New Kayakers in Browns - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-06-2013   #1
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
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New Kayakers in Browns

Hi-
A couple of our significant others/friends have shown interest in doing a fun trip. Have others taken new boaters in inflatable kayaks down Browns? Everyone in the group that is going are solid athletes and we are not worried about that aspect. The couple of us who will be in hard boats have run Browns a handful of times and feel very comfortable in all sections, just wondering (as we have never brought nonpaddlers along) if this sounds like a horrible idea (most of the group will most likely walk Zoom). Thanks for your insights.

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Old 06-06-2013   #2
 
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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If everyone is athletic, good swimmers and has a good attitude about getting beat up, you'll have a great time. Keep an eye on flows, above 1k gear goes farther, faster, but one of the hard-shellers can grab it.

I strongly recommend having everyone run siedel's for the ha-ha-carnage factor.
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Old 06-06-2013   #3
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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No recommendation from me on taking them down as you know them and I don't.

Even in a IK, my bet is they will swim, maybe in places where they should not. There are worse places to swim than Zoomer in my opinion.

What I would do is be very sure they had on helmets, at least Farmer Jon's with a fleece top and paddle jacket and good shoes. Even if you have to rent the gear, I don't care how tough a person is that water is super cold right now. Then I would give them a really good talk on swimming rapids and maybe stop at one of the easier drops before Zoom with a good pool at the bottom and have them swim the rapid and have fun. Stair Case is not a good spot for your first swim!!

For what it is worth.
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Old 06-06-2013   #4
 
Golden, Colorado
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Thanks for the advice - they will all be in full wetsuits and other gear. Most of the group are competitive open water swimmer (which is why I have a little less concern). We are planning on starting in the BV playpark to work on skills and take the full day to get down through Browns.
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Old 06-06-2013   #5
 
Lakewood, Colorado
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Are you referring to taking them down in tandem IK's, or having them paddle their own IK while you kayak? I've taken non-boaters in tandems (put them in front) down Brown's and Westwater. Keep in mind they don't move as quick as your kayak, so give yourself extra time to make your moves. Give good verbal commands on when and how you want them to paddle. Remember that if you flip, you can flip it back over and climb back in pretty quick and easy. Dress to swim. IK's are really pretty stable, zoom was fun (I wouldn't skip it, if you're going tandem and are comfortable running it in your kayak). Obviously, your own skill level and ability to give instructions will be important.

If you are thinking of putting them in their own IK while you kayak, and they have no experience with whitewater, I would recommend a different section (at least above ~800cfs...not sure when you're planning your trip). I did this once with me leading 4 brand-newbians in their own IK's, and put in at Hecla Junction, took out at Big Bend. You get to run Seidel's, they might swim there (no one in my group swam, but the water was a bit lower when I did this). They can also walk seidel's, the rest of the run was pretty mellow and easy enough for them to navigate. If I were to do it again I'd probably want more of a 2:1 ratio rather than the 4:1, but everything worked out that time.
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Old 06-06-2013   #6
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pnw, Colorado
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We threw several beginners in IK's and took them down Browns and it was all good. They were athletic and had good gear. We ran safety and it was a good day.
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Old 06-06-2013   #7
 
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Wetsuits wetsuits wetsuits
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Old 06-06-2013   #8
 
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Westminster, Colorado
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If it's too hot at the put-in for wetsuits and splash jackets, make sure they pack splash jackets. Bring plenty of snacks and extra water too. Because they're newbs, they haven't learned to conserve their energy on the river and they'll be super hungry and thirsty part way through from paddling every which direction as they get turned around and flushed into eddies and up against rocks, etc.
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Old 06-07-2013   #9
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdlb View Post
Thanks for the advice - they will all be in full wetsuits and other gear. Most of the group are competitive open water swimmer (which is why I have a little less concern). We are planning on starting in the BV playpark to work on skills and take the full day to get down through Browns.
If you plan on going downstream from the BV park be very careful with the Silver Bullet. Beaver Falls just below the playpark can get difficult for inexperienced paddlers as well.

The Silver Bullet (if your not familiar) is an old dam with lots of concrete and rebar. The left side drop is solid class IV. The right side is a class III boat chute. There is a portage/scout trail on the river right. It is flat water leading up to the drop, but there is solid class III whitewater for approximately 100 yards below the drop. Not a good place to swim.... there have been bad accidents here.

Here is a picture from low water to show you what the feature looks like:
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Old 06-07-2013   #10
 
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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If you're confident in your group, you could skip bv altogether since the paddle into browns from fish bridge provides plenty of warm up practice.
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