Cataract Canyon In October? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-12-2009   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 274
Cataract Canyon In October?

How is Cataract in October? Seems like a great time to be in the desert but in general how is the river that time of year?

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Old 05-12-2009   #2
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: '99
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 13
Did it mid-Sept. last year. Great time to be out there for sure. River is pretty mellow. Long float in and out for really one day of rapids. If you don't like to party barge I would recomend finding a small motor for getting out of the lake at the end. We tried to do it in a day and got to the take out at 1am. good times
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Old 05-12-2009   #3
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 69
Did Cat first week in October a couple years ago. It was great - just take your time, as it's actually cool enought to enjoy the hikes, particularly the Doll House. We split the rapids into 2 days - camped around #13 I believe, then camped below the last rapid and motored out the next day. While a lower water Cat doesn't have the big ya-ya's of high water, the rapids are still fun and it's inetersting to see the "bones" of the Big Drops
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Old 05-12-2009   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
Low Water Cataract

I have thoroughly enjoyed the two low water cat trips I have done. Big Drop #3 seems to be the most variable and can run from slightly pushy with an option of a right run to a narrow slot on the left. Everything else is a blast with a reduced pucker factor. Enjoy the solitude and weather, though prep for bad weather just in case.

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Old 07-03-2009   #5
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Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 133
highly recommended. Enjoy.
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Old 07-03-2009   #6
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
Be warned, the lake is going to be way up this year. Predicted to be 50' from full pool, has been a while since rafters has seen that much slack water on Cataract.
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Old 07-03-2009   #7
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 115
Have been running Cat for years, October is a great season for hiking/climbing up some great canyons. If you're comfortable with ropes and exploring look at hiking up to the Orange Cliffs, bivy above/in Clearwater Cn then hiking, rapping down Clearwater back to the river where you've left one raft to shuttle you back down stream.
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Old 07-03-2009   #8
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
went last November @+/-3000cfs. 4 day trip. good to go and gonna be an annual trip now.

easy class III less 2 drops are solid but read and run

have oodles of fun and the only one I found running shuttle that time of year is the mechanic at Sheri Griffith (Jose?)
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 07-03-2009   #9
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 424
We did Cat last year in late Oct. with around 6500 cfs... nights were a little cold, but other than that it was great. The playwave at rapid 10 is truly epic at that level if you have any yakers going. All class III with Big Drops 1 & 3 being a tad harder... still very straight forward. The current disappeared after Dark Canyon, but it's probably going to be sooner this year.
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Old 07-03-2009   #10
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,002

I took 10 days last fall and did a solo from Westwater to Hite, winding up on the lake on November 1st. I had cool nites and beautiful days. There was ice in the water bottle the first several mornings, but below Potash, it was in the 40's overnite. Decent water temperatures -- I ran the rapids in shorts and t-shirt.

There was about thirty miles of lake then, and there almost is sure to be more lake this coming fall, so think about bringing a kicker.

On weather, there are other possibilities, of course. Three Octobers ago, I did Sand Wash to Hite and had a full week of cold, rainy weather on the Green. Pulled into the Confluence with slushy ice on the deck of my cat, and was about as miserable as I've been in a long time on a river. A layover at Spanish Bottom was in order, while waiting for some folks coming down from Potash. And lo and behold, the next day it was sunny and warm. Shorts and t-shirts for the rapids again.

Fall water levels are generally low, of course, but can vary a bit with the contemporary weather. Last Fall I had about 8k cfs. The trip three years before, it was 12-15k cfs because of the rain the week before. But at any of those levels, the rapids are pure fun.

On the solo trip I scouted Rapid #15, BD2, and BD3, just to be safe and because I promised my wife I would. But I'm an old geezer, and (even though prudence might dictate scouting) you young bloods probably will just blast right on through fueled on testosterone.....

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
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