Grand Canyon at 8000 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-17-2010   #1
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 27
Grand Canyon at 8000

So will be headed down this October and my previous time saw flows between 20,000 and 40,000. This time it will be a consistent 8,000.

Can anyone who has done any rapids at 8,000 comment on this? Looking for clear concise beta if you have it! Cheers!


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Old 07-17-2010   #2
Aspen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 377
In 2000 we went down at 8000 cfs. The play boating was way better that trip than the trip I did before at 12-15000 cfs. We were on a chartered motor trip, and we would surf all day at a spot and motor down to camp afterwards, passing a bottle the whole way. It was a different experience than the rowed trip we did before in 1995. At the ledges campsite they did one of their river flow experiments. The river went to 32,000 cfs overnight and we kept moving our camp up through the night. the ledge hole at Lava was a huge cresting wave that warranted about five runs through it

Sorry, no particular beta, but the play will be way better. I do remember Hance being tough for the big motor rig though.
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Old 07-18-2010   #3
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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its easy read and run at 8000 unless you have a totally loaded giant boat that you can't maneuver. still fun though not to worry.
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Old 07-18-2010   #4
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Oregon City, Oregon
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I think you'll still have fluctuations in the flow, due to power demand at Glen Canyon Dam. I made a September run a couple of years ago at flows that ranged between 7,000 and 10,000 with the tides.

Places that become more challenging at low water include Bedrock Rapid, where the shallows on the right force you way to the left at the entry, and then you have to pull like hell to get to the right of the massive boulder--not terribly difficult, but a bit deceptive, requiring persistence.

Horn Creek Rapid is especially tough at low water. It is very difficult (bordering on impossible) to miss the big hole, even with the essential perfectly-timed eddy turn below the mid-stream pour-over at the entry. Set a downstream ferry angle to punch the eddy below the pour-over, and don't let the eddy swing your bow downstream. Keep pulling on the right oar to maintain the downstream ferry angle and keep pulling to the left. You might be able to just brush the left side of the hole. More likely, you'll hit the hole anyway, so be sure to hit it straight and push your way through it. The odds are that all you'll get is a boatload of water, but a flip is pretty easy anyway.

At Lava, the left-side runs go away at low water. The right-side run requires a precise entry within 3 feet to the right of the massive mid-river pourover (the ledge hole). Too far to the right leads you into a pair of ugly holes against the right bank, and too far to the left takes you over the death rock into the ledge hole.

Hance is filled with obstacles--boulders and holes--but the slower current makes it into a fun slalom course, with lots of maneuvering but no serious peril. Scout it well--and, of course, scout everything else as well.
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Old 07-18-2010   #5
Telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 90's
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Any Spots?

Saw your post about the October trip. Any spots available? 25/f, out of Telluride, CO and would be first time on the GC. Experience rafting and lots of fun. - thanks, Britt 860-575-1038
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Old 07-18-2010   #6
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 27
Thanks for the info so far...

Here's the info regarding the steady flow from the riverwire:

On September 1, 2010 and continuing through October 31, 2010, the releases from
Glen Canyon Dam will be steady with no fluctuations for power production
(excluding system regulation and spinning reserves) for a steady flow experiment
pursuant to the February 2008 Finding of No Significant Impact 'Experimental
Releases from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona 2008 through 2012'. This year will be the
third year of steady flows of the 5 year experiment. The projected release rate
being targeted is 8,000 cfs which is equivalent to a monthly release volume of
approximately 476,000 acre-feet in September 2010 and 491,000 acre-feet in
October 2010.
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Old 07-19-2010   #7
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 56
Game on. House/roaring 20's...24.5!/Hance/crystal/upset. Pretty defined and no cheatin at that level. It's gonna be a great time.
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Old 08-16-2010   #8
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
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Im headed down in Jan, see flows should be 17,000-22,000.... it's my first trip down the grand and curious how things look/any major concerns at those flows. I'm still trying to decide more playboat oriented or bigger river runner-- most everything i've read suggest playboat, and the fact it's gonna be f'in COLD. Any info or ideas is greatly appreciated
"Only the boring get bored...."
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Old 08-17-2010   #9
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Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 550
You are going to love a fall trip. Way more wave action starting to get cool
at night. As for Jan fella be prepared to live in a drysuit for 3weeks and row/paddle and plan your camps to catch the sun. Keep a bottle of 303 in you vest to lube you neck gasket continuously to keep the chafe down.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 08-17-2010   #10
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Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I just went down for my first time March/April when flows were 12,000-6,000. I don't have anything to compare it to but I thought it was a fun level. We had a mix of first timers and folks that had been down before. We scouted House Rock, Hance, Horn, Granite, Crystal, Bedrock, and Lava. Everything else we found ok to read-and-run with the help of the guidebook.

So, I'm sure we hit some rapids at about 8,000. Not sure how much they change between 12k-6k but here's what I know:

Badger - straightforward but our lead boat went a little too far right and got sucked into the hole there. Both people got tossed out and the raft got worked a bit.
House Rock - didn't have much of an option but to hit the holes on the left, it was too rocky/low on the right. One boat flipped.
Roaring 20s - all straightforward
Hance - we all started center-right and tried to move left through the rapid to miss the holes at the bottom. Most of us just ended up hitting the holes, which were fun.
Horn - all but one boat split the horns on the left, which was an easy but fun ride. Our 18' rental went right and got tossed around a bit but made it fine.
Granite (one of my favorites) - ran down the wall on the right. I was a little intimidated by the wall but once in the rapid I was never pushed too much that direction. Easily missed the hole at the bottom.
Hermit - ran right down the middle, fun
Crystal - some boats went left, some sneaked it right, one went right down the center through the holes (he did fine). I went left (as it looked more fun) and was doing fine until my shoulder dislocated. This sent us into the left wall (that little part that sticks out perpendicular to the current), pinning us and eventually flipping us. Fortunately, we missed the holes and flushed clean from the wall but it was still a long swim that I would rather never do again. All that being said, I'd still go left again at that level.
[the following rapids I didn't personally row due to my injury]
Bedrock - everyone went right (of course). Some started way right in the rocks, others moved out into the current a little more. Everyone made it just fine.
Upset - most went left. I think everyone but one ended up hitting the bottom holes (one boat flipped). The one boat that missed the holes I recall saying they were pushing into the wall going through the rapid. Watch the lateral at the top on the left, it tossed one person from the oars.
Lava - everyone went right and pretty much just followed the bubble line. One boat flipped in the Cheese Grater, but he was just unlucky and it surged just as he got there.
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