanksgiving last year was definitely a lot of fun, but super cold. There was frozen foam floating down the river next to us. Little Dolores is a great campsite too, you can hike up the drainage as its probably all frozen over like last year, and there's a really cool waterfall. A dry top, dry pants, with like, 3 different fleeces and I don't remember what all else packed underneath kept everything warm except my hands. Once we got done with the rapids I had the most painful thawing sensation ever. That said, playboating will likely be minimal cause you really won't want to flip over, and any swims would suck a lot, not to mention be fairly dangerous I imagine.

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