Off Season Lodore - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-08-2010   #1
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 154
Off Season Lodore

Anybody have any experience with doing an off season (Feb - April) Lodore trip?

Low water (but doable, dam release), no sun and cold temps with maybe bad weather. Excellent solitude...

Or, torture fest?

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Old 01-09-2010   #2
Denver via GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 346
We did Ladore in September and given the geography I would guess it about has to ice over. There are numerous canyons with steep walls and slow water (Can't imagine it gets much sun), not to mention the big bend area that could dam or freeze. Best guess is it maybe a torture. There is no easy way out once your in, and lines are already tight in the first days rapids without snow or ice.

Maybe check the park service site to see if they have any canyon temperature data or call a ranger, but my guess is it would take some serious luck before April to get sustained temps above freezing in the canyons. If you try it I would go at the last possible moment before permit season. Even low flows on Lodore would be worth it though! FYI, some of the areas may be calving range, so several camps could be off limits.
"I plan to leisurely advance through my existence" - Terry Fuhrman 1991
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Old 01-09-2010   #3
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 536
The up side of dam release is that it will be relatively warmer water, so as long as there isn't snow on the ground you'll probably be okay. I've done a Yampa the last week of March and it was great for all but the last day when it snowed.

The ice dams the get people stuck in Deso are when the White & the Duchesne send down floes that get hung up on the sand bars. While that might happen with the Yampa & Echo/Island Parks, I haven't heard of it being as big a problem. is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old 01-09-2010   #4
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 35
I have done Ladore several times around Halloween. It gets pretty cold and dark already that time of year. I suppose the End of March is about as far from the Solstice so it might be comprable, but I would expect it would be colder still.

Dry Suits, Tight Spraydecks, Sleeping pads under your legs in your boat and you should be ok.. If not, paddle harder. You can do it in two days if you want to. Fun trip. Too bad it is so difficult to get a permit down there during normal times of year.
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Old 01-09-2010   #5
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 652
Call the park river rangers. They have a lot of experience and are pretty friendly.

The short days would bug me the most. You can't make wood fires, so you have to deal with 14 hours of darkness every day. Depends on the company, I guess.
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