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Old 09-10-2015   #11
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 15
I just ran westwater last week for the first time! It was an awesome experience for sure. My key to success was going with a great group of experienced rafters and kayakers. My comfort level and confidence level definitely was boosted by a group that could lead me through and show me the ropes.
I would say to enjoy the experience. Rig to flip, stow the wife in a friends boat so you can worry about yourself only, and bring a few cold ones to toast your success!

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Old 09-10-2015   #12
rivh2o's Avatar
p.c., confused
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 139
take the wife, make love the night before the gorge knowing that you might die the next day this will add intensity and afterwards you'll fill like a million bucks when you pull it off, I mean out, I mean... well you get the idea go and have fun!

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Old 09-10-2015   #13
Minturn, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 153
Send it dude. Ran it for first time today. Was running ~5000. Big pushy, crunchy waves. No issue in 13' oar boat. Should be pretty exciting for your 12'er.

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Old 09-11-2015   #14
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Watch the youtubes, there is plenty of footage of WW in all details, howto runs and all levels. Right now is an easy level (3-6k cfs). Make sure you have a few other boats in front of you to follow what they do (or not go where they flipped).

Your biggest problems will be (in order): Funnel Falls (stay center, stay away from the left side on the tongue), Skull (point bow to the river right, at the crest of the river pull hard left away from all the shit down below) and Sock It To Me (SITM), this one has many approaches, but the big lateral wave from the right usually dump trucks noobs. Get ready for a hard hit from the right and then the Magnetic Wall on the left side right after. If you mess up on SITM, there is plenty of time to recover before Last Chance rapid. "Hold your breath" through SITM, that's about all the noobs remember from my safety talk as they swam SITM

Make sure your PFD tight as hell and wear a helmet. Swimming at this level and water temp isn't bad at all.
-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 09-11-2015   #15
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page, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 134
sock it to me is a heavy hitter around 5k, ended up on the floor of the boat holding one oar for some hot tub time! have fun, i ran westwater for the first time after 3 trips down the moab daily, good place to cut your teeth , and an awesome place to spend the day!
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Old 09-11-2015   #16
Minturn, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 153
Yes, I agree sock it to me was a big hit. Try to run the right side at the crest of the big hit. Skull was also on the rowdy side, those holes/waves on the right run will definitely have their way with smaller craft.

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Old 09-11-2015   #17
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Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 168
its not always the rapids that get you...

I have now been down Westwater twice and as much as the Westwater noob is concerned about what is going to happen in the rapids....other sh*t can and will happen...
My advice is to get on the water early for your run of the rapids. The first time I went down, we didn't get on the river until 1pm. After going thru Marble canyon rapid, we got caught in a MAJOR hail/rain/wind storm and had to eddy out and wait above the bigger rapids. The river went from 6K to around 10K and a few of our party had to dodge giant boulders falling from the cliff walls above us. We were stuck there for the better part of 2 hours before we could make our way downstream...the rest of the rapids (maybe except skull) were somewhat underwhelming after that experience. Our lead boatman was pulling 6" diameter rocks from the bottom of his boat at the takeout...

The 2nd trip down, we had Lower D campsite. The ranger warned us that at the current level (around 12K), the eddy for Lower D is very hard to catch. Our lead boatman of course missed the eddy as well as the 2nd boat but managed to get their boats on the rocky shoreline downstream of the camp. I was the last boat down, rowing the biggest and heaviest boat of the 3...It took all of my strength to get the boat out of the current of Little D rapid and close enough to shore to catch a rope from our party on shore...after that, we had to haul all the gear up river to the Little D camp...way more of a workout than the rapids the next day!
ManGearPig Lives!
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Old 09-11-2015   #18
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 149
I think you should definitely go.

But I see lots of inexperienced oarsman and paddle boaters miss the move on skull and flip their boats at this (or any) level.

If you are prepared and geared correctly, there is little risk of injury, hypothermia or drowning. But for newbie's, a flip can be terrifying, be or feel like a near-drowning experience, and sour them on running rivers ever again.

You must ask yourself: are the consequences of a flip going to just be a brief swim, or are they going to be a wife who will never want to run rivers with you again...

If it is the latter, think about it and maybe wait a few years to take her on Westwater.

Its a straightforward run, but its one where people flip boats regularly. We always rig to flip and dress to swim on Westwater and about 50/50, someone ends up upside down... usually the new guy, the guy with the new equipment, or the unguided paddleboat
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Old 09-11-2015   #19
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Take your wife
After the rapids, explain to her that you are worn out from making the run, and you require some relief.

If she declines to row, kick her butt out on the bank somewhere and tell her you'll wait no more than 60 minutes at the truck, then you're headed for the barn.

Get her rowing on the way out, sit back, have a beer or 2.
Pray the winds stay calm.
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Old 09-13-2015   #20
Rifle, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 49
Thanks for all the advice and help! I have decided to go, and bring my wife as well. If things get too dicey for her liking, there are other boats she can get on, but she's ecstatic to try bigger water. We've talked about the "what if's" and I think it will all be fine. I've been watching tons of youtube videos of what to do and not to do. Assuming flows stay lower, I think everything will be manageable. Needless to say, many celebratory beers will be had post rapids!

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