Heading to Rado on Friday! Where should I go first? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-15-2015   #1
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 6
Heading to Rado on Friday! Where should I go first?

I posted a couple weeks ago and got good beta. Thanks! I am leaving Friday and was wondering what you would recommend hitting first. I was thinking Crested Butte but would go to Durango if that area is going to drop out quicker. Also, I want to make sure that I hit Yule Creek and Stupid Falls at a runable flow, so I am thinking those 2 spots should be on the early part of the trip. Thanks for the recommendations!

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Old 06-16-2015   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
I'd suggest a game time flow check when you hit the state.

CB creek flows look low right now but runnable. East is forecast to decline, so CB could be toast early. Conditions Map The colorado basin river forecast center has good flow forecasts for many gauges on the west slope.

Bailey was on your original list. It is at awesome flows right now. High water off natural flow, which is very rare. Be heads up for wood as it has been moving around a lot in there with high water. Prob a nice stop if you are coming in from the east.

Much of the state is at thumping high flows right now, so you will have plenty of water.

Big South gate will not be open. Some folks run from the top in rocky mountain national park, but thats a huge shuttle and often done as an overnighter. A fun option is to paddle barnes meadow reservoir, then do a reasonable mile or so hike and run the bottom 1/2 of big south from prime time down. Bet its big up there, but haven't seen any upper poudre reports.

Have no clue about yule or other big waterfall sets you mentioned, but you will not have any prob finding water.
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Old 06-16-2015   #3
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 846
CB creeks will definitely be done first. I doubt stupid falls is at a good flow or will be this year, as I recall most descents have happened when the East @ Cement Creek was 2000-2500.

Yule should be gigantic right now. Here is the reference gauge on the Crystal: USGS Current Conditions for USGS 09081600 CRYSTAL RIVER ABV AVALANCHE CRK, NEAR REDSTONE, CO It is probably at big flows like when the Demshitz ran it high several years ago. It will be "in" for a while.

Durango (Vallecito, Pandoras) has been blown out high for a week or two, and remains too high for mortals. But it may be dropping down, just watch the gauges.

You can use the CO DWR website for flows and click the top links to go to the large watersheds (e.g., Colorado, San Juan), then narrow into specific drainages (e.g., Eagle, Animas) with links on the right. Use the guidebook to figure out what gauges you need for your target runs. The website is here: Colorado Division of Water Resources

The Front Range is going off right now - Bear Creek, Clear Creek, Poudre, etc. are all high and great. Have fun
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Old 06-16-2015   #4
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Copper Mountain, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 289
Bailey. Bear. Clear. Gilman. Clear creek ark. Gore (<5000). Durango if bakers and vallecito drop in(I want to head there wed/thurs next week).

These would be my recommendations. Everyone in the 315 used to speak of the zonedogg so I think you will be good to go.

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