Westwater early August - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-05-2016   #1
Eagle Mountian, Utah
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 28
Westwater early August

Hey all I am planning my first trip down Westwater in early August and have two questions. First, Anyone out there with more experience watching flows over the years have any input on what it might be flowing at come the first few days of August. Seems like it might be down around 6,000-7,000 cfs. Thoughts? Second, I've run Deso, the Moab Daily, the San Juan and there are three boats planning on making the trip two 15s and mine a 16' RMR. I've read and read that I should have someone who has gone down before with me to follow their lines through the rapids, but am concerned since we are planning on a mid week permit that I won't find anyone. Anyone out there want to join us? If not I feel like I should be careful, but not let the lack of a guide spoil a good time. Thoughts?

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Old 07-05-2016   #2
Hard pack, Utah
Paddling Since: 01
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 68
In my experience, the lines are pretty much the same from around 2K to around 10K

You should see a pretty friendly (for Westwater) level in August

It would probably be nice to have somebody experienced to follow down, but its pretty straightforward really, as long as you're confident in your reads on the fly, and your ability to push your nose into waves and laterals

The exception, of course, is Skull. Its a good idea to have your head well wrapped around that right to left move before you go (at least as well as you can wrap you head around it here on the internet)

I'm sure a search around will give you the Skull info you need

Otherwise, T everything up, push hard into the meat of Sock-it to-Me and immediately start pulling off when you clear, and have a great trip
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Old 07-05-2016   #3
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,255
Are you running an overnighter? If so I would be interested. Flows will be fun but not too pushy. Sock it too me will be the biggest hit IMO. The rapids are all down the tongue except for Skull. Sock is about pointing your boat at about 2 o'clock to the right for the lateral wave. Skull is always about the timing and angle of the right to left side move. I've ran it many, many times.

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Old 07-07-2016   #4
Riverton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 340
We do a family trip every Aug on WW... flows are usually in the 5k-6k range, very friendly level. Sock It To Me is the worst rapid in my opinion at that level. My family likes it, water is "safer" than the higher flows, water is warm so we can swim, air temps are super hot, so we swim a bunch and it is still a great run with lots of splashing.

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Old 07-07-2016   #5
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 117
I would expect more like 4,000 - 6,000. I have seen plenty of people run Skull in that range, but I personally don't ever hit it.

The Magnetic Wall may be extra magnetic (on river left after Sock It To Me). Other than that it will be pretty mellow class III. Rowing out is no fun if it gets windy so start early.
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Old 07-09-2016   #6
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,385
I ran westwater with a guide who's been down 134 times to learn his lines. Two things I picked up that I'll pass along-

Skull has a marker rock on river right. It looks like a nose hanging from the cliff wall (the nose of skull- makes sense). He positioned his boat with the stern facing down and across river as he approached this marker rock. We were maybe 5' from the right bank. He glided right beneath the nose and just past it- then he made three strong pulls down and across to break the eddy fence on river left. Skull all but requires this downstream ferry technique at higher flows. He uses this three strong pulls at all levels at Skull. Start right- move left. Don't try to upstream ferry your way left- turn the boat downstream and use that current, rather than trying to overcome it.

Sock it to me- He positioned the boat on the left bank and pushed toward river right to hit that big wave at the previously mentioned 2 pm angle. The reason is to get the boats momentum going toward river right as you hit that big wave. That momentum will continue past the wave and help you avoid the magnetic wall on river left.

Both moves worked exactly as he had described them. Zero drama.

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Old 07-10-2016   #7
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 57
Westwater at 4000-6000 cfs is really a fun level to run the rapids. The hits are fun and the consequences are lower then when in the teens. Skull is easy to miss with a couple strong pulls.
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Old 07-10-2016   #8
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Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Lot's of good advice hear, I would ad watching youtubes of skull if you haven't already, so you can see what it looks like.( Bad idea to scout that one, will put you on wrong side of river to have a good run)
Be just off that right wall coming into it as others have said, and some good strokes to river left will get you where you want to be.
You should do an overnight, that's kinda a long day trip at those flows( specially if the W's kick up), and westy is a great place to get to camp out.
" what the heck is that clunking sound in the washing machine? And where the hell is my phone?"
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Old 08-06-2016   #9
Eagle Mountian, Utah
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 28
Thanks for the advice all. Had a blast. Man that run is addicting I Wanna go back and do it ten times in a row.
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