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Old 05-01-2011   #1
Ketchum, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5
virgin river - narrows

anyone have any current runoff level/ logjam info and/or interest in running the virgin river narrows into zion? am on the road w boat 208 720-1693

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Old 05-02-2011   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Lot's of rearangement with the wood and rock situation (entire rapids) from the large flows. Did it Saturday with an early start. Broken boat took some extra time (had to pull the seat and patch twice so come prepared), roughly 8 hours top to bottom. Launched about 9:30.

Nearly all of the wood can be avoided for the first 3 miles, depending on comfort level. Just before the canyon closes in (roughly mile 3), at a left bend in the river there is a nasty steel cable amongst a wood portage.

We made good time to about mile 4.5 and then we had a few ugly wood portages slow us down.

At mile 5ish there is a NEW SIEVE! Immediately after the 2nd or 3rd tight narrows a quick lead in has few eddies and a sieve below. There is a NPS boundary sign on river left directly at the sieve (which might confirm the real milage). We portaged river right where the better eddies were.

Below here there are two poorly placed log jams. One is river wide and kind of walled in. It is shallow enough to have one person stand on the left side, pull the others over, and have enough room to get in your boat on the other side of the log. The second one has a calm eddy above it to get out on a log and walk over.

The falls had a great flow to huck. The hole looked sticky with poor safety set up. So we boofed. We finally made it to camp 3 at around 3pm and replaced our boat patch the rebroke.

Lot's of water below the confluences. Great flow and very swift. All of the narrows are clear. Some of the boulder garden rapids have wood, all of which is avoidable. Some of the moves around the wood are fast and pushy at our flow (650ish). Solid class IV whitewater at Saturdays level. It was a lot of fun to not be scraping. Once you get to the hiking trail in the last mile there is the biggest drop of the run. IV+ with some big holes, but an easy sneak or portage route.

The canyon is amazing. By far one of the coolest kayaking runs I have ever done, especially with a very adequate flow top to bottom. We still took lots of photos and stopped a good number of times in the bottom 8 miles, and made it to the top parking lot at about 5:30.

Need to go to sleep now. Too much driving and not enough sleeping. We'll organize some pics and more of a write up soon.

Don't bring an old boat in there, because it will break. Go prepared. Had we not had a ridiculous amount of protecto wrap, a screwdriver, drying cloth, and a pointy knife we wouldn't have been able to patch the boat and definitely wouldn't have made it out that night. Get some.

Kyle McCutchen
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Old 05-02-2011   #3
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,208
Nice TR. Thanks for the updated info Cutch...looking forward to seeing those photos.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 05-02-2011   #4
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Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 347
Good work. Sounds really cool down there.
"We're gonna need a bigger boat"
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Old 05-02-2011   #5
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 13
Did you guys manage to get a permit out of the NPS? We ended up doing the Park run instead b/c it didn't sound like we could get a permit w/o 24 hour flows below 600 cfs?

How was the road going in?
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Old 05-02-2011   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
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We were able to get a permit the morning day of, despite the ranger checking the flows in front of us. I think he saw it was dropping and was already 650, and it was early (7am at backcountry desk), so I don't think he really wanted to deal with us. We didn't talk much other than letting him know that I had run it before. There isn't exactly a check in process like most permits where you show him your repair kit, first aid kit, and break down paddle, among other essentials. And there probably should be in lieu of flow restrictions. We really did have an amazing flow. Zero dragging. Paddle strokes from the put-in.

The put-in road is dry. High clearance is needed to make it the last 1/2 mile, but you are next to the creek then. A 4x truck is ideal.

I'll post a pic or two when I get off work.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 05-04-2011   #7
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Thought I would post a couple photos of the more significant hazards and one photo that speaks for itself. The sieve in the upper narrows and the log jam in a lower more challenging boulder garden. Then the amazing stop at Orderville slot, don't blink you'll miss it. If you get the opportunity to get into this incredible place, be prepared for anything. Wood will be moving and rocks can shift at any time.

We also determined that the flow is great at 650 to 700 and could easily use more water, but I'm sure everyone has heard about the flow regulations.

Lets hope that positive reinforcement about the real classification of the Narrows will influence the NPS to reconsider. If only they had required a little preparedness instead of a flow limitation. How hard would it be to check someone's gear and safety equipment when the permit is pulled. Just a thought to hope for in the future.
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So many rivers, so little time............So let's get the hell off the couch and paddle!
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Old 05-04-2011   #8
Mad Scientist/Creeker
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Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 05-05-2011   #9
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Cedar City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1963
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 33
boat repair

WR Grace Ice and Water Shield (aka bituthene) is good for kayak repair. Comes in 150 ft rolls, costs about a buck a foot, find a roofer that may sell a piece. Peel off the paper backing and stick it on. It is an asphalt emulsion, waterproof and sticks to just about anything it touches.
In life, pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional.
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Old 05-12-2011   #10
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302

Check out the link:
The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Kayaking the Zion Narrows with the Arrogantly Challenged

We paddled the Zion Narrows on 4/30/11, after an all night drive to get there. We had an awesome flow (not that it couldn't have used more). Justin Merritt and I took a lot of photos, so managed to get a handful of good ones. Enjoy!

Kyle McCutchen
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