Lower South Boulder Dam - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-25-2005   #1
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 30
Lower South Boulder Dam

Just a heads up.... Paddled LSB tonight below Gross Res. to Eldo. It is VERY fun!! The first 'slot rapid' is on the aggressive side at todays flows (450 cfs) and has a large boiling dome at the bottom. Scout for your lines and hit it with authority.

After this IV-IV+ boogie until you get to The Brain. The Brain is BIG at this level but it does look like a line exists (right of The Brain). Everyone in my group walked it tonight as it was late in the evening and there is NO room for error on this one. More IV+ boogie until Bridge Rapid. NYDan ran bridge tonight and styled it. It is EXTREMELY aggressive though. The entry move is straight forward but it's white-out from there. Big ski-jump rock in the line half way down and the current funnels you into a very grabby hole. Need for speed here!!! IV+ to V- boogie from here to the dam.

I was the first to run the dam, lucky me. I hit it just the way I had intended full steam ahead leaning hard forward. The hole at the bottom stopped me on a dime!!! I was right on the brink of the foam pile and started cranking like a madman but got sucked right back in. I side surfed for about a minute but did not move an inch laterally dispite every attempt. No other options I tried a rocket-move and it almost worked, almost.... As my stern squirted something grabbed and pirouetted me upstream at which point I window shaded at around 300 mph, give or take. The forced ripped the paddle from my hand dispite the death grip I had on it. At this point I thought about hand rolling but what good was that...? The paddle had gotten me no where. I pulled my skirt at this point since I was still fresh and paddleless. The boat was ripped off. I recirc'd 4 or 5 time without my boat when the water grabbed me and pulled me deep. I resurfaced about 15 feet down stream of the hole and swam to shore. What the heck, a little swim every couple of years is good for the soul!! My boat decided to hang out in the hole for another couple of minutes until it flushed.

I've run this dam many times in the past few years and it's a BLAST, but at 450 it packed a punch I have not witnessed before. If you do this run and go over the dam scout it first, just my recommendation. A friend with a bag is another recommendation. The farther right the better in my opinion, now. I was about 7 feet to the left of the concrete wall on the right and it is MEATY... there is a recess on the right which may be more forgiving.

LSB is an incredible run that is FUN, FUN, FUN!! In my newly humble opinion at 450 cfs and more give it just a wee bit more gusto/respect then normal.

Be safe, have fun!


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Old 05-25-2005   #2
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,828
Its not the 450 below gross that maks the dam sticky , its the 394 reading at Eldo. anytime that goes above 250-300 the dam gets tricky. You are right that the line is FAR right. Make damn your group knows not to send more than one boat into the hole at a time. I've heard that really hurts.

Did NYDan run bridge (hole in the wall) entering left or right?
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Old 05-25-2005   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 40
I entered left; down the slide; just to the right of the tree. That is one of the most fun lines around in my opinion. You come around that corner and its like getting shot out of a cannon, instant speed.
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