Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell

Hi all! I am new to the forum here but am glad to find a cabal of fellow river runners. I am doing a Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell trip this April. Here's our rough itinerary:

April 1-4 Spillway to Gates of Lodore (15 miles/day)
April 4-7 Gates of Lodore to Split Mountain (15 miles/day)
April 7-9 Split Mountain to Sand Wash (20 miles/day)
April 9-13 Sand Wash to Green River (21 miles/day)
April 13-16 Green River to Mineral Bottom (23 miles/day)
April 16-19 Mineral Bottom to Confluence (17 miles/day)
April 19-21 Confluence to Hite!

I know for most river runners the aggressive miles per day sound crazy, but we like putting in long days and rowing hard. We can't start the trip any earlier than April 1, and want to get to Cataract before the water gets too high. I've looked at previous years with similarly high snowpack (2005, 2008, 2011), and the highest it's ever been by April 19 was 17,600, which is within my comfort range. But wait until the end of April and it may be pushing 30,000 with the snowpack we have right now.

My biggest concern is that we are going to be a one-boat trip, which I've never done before. I've rowed Desolation and Cataract a half dozen times each and feel comfortable there, but you just never know what could happen. A weird flip or pin and we could be in trouble.

Anyone here done a one-boat trip and have any advice? Are we crazy to not have another boat for support?

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
 
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Westminster, Colorado
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Sounds like a great time! We have done 1 boat trips almost exclusively, 'cause
folks either can't commit or have a change in plans, which is understandable.
Do use more awareness and caution on shore, as the majority of incidents and injuries occur after reaching camp. Let a reliable friend who knows when and what to do if you don't check in, what your plans are and do not deviate from the plan, unless there is an emergency. Have fun, take soft runs if in doubt and post pics of your trip!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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23 miles a day through Labyrinth? Are you going to be using a motor?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
 
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Delta, Colorado
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Have you considered the wind? It blows upstream in the spring.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
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Fraser, Colorado
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Welcome to mtn. Buzz!
That sounds like an awesome trip!!! I have done Sand wash through Cataract before, and even that was a really cool experience( 277 miles, same length as the Grand Canyon, incidentally). That sounds like to aggressive of a schedule to me, but if you're in shape for it, and ready to make miles every day, without a break,( no layovers when your hurting) guess it's doable, especially with trading off with one or two people.

My best best advice is keep your pin kit someplace where you can get to it if the boat were to flip, mine stays in a drybag on the bow, since I do a fair amount of solo boat trips. Buy four of the flip line bags to and put them on the sides, if you don't have them, that way, you and your passenger(s) have that option for righting a flipped boat, especially if you have a river feature you can use to your advantage.

Try to be as prepared as possible to deal with an emergency by yourself. Look into a Sat phone? Put that little extra thought into everything you do, as even a slip on a rock could turn into a much bigger deal without many people to help. Two is one, one is none, if you get hurt.

I guess Cat would give me the biggest pause about running solo, I've had all successful runs there in the past, but man, the current can get powerful down there, especially as the water goes up, I would really want help if I had problems, if you're boat got away from you, you would be fucked. Maybe really try to at least find someone to run Cat with? Some people do run it solo though.

Definitely make the miles while you can, Since it can be windy as S#$% in the spring, I would give myself some extra time incase you can't quite keep to your schedule, and some extra supplies, just in case. And be prepared to possibly run Cat higher than you expect, even if it shouldn't be over 17,600, it's still Cat, with all the available side canyons up riv, you just never know, a major rain event in the desert could boost it way up.
Oh, check into the dam below swaysey's, I know they have been working on it to make it more boater friendly, but not sure what it is like now.

Have Fun, Be Safe!!!! Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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Good luck lining up the Lodore and Deso permits perfectly. You may want to bake in some extra days between Lodore and Deso since the water is slow and flat with lots of wind. If you get to Sand Wash a day late, your trip ends there.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Thanks so much for the replies, your thoughts are much appreciated. I think we will add in a few more days to account for inclement weather and sore muscles. I mean, there's a pretty high chance we'll get snowed on in the upper sections in early April.

I hadn't heard that wind is worse in the spring, good to know. On all of my trips, especially Deso, it seems to whip up hard around 1-2 in the afternoon every day, so we have been planning to push off very early in the morning.

I also think I'll make sure to find at least one or two more boats to join us for Cat... that really is my preference, I just haven't gotten any solid commitments yet from friends.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
 
Aurora, Colorado
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I ran Deerlodge to Hite a number of years ago. We spent 15 days for the 435 miles- that's an average of about 30 mi/day. We launched on 5/19/06 and took out on 6/3. If I remember right, we spent 2 nights on the boat, which translated into 100 mile days. First 5 days were a "normal" Yampa trip with a bunch of people on a typical schedule. At the take-out, my raft, and 3 kayakers stayed in, and we floated the Uinta Basin overnight. Woke up near Sand Wash. That 24 hour stretch was about 100 miles under our belts. We did another overnight like this- just below Green River, UT, IIRC.

We were 5 people, 1 raft, 3 kayaks. Cataract was tense, but it was also up around 40Kcfs. Another spot was the dam below the Deso take-out. We ran it, but I probably wouldn't again. It was just too dangerous for comfort.

Overall, I think your timeline is doable, but I'd consider spreading it out a little differently to take advantage of obstacle-free sections like the Uinta basin and Labyrinth/Stillwater. A night float can definitely eat up some miles.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
 
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SLC, Utah
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A friend of mine ran solo from the headwaters of the Green to Cat in a single push in a modified Soar inflatable canoe, including rowing across every reservoir. He was able to time permits and resupplies remarkably well. He encountered a lot of wind, but apparently figured a few tricks out to deal. Happy to make an introduction for you if valuable. He hates talking about it, so don't expect to get more than a few hours of his time
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi,

I have done Westwater to Hite solo in the fall, and Sand Wash to Hite solo in the spring.

Don't underestimate what day after day of steady, hard wind will do to your morale, as well as your schedule.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
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