Blowing up Quartzite: Good or bad? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-08-2008   #1
 
Fort Collins, CO, Colorado
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Blowing up Quartzite: Good or bad?

Iím sure this issue has been debated every year since 1994 when a certain raft guide took matters into his own hands and strapped 75 pounds of dynamite to a rock and turned a Class VI ledge drop keeper hole into a Class III+ slide that my mama could row through, no problem. But things have changed.

I just got off a high-water trip on the Salt, so the issue is fresh in my mind. As of a few years ago, Quartzite Falls no longer has a place for river-runners to scout, so I donít think there would be any way to portage it if that were still necessary (it would be very, very, very difficult). Every raft trip would probably have to take out at Gleason Flat, less than half way into the 52-mile run, missing the inner gorge, which has the best rapids and is easily the coolest section of the river.

Now, Iím not condoning the altering of Quartzite. (I have heard rumors about certain sharp rocks in the Poudre being hammered down in the off-season to protect commercial rafts during the summer, and that is definitely unacceptable.) But the truth is that raft trips through Upper Salt River Canyon would now be impossible if Quartzite remained in its natural state. The commercial outfitters would not be running customers through every spring, and there would be no private permit lottery every January.

Letís hypothetically say Quartzite remained it its original state. On one hand, you could argue that thatís the way the cookie crumbles. If the Upper Salt isnít passable and safe all the way through, itís what nature intended, and one less Western river to be trampled on by the ever-growing population. But on the other hand, we can now enjoy one more incredible natural resource, and learn more about and grow a deeper appreciation for our surroundings.

The guy who blew up Quartzite says he did it to save lives, but from what Iíve read he likely did it because he was tired of waiting in line for hours to portage the rapid. Either way, Iím sad that I never got to see the Falls in its natural state. But I am glad that I got to run it this year, and hopefully many years to come.


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Old 04-08-2008   #2
 
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I'm a lehman in the matter, but by the photo depiction and description in the photo's I think its a good thing.
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Old 04-08-2008   #3
 
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umm.......blowing up rapids is bad mmmkay.

glad you enjoyed the wilderness. would have liked to see it at it's original state too. unfortunate.

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Old 04-08-2008   #4
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Who's to say that with different technology, better boater, different flows, etc. that it never would have been runable? Imagine if someone had done blasting at Lava on the Canyon because it was "unrunable" years ago. This is like climbers chipping holds to make things climbable... I see it as unethical for many reasons, but the number one is that maybe somone would have been able to do it later on.

Keep chipping down the sharp shit on the Poudre though... I have a new raft coming and as those of you who know me know, I like to occasionally wrap a little bit of hypalon around the rocks on the Poudre....

Oh, and I do think we should blow up the Glen Canyon Dam. Hayduke lives!
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Old 04-08-2008   #5
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I didn't realize this was your post Dan! You are wise beyond your years...
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Old 04-08-2008   #6
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stupid question. what cody said.
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Old 04-08-2008   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitewaterjunkie View Post
As of a few years ago, Quartzite Falls no longer has a place for river-runners to scout, so I donít think there would be any way to portage it if that were still necessary (it would be very, very, very difficult).
What happened to the portage route?
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Old 04-08-2008   #8
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Hey Mania, you're stupid. It's a great question and an interesting thing to ponder. Lots of rapids have had this kind of history (Iron Ring on the Upper Gauley for example) and if we can't discuss and talk about the philosophies behind it, it will likely happen more and more. I can't help but wonder if the guide who bombed that rapid on the Salt had been involved in this kind of open forum if his actions would have been different. I guess you would rather we just talk about cool kayak stickers and new videos? Sick bra!
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Old 04-08-2008   #9
 
Laramie, Wyoming
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Those cocksmokers should have gotten more time.
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Old 04-08-2008   #10
 
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Having run Quartzite before the blowup at moderate flows, it wasn't hard to make the right sneak in a kayak.

If you don't appreciate wilderness, stay out of it.
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