North Platte Goes Large - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-07-2010   #1
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,099
North Platte Goes Large

The USGS gage at Northgate's about to hit 3000 cfs. We ran it Saturday, the 5th, at 2200 and it was great: boulders covered and the rockgarden parts (Cowpie Rapid) were easier than at low flows. The waves above Narrow Falls are really humping up, but I think there's less left draw below the drop than at lower water. Lots of pourover holes in Tootsie Roll- I always hit one and this time hit two. Stovepipe is semi-intense but basically a blast down the middle.

In a duckie at 3000, you probably have 50% chance of a swim. Haven't heard of any issues from Six Mile Gap to Treasure Island, but the bridge above the Bennett Peak area might be getting tight. From Treasure Island to Saratoga, Shay Bridge is way tight. On Saturday, rafters reported about six inches of clearance for their full-size cat.

Have fun. Be Safe!

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Old 06-09-2010   #2
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1965
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 9
We put on the afternoon of the 6th, running down to Bennett Peak in two days. The beta was that it was running @2400 early that morning. I've done it many times, the biggest being @2450/2500, a great level. I knew something was up after we got slammed by a monster wave in Windy Hole Rapid. The water was bubbly yellow, bank to over flowed bank. Cow Pie was awash. Where'd the rocks go? Narrow Falls was a monster steep yellow waterfall vortex. I'd seen the rio breach the river right rock garden before, but this time it was a 15' waterfall from some Amazonian rainforest. What river was this?

Tootsie Roll was something out of a youtube river porn video. I don't think I've ever gone so fast without being towed behind a ski boat. 15mph? 20??? It made Lava Falls look like a slip-and-slide. The holes? They weren't holes but seismic depressions into the earth's core, and the last one slammed us so hard we almost lost the dog.

Got home Monday night, went right to the river flows page to find out the rio had reached @3000cfs that day. Up 1000cfs in 24 hours. Amazing! My guide book says they don't let paddle boats on the rio over 3000cfs. I can see why. It's a Doctor Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde river run. Over 2500 and you can guess which one shows up.

Be safe out there!
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Old 06-09-2010   #3
cpollema's Avatar
loveland, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 146
We put in about noon on the 7th. Flow was 3000. I found the hole at Windy, wasn't really warmed up yet and the lateral was more than I ever remembered. The hole spit me out without a flip. Lucky. Cowpie and Narrows were running together and what a ride! The guy I was boating with got knocked out of his seat for a second and kissed the wall on river left, but got back to his oars and pulled away. Stove pipe was huge and I managed to find another large hole somewhere in the mix. Didn't remember that being there before either. We camped at Big Creek that night. The boats were tied off to trees and mine was setting above a fire ring submerged about a foot. Camps were hard to find. We made Treasure the next day by about noon. The lower river was hard to find sometimes-lots of fields flooding and we were moving between 7-9mph according to my GPS. Great run, but be ready for'll sneak up on you quick and is a completely different rapid than at the typical flows.
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Old 06-09-2010   #4
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Icebox, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 261
I thought that looked like your red cat Chip. Almost said hey but I wasn't sure. We ran Saturday and Sunday with the extra water it was a lot different. Ran my 15 fotter as a paddle boat with me and 3 others.. It felt pretty light especially the second day at windy hole when it tried to suck us back. The first day I was almost ejected and headbutted one of my passengers in the center of his back. The only other thing that stuck out was how "narrow" falls felt so much narrower than in my paddle cat last year. Oh and I guess how the nice flat water lulls you to sleep. Definitly a yearly trip.

Talked to the other group that was in font of us on Saturday and one of the guys took several swims from a ducky...
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Old 06-10-2010   #5
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,099
Originally Posted by grandyoso View Post
I thought that looked like your red cat Chip. Almost said hey but I wasn't sure.
Next time give a hey and I'll shout you a beer. We brought lots and the guy we ran with (a lawyer) was a serious, focused type who decided it was unsafe to drink beer on the river. (How did I manage to survive all these years?)

It's 3900 now and rising. I guess the ranchers in North Park have soaked their hayfields and the return flows are coming on (the foamy yellow is cow excretory material). If you swim, don't swallow.

Last time it was this high (it peaked at 5300), half the big boats were flipping at Narrow Falls.

Maximum Rock & Roll!
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