Whitewater Dory Rivers - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-18-2016   #1
 
duct tape's Avatar
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Whitewater Dory Rivers

After 8 months I'm finally about finished with my whitewater dory build. If interested you can read about it here: Whitewater Dory

So now I'm trying to learn what are the best dory-friendly rivers.

Obviously, the Grand is top choice, the reason I started building the dory, but my luck with permits has been no better than when I finally dropped off the old wait list many years ago, having forgotten to re-up during the January period. Still waiting and hoping.

San Juan - seems like a frequently mentioned choice. Never been there.

Gates - I've run it several times in rubber rafts and cats. Would take more than the 2000 - 25000 I've seen as tops to make me comfortable, at least early on. Maybe after I get a few dings and repairs in my baby I'll be less discriminating. I do know of several dory folks who run Lodore regularly but they're just better than me.

Yampa - from my memory of my only (commercial) trip, which was at around 14K I would do it in a dory. But still have to get through SOB down below (which I've never personally run at high water so may not be an issue).

Cat - def a good option, at least at the mid levels we've done it. But the take out at the North Wash gravel ramp, depending on the condition, could be a real b*tch or impossible. I guess there's the option to motor or row down to the nearest Powell take out but never done it.

Deso - also seems a very good choice at higher water. Done it several times in a raft.

Main Salmon - seems also like a good choice but would appreciate other's input as I've only done it recently once, in a 16' Hyside at around 6-8000 IIRC.

Middle Salmon - thinking my cats are a better choice for this run. I do know of several dory trips on this stretch but mostly with lighter weight, open decked McKenzie style boats, rather than my decked wide-bottom Briggs.

Lower Salmon - know nothing of it other than what read here. Seems like something to look closely at.

Rogue - I've been down it once, and know of a crew of dories going through it right now, all very experienced boaters. Seemed pretty technical to me and plenty of places to have some extended repair opportunities.

Thanks for any info, advice.

Jon

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Old 08-20-2016   #2
 
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Hmm, I've never hit 0 for 123 before. Must be some dory dogs out there. Or dory wannabes like me. Or just buzzards with an opinion. Plenty of those!
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Old 08-20-2016   #3
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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I'd suggest sections of the Colorado below State Bridge, with reasonable exceptions, all the way through Cataract for starters.

Good luck,

-AH
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Old 08-20-2016   #4
 
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Thanks Andy. Haven't been on the Upper C yet. Which are the exceptions?

Jon
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Old 08-20-2016   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duct tape View Post
Thanks Andy. Haven't been on the Upper C yet. Which are the exceptions?

Jon
Jon,

Oops, I meant to say "Pumphouse on down..." or maybe "Rancho del Rio on down"

I assume you're a competent oarsman, and that you're mainly concerned about putting nasty dings in your new baby with gunwales. Rapids or stretches you may want to avoid (depending on the water levels) include technical, rocky rapids like Pinball on the Upper C, then of course Upper Glenwood Canyon above Grizzley Creek. Not sure about Cataract, but you can certainly get good info on it at different water levels. Hopefully BJC will chime in as a veteran doryman. I'm sure he'll have some good suggestions.

How about the Yampa between Maybelle and Craig at higher water? There are plenty of stretches that aren't known for whitewater but where you can get plenty of miles on the sticks learning the subtleties of the dory.

Happy boating!

-AH
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Old 08-20-2016   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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Nice looking boat

I might add Ruby/Horse to your list. As you probably know it's not much whitewater but it's a good trip to see how your boat works with a load of gear and how to pack that gear efficiently on a multi-day trip.

I've followed your build on your blog- that's some great work!

Would love to see you and your dory next year at the Colorado Wooden Boat float.

Check out the thread from this year's trip.

2016 Colorado Wooden Boat Float


Mike
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Old 08-20-2016   #7
 
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Thanks Mike. I would love to try and make the float next year. Dates still tbd or roughly the same as this year?

Thx for reminder on Ruby/Horsethief. Forgot that one. Could try to go through Westwater and on down to Moab Daily too.

Hope to see you next year

Jon
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Old 08-21-2016   #8
 
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Excellent work Jon! Your Blog is great, showing what's involved. It is a big undertaking to build decked and compartmentalized large Rogue design as you have. The replica I built of Fulmer's GEM, a McKenzie decked dory, is only 15 feet and some inches long. It was designed to carry two people comfortably, and three in a pinch. Your boat was designed to haul a lot of people and gear in big water, like Grand Canyon. That said, there are options. The Westwater take-out run to Potash is a Great run to see how your boat handles. I ran that section first in the GEM with a few other hard boats. You could run it a few times to get settled in. There is also the Yampa, at medium flows. The GEM was a lot of fun there. After that, you might think about Grand Canyon, from Diamond Creek out to Pearce Ferry. Greg Hatten just ran Cat in an open McKenzie. He is an excellent boat driver and nailed the left entrance at Big Drop 3. As others have mentioned, check the takeout as conditions can change, especially in monsoon season. The San Juan from Sand Island to Mexican Hat at 2,000 or more would be fun. The Hat to Clay Hills run needs a lot of water, 2,000 cfs plus, not only for clearing Gypsum, Upper Twin Canyon and Government, but for getting out at the take-out. Hope this helps and have fun! Yours, tom
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Old 08-21-2016   #9
 
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Thanks Tom. Great info. Enjoying reading your new Canyonlands guide and "bench running" some rapids for next year.
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Old 08-21-2016   #10
 
Ft Collins, Colorado
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The dory looks great, I built one from the same plans three years ago
Re: dory runs
Deso above 5k cfs is great and very dory friendly
Pump house run on the upper C at 4K cfs or so is good (my boats' first moving water)
Yampa in the teens is very dory friendly too, (plenty of rock dodging in warm springs though)
Grand Canyon TBD next month
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