Elk River on the rise! - Mountain Buzz
 



 
 
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Old 05-17-2016  
 
mhelm's Avatar
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Elk River on the rise!

Here's a short video from yesterday. The Elk River, just north of Steamboat Springs, is not too technical but loads of fun. It should be running strong for the next month. This is medium flow at 2900 on the gauge , and it only gets better with higher flow. Keep your eyes open for wood!


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Old 05-17-2016  
 
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Nice! When I worked for the county, they used to send me out every morning to check bridges for wood and any other potential damage. It was the best part of my day
Once the Elk got so high, it washed away part of a bridge and we had to go in and reinforce it. I can remember the sound of the giant boulders they were using being washed downstream as soon as they were dropped in the water. Crazy how powerful water can be.

Anyway, I've always thought those wave trains looked pretty sweet, but still haven't paddled that section. The box scares the shit out of me just looking at it.

Has anyone ever run Mad Creek?
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Old 05-17-2016  
 
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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Mad Creek yes

Mad Creek and Willow Creek have been run quite a bit. Mad is a little harder, and gets a lot of strainers. You also have to hike the whole run with your boat. Willow can be done by putting in right on Highway 129. Both are in the Guide to the Southern Rockies.

The Elk will get much higher. Class III moves with class IV & V consequences when it is peaking around 5,000 CFS or greater. I would not want to swim it because there are few eddies and the water is extremely cold, even for Colorado standards.
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Old 05-17-2016  
OC1Rolls
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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Takeout?

This is a great run. I've ran it a few times (Below the box) in my Mad River Outrage OC1. After the first run I invested in a bilge pump because of the lack of eddies to scoop out water. Is it oK to takeout at the gauge RL? At one point it was trespassing I thought. I got a hold of the RR land owner to gain permission because I wasn't sure. He was surprised yet appreciated I asked. What's the current status of the takeout? Hope to get back on it again this season.
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Old 05-17-2016  
 
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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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take out

We generally park in a big pullout spot at the corner of Highway 129 and Seedhouse Road. The takeout is the 129 bridge on river left. I've never had issues there in 15 years of running this, but everything below that is private property. It is possible to run more of the river, but the only significant whitewater is about 10 miles below that in the Mad Creek section. I generally like to put in right below the Elk Box, but the road all the way up there won't open until at least Memorial Day weekend.... maybe later this year. That extra few miles makes the whole run about 9 miles.

There are definitely not many eddies once the water gets a little higher.
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Old 05-17-2016  
 
SteamboatBORN's Avatar
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Nice video!
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Old 05-17-2016  
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Sweet video! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-18-2016  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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FYI, there was a fairly large wind event this winter in the Upper Elk River Valley. It downed a lot of trees. this coupled with other blow down events in the past 20 years make this section very active with wood. Some of us will be up there to clear the strainers in June. Any volunteers? I'll post here when I know the date.


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Old 05-18-2016  
 
mhelm's Avatar
 
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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strainers

As you can see from the video, there is already quite a bit of wood. There is a huge one right on the takout bridge. The section above Hinman is usually choked with wood as well. I'll probably do a trip up there as soon as the road opens, and will report on the situation from the box down.

I may be able to help with the clearing some strainer, but we may have to wait until flows drop a little.
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