Alto Alto... potentially the best runnable water on the front range... - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 06-11-2008   #1
 
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Alto Alto... potentially the best runnable water on the front range...

Buzzards... Don't want to over state this here and yes Bailey at 750 might be better for the sicko wanting some of it, but if you remove that one run, Alto Alto is one of the best in the front range at this level and pretty full-on right now.

A/A was my first ever creek run. I hadn't run it in probably 6+ years, and that memory was of a manky intro to creeking run that frankly was nothing I ever thought of running again. Well after looking at not much else running on the front range, Livingston, Magovern and I put on last night at what was roughly 1000cfs.

We put in above peak to peak at the first bridge and didn't scout anything beyond noticing that there was indeed a crap load of water in that very small channel. I put in and immediately noticed a water speed that I hadn't felt in many years. We got to the first big rapid and no shit... It was really big, way bigger then I would have thought. The middle and right sides went well. Now we boggied (at about 20 miles an hour) down under the bridge of Peak to Peak. DO NOT GO LEFT AFTER THE BRIDGE. The only way through is on the far right, as the river wide hole there is nothing to mess with right now.
Now we enter the first gorged area. This was a huge mess of big water wave trains and big holes. The first gorge went just fine, but we were all on our toes.
The second gorge is where things got pretty sketched. The channel in the second gorge is roughly 15 feet wide, and I am guessing roughly 175 fpm. That combo with 1000 cfs paints the picture of pretty f'n stomp'n. There were completely unavoidable holes and they were all very large. Mid way down (I was first with the other two close in behind), I got surfed, flipped and managed a quick roll. Then shot backwards into a rock that literally knocked me to the back deck with a thump of my helmet on the back deck. As I leaned forward (shaking the brains back into place) I realize I am in a big wave/hole thing and here comes an upside down boat straight at me. Magovern had gotten worked and swam just above me, and his boat thankfully went right under mine and picked me right up outathere with little effort.
Mag got to the shore sans paddle/boat but he was safe. Livingston and I went after his gear and only saw his boat. Took us a mile and a half to get his boat to shore.
This run is roughly 3 big rapids, and tons of great boogie afterwards with the occaisional meaty rapid all the way to the takeout.
Bissel recommended playboats to us. I can't say that I would really recommend that to most folks. We had our hands full, but the play in there at this level is genuinely amazing (albeit on the fly with no eddie service). I used a 4fun, Livingston a Fun. Next time I will take the Super Hero for the ability to surf it, but with more volume to stay on top more.
Considering getting in there again today. Anyone looking for big water creeking with tons of play should do the same!

Oh... the water is really cold. Poggies for sure.

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Old 06-11-2008   #2
 
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Craw, I got my first run in on AA last weekend, and was kind of... whelmed. The crux section was fun to be sure, but I'm not sure about the New Testement's proclimation that it's one of the best class IV runs in the area. One good IV rapid does not a great class IV run make.
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Old 06-11-2008   #3
 
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not sure of the difference in between 750 and 1000, but we are able to miss the huge hole at the bottom of rail road rapid earlier this year. It is rocky just below. Tuck hard and roll fast.

It is a great run and just close enough for after work play.
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Old 06-11-2008   #4
 
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Craven... I hear yeah. And if I didn't have the experience last night, I would agree fully. 1000cfs was a tremendous difference from the most I had been in there in the past... roughly 550ish.
To clarify my point, I am talking about right now... The big T takes Alto by a mile when it's running 550 and up. Boulder Creek even takes it once it's 500 and up... Black Rock at 800 etc... but not much is running strong at the moment, and nothing at a 1000.
A good portion of my stoke on last nights run was the surprise. But bottom line, it was challenging, wilderness, and some real seat of your pants hole dodging.

Looks like it's starting to drop... get after it.
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Old 06-11-2008   #5
 
Durango, Colorado
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Bailey at 750 is about 100 time better. Go to Bailey.
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Old 06-11-2008   #6
 
B.V., Colorado
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Our crew also did A/A last night. Fun to do something else, definitely not Bailey at 700. We took a safety break and hiked the mini gorge rapid for second lap. We put-in at the Jumbo Mountain picnic area. Anything above this worth paddling?
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Old 06-11-2008   #7
 
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What time of day do you leave for an "after work run"? If it is 6ish I'd be down for it today, never been on it at this level, but several runs 500-750ish.
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Old 06-11-2008   #8
 
Durango, Colorado
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There is one worthy drop about 10 miles upstream. Solid step up from the AA run. You go through two culverts, down a slide, and then into a manky rapid...and repeat. Might be beefy at 1000. I've run it around 500.
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Old 06-11-2008   #9
 
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I had only been in there at real low water. Can't remember the flow but if you click on the Eddy Flower description you can see me on my one and only run in my new Gradient, spash-top, used paddle, and cheap ass helmet, scraping down my 2nd or 3rd creek run ever. Circa 2001. Lots of rocks visible.

(newbie)

I was initially bummed we were running Alto-Alto last night. Even had a beer before we put on. Let me just say my perception has been alter-altered. I'd probably take the creekboat in there at that flow next round.
At that flow, gear recovery is a serious issue and leashes are sketchy with no eddys. You gotta grab for trees and bushes.
Gotta love Craw calling out Mag's swim in public though. That'll learn him.
-d
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Old 06-11-2008   #10
 
Denver (Philly Native), Colorado
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I remember that day, I was in a Kinetic! When I was still a "boater". That was my second run down of Alto Alto. It was like 175 Cfs (Benny described it as a Hockey Match)

That was my first "creek" in 99 or 2000. Benny (in an Prijon Alien) almost got pinned after the second gorge and swam, Darren was in WS Z and flipped between the tunnel and last drop, rolled up like a champ. I was sh#ting myself in the Kinetic running clean up and after the final drop , had to get out of my boat and rethink life for 5 mins. It was only running at 300 cfs! The old testament said fun fact "wave trains", we thought is was a class 3 play run.

Glad Magovern is in one piece.
-J
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