north saint vrain buttonrock down beta - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-09-2013   #1
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
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north saint vrain buttonrock down beta

So I've been reading into this run both on mntbuzz run description and the new testament. Anyone know if 'buttonrock preserve to cr80' is the same run as 'nsv proving ground' in the new testament?

This looks like it's right up my alley and I'm thinking about making a trip up from golden this weekend. Any tips/advice/ anyone want to go?

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Old 05-10-2013   #2
 
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longmont, Colorado
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Yes, button rock to CR80 is the same section thats also referred to as "the proving grounds" there is no gauge on this section so you want to see at least 300 on the St. Vrain in Lyons. (Combo of north and south St. Vrain) Dont be fooled into trying to ELF this section. The first rapid is a sieved out boulder garden and doesn't go at ELF flows. The portage around the first two drops can be difficult.
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Old 05-10-2013   #3
KSC
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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To further clarify the gauge problem (since it seems to be a source of much confusion):

NSV is split into 2 sections by Buttonrock res. The class V section above Buttonrock has a gauge on it. The section below Buttonrock no longer has a functioning gauge on it. The Proving Grounds section you're talking about starts just below the reservoir. There's a gauge in Lyons that includes both the north & south branches of the St. Vrain. Unfortunately, the south branch (SSV) no longer has a functioning gauge on it either. SSV does have a foot gauge on it (visual only) and there's a Facebook page where, in theory, people report the current reading. You can kind of correlate that foot gauge to cfs and get an idea of what's coming in on NSV below Buttonrock. You can also guess that what they're releasing out of Buttonrock will be similar to what's flowing into it, but you might be wrong!

Ian just calls the water board there and asks how much they're releasing from the reservoir - that seems to be the more straightforward approach.

As for the run itself, I did it around 400 cfs. I thought that was a good *minimum* and not because I'm some hardcore bad ass, but because the riverbed is not particularly channelized and as noted above, the main gorge is a sieved out boulder garden that just doesn't really go with low water. I've heard many reports of people running this section and saying it was absolutely terrible. That's usually because they went in with 250 cfs or something too low.

Also realize the run is short. There are two gorges right at the beginning of the run and they're a really fun set of drops. However, after that it just turns into continuous nondescript creeky III-IV boogie water for a short distance and that's the run.

Lastly, the main gorge in there isn't a cake walk. "Proving Grounds" is more descriptive in that it gives you a short sampling of a class V creeky gorge without fully committing to long sections of those rapids. It's not like running Black Rock rapid on Clear Creek. When I ran it, I saw two solid paddlers blow one of the main lines. It wasn't consequential, but they had to wheelchair down the bank and get back into the main flow. A third paddler blew the line up top and just barely averted disaster. That said, I really enjoyed paddling through the 2 main gorges and we saw two owls fly just overhead as we were waiting in an eddy between them.

In summary:
- It's worth doing the run.
- Don't go until it really has a good flow (~ > 400 cfs). The Lyons Outdoor Games is a great time to go as they usually are able to get a release out of Buttonrock during the event (consider volunteering for safety on SSV in the morning).
- Don't expect too much fun (it's short)
- Don't go because you're not quite ready for class V creeking and think this is the ticket
- If it's running, something better quality is probably also running.
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Old 05-10-2013   #4
 
Durango, Colorado
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My tip would be to go paddle anything else. People have always been interested in this run because:

1) They are looking for a "step up" to class V run.
2) The book inexplicably gives the run four stars.

This run really does suck. There are two good rapids, maybe, if the flows are good, which they never are.
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Old 05-10-2013   #5
ACC
 
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dropzone, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmack View Post
My tip would be to go paddle anything else. People have always been interested in this run because:

1) They are looking for a "step up" to class V run.
2) The book inexplicably gives the run four stars.

This run really does suck. There are two good rapids, maybe, if the flows are good, which they never are.
It sucks and it cuts. Well...it certainly does suck!
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Old 05-10-2013   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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As of yesterday, they were releasing 100 cfs out of buttonrock into NSV.
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Old 05-10-2013   #7
 
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Longmont, Colorado
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There is also a river wide log / foot bridge in the middle of this run that must be portaged. You have plenty of warning as it is in a relatively mellow section. If you are doing it at suggested flows of 400 just be heads up.

So if you are portaging the main drop, then you are portaging twice for a mile+ long run. I love the Vrain and this run was fun to do a couple of times, but you'd probably have more fun running short sections of SSV.
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Old 05-10-2013   #8
 
Golden, Colorado
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Thanks for the feedback! I thought it was running now, but thanks for the gauge clarification KSC. I guess that just fell a few spots on my to do list...
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