Class IV runs - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-06-2007   #1
pnw, Colorado
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Class IV runs

Ok, we beat up the sunshine thread till its bloody. Lets say that I want to be a solid class IV boater this season and I have a few runs in mind but I would like your input. Give me an idea what you think is a good or hard IV run even if it has a couple of portages and what flow would you suggest.

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Old 04-06-2007   #2
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Okay. To state the obvious, hit up The Numbers and Gorge and you should be pretty comfortable on these at all flows. Upper and Lower Clear Creek and Dumont for a more continuous and demanding style of IV. Alto-Alto is another fun one. Rustics and Mish on the Poudre. Run Middle Tenmile for some non-stop-hauling-ass-read'n'run class IV (manky) fun. Then maybe step up to some of the IV+/V- runs with some walking: Gore without Tunnel and Gore, Bailey, Pine Creek, etc. That's a start at least. I'm sure I'll think of more.
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Old 04-06-2007   #3
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Class IV runs

I take a shot here at somewhat benchmark/classic class IV runs in CO:

Arkansas: Numbers
Royal Gorge (clearly debatable)

Clear Creek: 6 Pipes to Idaho Springs

Poudre: Upper Mish to Bridges Put-in

Roaring Fork: Slaughterhouse

Eagle: Dowd Chute

There are obviously a lot of other quality class IV runs in CO; but when I think of classic class IV in CO these runs come to mind.
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Old 04-06-2007   #4
pnw, Colorado
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alto alto at what flow cause that was on my list?
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Old 04-06-2007   #5
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In a raft, class IV can be much harder. Must make moves, people in the water, and working as a team all come to mind. While I have been comfortable in class III water for a while now, class IV's come in more shapes and sizes. As said in the other post, big water pool drops vs. small technical rivers/creeks. Large waves and recirculating holes play into all of it.
I would love to get into more IV+/V-/V stuff if the opportunity and team presented itself. As of now, I like to push it and yet still feel comfortable.

I believe class IV water to be the most variable in the rating system. It denotes a wide variety of water conditions and therefore is more subjective.

Class 4 runs of note in my mind (* = have done) or ($ = are on the list for this year) and (water volume is normal to high)
*Dowd Chute
$Crystal Narrows
$Royal Gorge
$Cross Mountain Gourge

There sure is a lot of class IV water in CO. So for a small (narrow) RAFT like a super puma... Is there anything more I should know about the RG or Cross Mtn? Are ther any other rivers that I should put on this list for this season?
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Old 04-06-2007   #6
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if you're just starting into class IV and you don't like swimming then make sure you can scout the rapids. this eliminates bailey and gore. for both of those you need to read the IV's on the fly. clear creek from lawson down would be good 'cause it's really III+ but so cold and continous that it feels like class IV. boulder creek, the elephant section is good because you can scout it on the drive up. alto alto is another hard one to scout (at least i didn't my first time) and it's really cold. lower clear creek from rigor down is great; roadside with two distinct class IV sections at mid to higher water. gore creek is also good since it's another class III+ that you read on the fly ( i'm leading a trip w/ cwwa on this one during the teva games) and you have the option of sacking up and dropping into dowd, a good benchmark class IV at mid flow. so, try to focus on continous class III that you have to read and run and class IV that you can scout the heck out of. then check out gore and bailey.
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Old 04-06-2007   #7
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Hmm, nobody's adding the important flow component. I at least like to pretend I'm solid in IV. What gave me the ability to pretend I'm there is lots of runs on Clear Creek - lower and upper. I think it's great IV training. Lots of ambiguities though. Does solid IV mean you're solid on regular IV, or IV+ as well. I think that + means a lot in a rating.

I think there's an interesting distinction here that Danger is making. A lot of runs that are called class IV are really just a lot of class III with a couple sections that are class IV. Examples - lower clear creek, alto alto, Poudre Park. Then there are runs where the boogie water is class IV, and the main drops are IV+/V-/V. Examples: Black Rock on CC, Bailey, Gore.

To me these are entirely different classes, even though in some ways you could say they both fall into the class IV category. One demands that you be able to confidently navigate through class IV without or with minimal direction and scouting, the other, the class IV is the main event and you can set up safety, setup, plan, scout your line carefully.

OK, I'll give it a go, am in a buzz mood, but this is admittedly pretty ad hoc.

So in the easier category are runs like:

Alto-alto (per request):
<400 is scrapy, but doable III to IV-
400-600: fun, the inner canyon is class IV- to IV
600+: the crux definitely becomes solid IV, maybe closer to IV+ as it rises towards 1k(?)
The two main rapids are both easily scoutable and I would scout them first time down. The first one boats pretty easy, but second one has some potential to trip you up.

Lower Clear Creek: 400-600: IV
600+: harder IV

Lawson: <500: easier IV
500-750 medium IV
750+ harder IV (IV+ish)

Kermits: <600 IV
>600 harder IV

Dowd: One hit wonder, but good solid IV. I don't know the flows too well, but seems like 3.5-4.5' on the gauge probably rates a solid IV. Maybe IV+ over 4.5' or so?

Upper Mish: (like The Numbers ) very level dependent. 2.5 ft on the rock, III+ish. 4 ft+ on the rock solid to harder IV. When I first did Upper Mish around 4.5 I thought I was a solid class IV boater, but it opened my eyes.

Slaughterhouse: around 1000-1500, solid IV

Lower canyon Boulder Creek: 250-500. I think the Buttress is the definition of IV+.

Upper Animas: around 1000 is pretty solid IV with a little IV+ and a walkable V. High water I'm sure is another story.

In category II:
Here are runs where you can push up against the V- barrier, without going over (maybe some obvious picks here):

Clear Creek Black Rock: 300-450 you can even run Black Rock & Narrows and they're closer to IV+ at this level, but harder than IVs than you'll get on the above category runs at medium flows.

Bailey: 200-350 cfs (can do 3 of 4 Four Falls, and maybe Deer Creek)

Gore: 700 - 1300 cfs sans Gore & Tunnel

Escalante: low-medium flows. Take out before the inner Gorge and walk the cork screw thingy

If you're doing all of those well, then I'd say that qualifies you as a solid class IV boater.
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Old 04-06-2007   #8
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Well put. Sorry I forgot to specify: I agree completely that there is a big difference between the IV runs that are primarily continuous III with some IV moves at the crux and the runs that are lots of read'n'run IV with a couple harder rapids to scout/walk. I meant to say, start with the former and work up to the latter once you are comfortable and confident.

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Old 04-08-2007   #9
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Alto Alto is best at high flows (800-1100), Still a lV, just alot more fun. Two spots should be scouted: Tunnel rapid, and the last ledge drop near the take out just past a bridge.
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Old 04-08-2007   #10
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A couple years ago I had the chance to run the Upper Animas at 1600 cfs at Silverton. That was a good class IV experience minus one of the rapids (can't think of it's name, which I portaged) and the Rockwood Box. It's really scenic and offers some great camping half way down the canyon. This run is really flow dependent. With a little more water it would have been closer to a class V run, so I'd make sure to run it at a lower level and with a someone who knows the run. There's a lot of continuous boogy water inbetween the major 3 drops, but it would be easy to run into at least one of those drops by accident if you didn't have someone along who knows the run well.
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