Northgate 5800 - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-14-2010   #1
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Northgate 5800

Anyone seen northgate this high? Any beta out there?

correction, 5350 cfs.

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Old 06-14-2010   #2
 
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SE, Wyoming
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I went to Six Mile Gap to do some fieldwork on a lichen trimline site (a way of reading longterm river levels for 1000+ years). At 11:00 am, the Northgate gage was at 5300 cfs, which was last reached on June 5, 2005. Of those running the river that day, about half of the big boats (16 footers) flipped at Narrow Falls (which at this stage is a river-wide reversing wave/hole situation). It was a weekend, and quite a few people tried it. We were roping swimmers and loose boats in at the takeout for a couple hours. Carnage.

My guess at this point is that Windy Hole has some big lateral/compression waves, but is not a flipper. Cowpie is mostly washed out, with some big hydraulics. Narrow Falls will really toss your salad, with big hydraulics and compression waves above the drop (which is much wider than at lower stages with a big pourover hole on the right) and possibly a big reversal over the rock fence below. Tootsie Roll (the steepest sustained rapid) has several keeper holes on the right, some of which will flip a full-size raft. Stovepipe is a blast down the middle, with pourover holes right and center that you don't see at lower flows.

There was a party of kayakers doing the shuttle when I started out on my work. Maybe they'll post a report.

I'd say class IV and V kayakers will really enjoy it. Big rafts and cats will have a battle, with a high probability of a flip and a long swim. No paddle rafts allowed at this stage. Duckies, forget it.

For raft/cat boaters, a wise tactic would be to do this with no less than 3-4 boats, and to have a competent rescue crew waiting at Six Mile Gap with a kayak or two, and a bunch of throw bags to catch the swimmers and loose boats. The takeout is in a side channel on the left. If you dump, get to the left bank: there's a trail along the river below the takeout.

There's also a trail from the take-out that scrambles upriver to overlook Stovepipe Rapid. Sending someone up to look for loose boats and swimmers, with a whistle and a comm (cheap walkie talkie) is not a bad idea, plus they can take a camera and get great pics of the boats thumping through Stovepipe. If the boaters haven't done the run, a whistle and a wave above the takeout is nice.

At this flow, for rafters, having a catch team at the takeout might make a big difference.
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Old 06-14-2010   #3
 
the fort, Colorado
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NOAA says the flow in Saratoga is the highest since 1957. Pretty impressive.
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Old 06-14-2010   #4
 
fort collins, Colorado
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I rafted it in the late 90's at 3800... I rember it being very impressive at that level. Can't imagine 5800cfs.
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Old 06-15-2010   #5
 
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Bozeman, Montana
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pathfinder reservoir should spill as well and free range down river into the canyon talking possiblly 4k+
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Old 06-15-2010   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip View Post
I'd say class IV and V kayakers will really enjoy it. Big rafts and cats will have a battle, with a high probability of a flip and a long swim. No paddle rafts allowed at this stage. Duckies, forget it.
Great beta.

I am curious why you think oar rigs will fare better than paddle boats. In my experience full paddle boats have as much if not more hole punching ability than oar rigs. Lightly loaded oar rigs in big water get tossed around and flipped more easily than half full paddle boats. Cats are a different beast and light cats can melt through a lot of big stuff. For my money on big water a stern rig with strong paddlers is usually the best bet - lots of weight that can high side and a lot of paddles in the water to help with downsteam speed and hole punching.
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Old 06-15-2010   #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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i have done this run at 5000 in 2005. it was great fun. big with a lot of push. we had 3 kayaks and 2 rafts, one ore rig and one paddle raft 12'. the paddle raft had no problem the ore rig had the wrong line through narrow falls. the mile or so above narrow falls is big waves and holes, not washed out.
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Old 06-15-2010   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caspermike View Post
pathfinder reservoir should spill as well and free range down river into the canyon talking possiblly 4k+
4000??!!?? Thats almost what is going through there right now. If pathfinder spills there will be 15000 going through the canyon.
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Old 06-15-2010   #9
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Thanks Chip! Sounds like a wild ride to say the least. We will have to watch the flows and make a group decision about hitting it up this weekend.

How long will the run take to 6 mile at this flow?
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Old 06-15-2010   #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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i have herd rumor that the laramie river below the wheatland reservoirs will be running. was told this canyon hasn't been done since the 80's. also blue grass may be running.
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