Crystal Gorge - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-19-2006   #1
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 43
Crystal Gorge

How often do people run the Crystal Gorge? It looks incredible in CRC but nobody in the southeast ever talks about it. Most SE boaters that have been to CO talk about OBJ, Vallecito Big South etc but you never hear anything about the Crystal Gorge. Just wondering if very many people run it.

Also, for those that have run it: what do you do if you get in the box canyon and there is a river wide strainer? Do you scout before you go? (not something we have to worry about in TN/NC as almost nothing is completely boxed in)

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Old 07-19-2006   #2
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Laramie, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 499
Crystal Gorge is a late-season run, it's way too high when most out of state boaters are here. You can boat the upper and then scout the lower (sort of it's hard because of the cliffs). Are you going to OC-1 it?
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Old 07-19-2006   #3
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I'm thinking about running it next year, assuming it's easy to hike out above the boxed in gorge if it looks too tough.

One of my friends (Jim Little) may have open boated it when he lived in CO back around '99. I know he ran something on the Crystal that was the hardest thing he got on in CO (not sure if it was Meat Grinder or the Gorge).

How tough is the gorge compared to other stuff in CO (is it around the same difficulty as Vellecito or harder?) The only "creeks" I've run in CO so far are Fish, OBJ and Spencer Heights on the Poudre. I'm hoping to check out a lot more runs next season.
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Old 07-19-2006   #4
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 380
You can hike out (scout down) pretty easy at Pine Tree. There's a great trail. You just need to boat eddy to eddy gingerly and be looking for it. I was in there when the Avalanche gauge was at like 900. It was during that cold spell in June last year. Nothing was running but still wanted to see what the Gorge looked like. Boated first few rapids then scouted the rest of the run. At the correct flows, you could leave your boat at Pine Tree and walk down. Sort of a mission day to see what was up when I was there. The whole thing was ridiculous at that level. Sorry to say I haven't been back at 200-400, when you're supposed to boat it..........Zute is the shit! And oh yeah, it's pretty tight and comitting.........I would call it tough......
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Old 07-19-2006   #5
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Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Hey Dooley,

Yo it's Scott. The Crystal (upper part) is a lot like the UWP in my book. And I'm not talking at 2' either. Almost every drop is easier than the big 3 on the green. But, it's committing and there are a few drops that would be a bitch to walk with a OC1.

The inner gorge is the real deal. The last 2 drops are very technical to clean from what I can see and if you dont... Well... Adios to your boat. Plus, it's a 30'er into the gorge. Better hope your saddle doesn't break your crossbars.

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Old 07-19-2006   #6
Boof it like you stole it
G-wood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 86
The Gorge is the sheeite if you're a southeastern creeker enthusiast! If you're runnin' Gorilla/Sunshine, Overflow, Raven's Fork, Bear kinda stuff, then it's game on! It's tight and a little manky (at the proper flows) at the beginning, so that should be right on your game! Don't leave your boof stroke back east!
I've also done some creekin' with Eli Helbert (I'm sure you've heard of him) in the southeast, and I know it was within his OC-1 limits. Very commiting day, but well worth it.
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Old 07-19-2006   #7
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 35
Anybody wanna help clean this weekend?

We're headed that way this weekend with a cum-along.
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Old 07-19-2006   #8
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 43
Thanks for info-

Would it be possible to dump my boat in any of the eddies in the inner gorge at low water?

Also, what's it comparable in difficulty to in CO? Is it harder or easier than vallecito?
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