Flows for IKs in Westwater? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-04-2012   #1
Montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 42
Flows for IKs in Westwater?

I've got a Westwater trip coming up in a couple weeks and I was expecting fairly low flows for an early season run. Now its looking like the river might be pushing 7k or slightly higher by this time. I've read on here that its gravy below 6 and gnar(ish) above 10, but I'm wondering about the transition range. I've run lots of SW III+ to IV rivers over the years, but have yet to hit up Westwater.

To make a long story short, has anyone run Westwater in an IK at the 7k-8k level?

I'm probably getting nervous from watching too many high water Skull mishaps on Youtube...

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Old 04-05-2012   #2
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,466
I've run it clean in an IK at 4500, which in a raft is about the juiciest level. I've rafted it at 7000 plenty of times and would call that (7-10k) an "easier" flow - in a raft. I'm sure you'll be alright. I wouldn't duckie it in the terrible teens....

By the way, Skull is retarded easy in an IK, you'll be fine!
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Old 04-05-2012   #3
Riverton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 343
I was on Westwater last year just below 9000. Skull isn't the worst rapid at those levels, Sock-It-To-Me claimed one Kataraft in our group, washed the 2 right off it, and Surprise actually surprised me and nearly threw me out of my raft.

But it was a great level. All the big rocks were still covered and you could go right into the big holes behind them and have a little girl screaming good time.

You'll be fine. Nice thing about that flow is that its slower so you can adjust your lines pretty quickly/easy to avoid stuff.
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Old 04-05-2012   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
Just be prepared that most of the rapids below Little D are rather steep compared to many other SW runs. The 6k+ range will get pushier for an IK, though easier than the lower range for rafts.

Sock-It-To-Me is always a big hit but you can probably sneak it a bit to the left.

I have seen it at that level 2 times and I remember a fair amount of time to recover in most rapids.

Have a great time.

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Old 04-05-2012   #5
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
I watched a guy in ~ 1989 drift into the hole in Skull at 12K in an IK. He surfed it casually for about a minute and then paddled out upright and went downstream looking for more. Looked pretty easy
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Old 04-06-2012   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
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I've duckied Westwater several times at apx. 3000,4700,6800,9000,11,000,13,000 . Those 'tweener levels 6800/9000 seemed hardest to me,a lot more squirrelly laterals that don't mess with rafts or skilled kayakers as much. Skull is pretty easy in a ducky . Look out for Sock It To Me . We had a guy swim quite a ways [ 1st big drop Funnel?Big Hummer? to Skull scout eddy, then a foot entrapment] with major yard sale at 9000 ,dress warm and secure gear well.
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Old 04-09-2012   #7
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Pejivalle, Costa Rica
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 190
If that's a question you have and if you don't have someone going with you that can answer that question, you shouldn't be going.

Don't let a bunch of bullshitters on an internet forum convince you Skull is "retarded easy" in an IK at any level. You're never going to hear a good boater say something like that about any class four river or rapid... unless he's retarded.

At 7,000 plus you can swim Skull and end up in Caterpillar and wash through Sock-It-2-Me and spill down Last Chance before the drunk guy who was hollering, "it's all gravy," above Initiation will ever be able to get his stoned-ass in a position to help you.

It is a bad idea to be cavalier about W.W.
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