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Old 05-21-2016   #1
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 90
Westwater Canyon at 20,100 cfs

There seems to be some confusion about westwater canyon at these levels, so I will attempt to clarify

It's eerily quiet as you drive in to the put in, and the previous home of the ranger has vanished as if bulldozed away. Large trees come past the ramp in rapid succession. The ranger is missing for 36 hours and presumed dead, after leaving to perform a rescue. No check-in, yeah!!
Little Dolores has been transformed into an unavoidable river wide ledge hole. There is an entire two story house pinned midriver to a tree above Cougar Bar. All of the campsites are gone, and catfish lay gasping on the ground forty feet from the shore. Strange windspouts travel back and forth across the river, rising fifteen feet above the chaotic water's surface. The water, when flat, is composed of violently conflicting eddies and massive sucking holes, especially near the New Rapid. Funnel has TWO laterals coming from the left, over fifteen feet high, wiith a nasty inconsistent breaking wave to the immediate right. A deafening thunderous roar can be heard half a mile from Marble canyon, as the already engorged and enraged river narrows into the canyon. Large flash flood/mudslides into the river are almost constant. Staircase now has a hidden hole between the third and fourth waves. Surprise is gone, but Big Hummer finally lives up to it's name.
The sky is black with carrion birds a full half mile from skull rapid. There is now a confused current caused by the New Rapid upstream, and it is necessary to go RIGHT as you enter skull. Forget everything you ever heard, just go right. By the time you look it will be too late. There is no longer a guard lateral on the left but an enormous sucking hole. The eddy fence at the room of doom is over fifteen feet high, and in the ghastly gloom within, a J-rig can be occasionally seen, doing vertical pirouetes, along with three dead cows and assorted flotsam and jetsam.
The rock of shock has been transformed into Scylla, for sure; a real six headed, snake necked unforgiving terrible bitch goddess. The constant rain has caused parts of her head to calve off, further compounding the effects of the New Rapid, and a piece about the size of a Dodge Ram is balanced precariously above her snaky necks, and expected to drop at any moment. Charybdis, to the left. And how.
Bowling Alley is a piece of cake.
Sock it to Me now has enormous curling laterals coming from both the right AND the left shores, leading inexorably to a deep trough below an enormous curling maelstrom. The magnetic wall is now in full effect from BOTH sides of the river, but only for a half mile or so.
At Last Chance, the entire river disappears, running of the edge of the earth
The National Guard is expected to be in effect by monday, with orders to shoot anyone attempting to put on.
No human being can run this river at these flows. River closure expected until at least Labor day, if not forever.

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Old 05-21-2016   #2
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 599
Thanks for the info. I wasn't sure about taking my ducky instead of the raft, but now I'm sure I will.

The takeout hasn't changed?

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Old 05-21-2016   #3
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 16
Awesome description , just careful above 20 , two fellow boaters died in the canyon at about 20,000 Cfs last year, RIP

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Old 05-21-2016   #4
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 90
The takeout is now in hell
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Old 05-21-2016   #5
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
NOT ducky friendly, don't do that. The bigger the boat the better until she calms down again.
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Old 05-22-2016   #6
rivh2o's Avatar
p.c., confused
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 140
Anyone for a Stand-Up Paddle Cruise? Let's get some!
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Old 05-22-2016   #7
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 82
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 205
Very interesting run on Saturday. Lots of anticipation of what might be downstream, and then nothing but wide open routes and wave trains. Skull was the only rapid that actually required a move, the rest could have been run just about anywhere.
Great waves, fast trip and lotsa of time to party once you hit camp.
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Old 05-22-2016   #8
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
I would agree with rob pretty big but I didn't have to dodge one hole. Funnel had a huge wave up top and skull was the same move hit the lateral into the slack water. It would truly be awful to have a swim down there.
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Old 05-23-2016   #9
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 90
You all put on at about 20, 65 cfs. Whole different river eight hours later. You dodged a bullet.
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Old 05-24-2016   #10
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
Maybe we dodged a bullit or maybe we are less dramatic.

Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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