Need help deciding - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-11-2011   #1
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,390
Need help deciding

So I have Deso 25th launch. High water obviously. Originally it was going to be a family float with kids 5-8 years of age. One of my friends bailed due to high water and logistics. So now my wife is freaking out and bailing on me.

So if it was you and you were facing 40k+ cfs on Deso, would you bring your family with small kids (I have all proper gear for my kid including dry suits, helmets, pfds with crouch straps and throw ropes). My buddy also will bring his hard shell to run safety on Joe Hutch, steer ridge and Coal creek. Out of my group, I will be the most experienced with about 9-10 trips down Deso at 20k cfs highest flow.

If you are in my shoes, would you drag your family with you or just do a guy trip and let the issue drop?

Thanks, I know I can always count on Buzz to help out


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Old 05-11-2011   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 20
If you are a confident oarsmen then you should be able to skirt the big holes. We did CAT at 43,000 a while back with young ones, no probs. They could alway walk the big ones!
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Old 05-11-2011   #3
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 135
It's always said if you're asking, you shouldn't be going....
Leave 'em at home and enjoy the high water if it's an option.
Should be able to skirt? Plenty of time for trips in the future.
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Old 05-11-2011   #4
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
Hard call, since not to many people have run Deso at 40K+, especially since the changes in Joe Hutch. I personally found the trip to be easier at 20K than at 10K. The right hand sneak at Joe Hutch should be easier at high water. Not sure how the other rapids will be at that level. For me the big question would be..... will the trip be less enjoyable & more stressful with the kids along? Would it be less stressful if it was just experienced adults? You have lots of Deso & Westwater experience so I'm sure you'll weigh the pros & cons and make a good decision. Have fun & stay safe.
PS - I ordered the flip seat from AAA. Anxious to see how it works on my boat.
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Old 05-11-2011   #5
fun hog
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D-go go, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
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Posts: 106
Leave em and run the meat
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Old 05-11-2011   #6
eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 30
Leave them at home. We always error on the side of caution. We want our kids to LOVE rafting for years to come!
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Old 05-11-2011   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,650

The risks are moderate but the consequences in huge, fast-flowing, and very powerful water could be very significant. A swim in cold water that can suck a person in a Type V PFD down and hold them under could turn off a child to whitewater boating for the rest of their life.

For example, I've boated with folks who grew up on whitewater and still love the lifestyle, however, I told a coworker recently that whitewater is one of my passions. She told me about how her family ran whitewater when she was a kid and described a nasty pin her mother had experienced and almost died, then she spoke a bit more about some other close calls she'd had or seen and said that she'll never get on whitewater again.

I've been on Deso at 25K+ and its big, fast water with some huge holes and lots of power that would be very different from the "whee fun fun fun" experience of splashy rapids. I don't know what the new rapid is like at Hutch, how easy the sneak would be, or any of that but I wouldn't want to spend the whole trip with the anticipation of the crux rapid at huge water in the back of my mind. From the videos I've seen, it would be a very long walk around, as would a lot of the other rapids.

It would be a great guy trip.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 05-11-2011   #8
wildh2onriver's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,309
I agree with Andy, but would add that it depends on the kid (I'm speaking of the 8 year old and wouldn't even consider the 5 year old). Can he or she self rescue to some degree? That would be first and foremost of the questions I would ask myself. Do you have the right cold water gear for your child, i.e. wet/drysuit with thermo layers?

I started boating with my kids when they were about the same age and ran Cataract, MS, Owyhee, Deso and so on--but walking around rapids was always an option (though fairly rare, but then we didn't run those rivers at near historical highs).

Now, they both oar quite well, in their mid teens they were running such rivers as the Selway, the MFS, etc., with their own boats.
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Old 05-11-2011   #9
Rifle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 97
High water is a different animal regardless if things are washed out or not. The "What if" factor outweighs the risk. Wait for the float-n-bloat levels on something else.
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Old 05-12-2011   #10
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,466

This guy was fine with a 18 month old and a negative 3 month old on the Poudre, and your kids have dry suits. You should be fine!
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