California whitewater guide book? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-27-2008   #1
 
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
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California whitewater guide book?

So I am planning on heading out to that strange land in May and I was wondering what the best guide book for running da shit is. Something along the lines of the sweet book we have here in our pristine state. I am only worried about NoCal stuff as I won't be boating much in "Whale's Vagina" or Los Dangeles.

Thanks

P.S. I ordered the Holbeck and Stanley the other day but I don't know what edition it is, does that matter? It was .38 cents so I couldn't pass it up

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Old 03-27-2008   #2
 
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on the right track

Holbeck and Stanley is generally considered the best literature on California whitewater. You will find that it is a bit dated but still a very solid resource some say they over rate some of the rapids which may be true. I always supplement the beta in H&S with an online resource like this one http://cacreeks.com/ or Darin has a great site for lots of northern California stuff http://www.jscreekin.blogspot.com and you might drop him a line to get real current info, he is always on top of it. By the way my H&S is a third edition and has never done me wrong.
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Old 03-27-2008   #3
 
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So is the general thought that they over rate their stuff, cause I have heard the opposite? One thread on here said add half a class to their ratings.

I cant really tell but Rideon is your avatar a Banksy production? Just wondering cause mine is too.
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Old 03-27-2008   #4
 
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Holbek/Stanley is the Bible. For 38 cents, you probably got an older version, maybe the first edition. Their ratings are full-on. If they say it's Class V, they're serious about it. I paddled with Lars in Mexico a long time ago, went to CA the following spring, and really got my eyes opened, and my ass kicked a couple of times. Have been back out there 14 times since, and they just keep pushing the limits, like the CO paddlers do.....
But it rocks, and the multi-day trips simply cannot be beat.
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Old 03-27-2008   #5
 
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I would never dispute that Lars is hardcore and as for real as they come. I will say that even they acknowledge in the book that some of the stuff that they have rated as NR or Un-runnable has since been run and is run on a regular basis. As for under rating stuff in California, I have heard and experienced this same thing (at the risk of starting a real fight) where something in California might GENERALLY be considered IV+ it might get a V rating in Colorado. That is a totally generalized statement may not be true of other's experience!

As for the avatar, I believe it is a Banksy but am not sure, I dig the work and definitely dig this piece in particular.
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Old 03-27-2008   #6
 
Jackson, Wyoming
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I agree completely. If there is one problem with Holbek's book, it is that he hasn't gone back and re-written some of the descriptions of his early runs as boats and times change. The only three of note that I can really remember first-hand are Bald Rock Canyon (I think my original book says 19 portages and I've done it with 3) the South Merced (it has been done portage-free, I remember making 4-5) and Hell's Kitchen on the N. Stan. (the book had it at 50+ portages, and many/most of those are routinely run now. I portaged several, but nowhere near 50). There are others like Lover's Leap and Golden Gate that people just have a different perspective of now, especially when you look at the other things that are getting pushed like Upper Cherry, South Silver, Tule Creek, Ben & Jerry's, the North Middle American, etc.
I think there is a whole new legion of skilled and dedicated boaters approaching stuff like Fantasy Falls, the Upper Kings, and Devil's Postpile with a whole different attitude, too. Lots of Lars' descriptions were regarding a "once down, glad to be done" point of view, as they were first or second descents in 12' and 13' boats with seriously pointy ends and little rocker. Times change, and the new generations build on the skills and benefit from better equipment....... Class V to V+ and up is still hard stuff, though; no reason to get careless.
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Old 03-27-2008   #7
 
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In general, if Holbeck/Stanley say class V, it's the real deal. I don't think they misrepresent the difficulty levels of anything, but there is no bullshit in their ratings.

Like wyopadlr said, most of the runs where the Cali guide seems off the mark are lower-volume runs that would suck in a 13 foot boat. Another example is Hospital Rock - the guide makes it sound not that great, but it is considered one of the better runs in CA.

The other bummer is that a lot of good class V has been discovered in the last decade and isn't in the book. IIRC South Silver isn't even in the book. Someone needs to publish a Supplemental Guide with all the new runs. Probably won't happen, as so many cali boaters can be frustratingly protective of their local runs.
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