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Old 06-17-2015   #1
 
student
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 443
Royal Gorge

What's it like at this level? Done it at 3k and heard 4 k is better. any beta?

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Old 06-18-2015   #2
 
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
It was a while ago that I ran it at this level. I remember sunshine coming up super quick, we chased a swimmer from sunshine through sledgehammer then what seems like a few minutes later we were on the flat water heading towards town. All the familiar rocks were under water and it was a long fast moving wave train with a couple burley holes. Fun but it went by too quick.
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Old 06-18-2015   #3
 
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Pueblo, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 61
More swirley

Ran it Monday at 4.5k. I'm from idaho so I love big water. There is nowhere for the river to go, it gets deeper and swirley.
A few thumping holes.
Some features are washed out.
Fast.
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Old 06-18-2015   #4
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 818
We did it at 5500 last weekend. I would call it class 4, maybe 4+ in difficulty. All the rocks were covered and there were few if any holes that would hold you, but it was really fast and the waves were huge. A swim in the narrows would be really dangerous and a swim anywhere could result in losing all of your gear. A bit over an hour per lap. It was really fun and I would highly recommend it to any solid kayaker. Very unique to paddle this kind of relatively friendly and warm big water in CO.

As for lines (since you probably won't be stopping to scout).

Sunshine- start center over the huge green wave, then head right.
Sledgehammer- go left (pretty easy move)
Narrows- don't get tossed into either wall.
Boat eater- go right (also pretty easy move)

Have fun.




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Old 06-18-2015   #5
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 46
Gorge at high flows

I was a guide at Browns Royal Gorge in summer of 1984/85. Don't know where this film footage is today. But, my training guides ran it in 1983 approx 7500 - 8000 cfs and was filmed by a TV Show called PM magazine.

Back then we ran 10' X 24" pontoon tubes with custom frames. Before catarafts were even built. I know that at that flow, its big/fast and flippy. The 3 boats went into Sunshine (before Ft Carson pulled the rock over and made it easier) some boats submerged to where the only the tops of their helmets could be seen, other boats just flipped. They hung onto the flipped boat, went into Sledge, flipped boat back over, climbed in. I think they flipped at bottom at "the keeper" hole.

The next year Sunshine and the submerged raft was the cover shot for a calendar called "The Boaters Calendar" Mikey K was the boatman, don't remember the rest. But, those were some brave souls back then, with some serious "kahunas" when everyone else feared the Gorge above 2000 cfs.

A brief history that I remember, I spent two years rowing the Ark, each year it peaked somewhere between 7000 and 8000 cfs. 1 flip, 3 almosts... "Puppy" rapid

So, stop all your crying at 5000 cfs and get out there and run some stuff...
Before you get to old and have to work and be a family man......
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Old 06-18-2015   #6
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 818
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbendell View Post
I was a guide at Browns Royal Gorge in summer of 1984/85. Don't know where this film footage is today. But, my training guides ran it in 1983 approx 7500 - 8000 cfs and was filmed by a TV Show called PM magazine.

Back then we ran 10' X 24" pontoon tubes with custom frames. Before catarafts were even built. I know that at that flow, its big/fast and flippy. The 3 boats went into Sunshine (before Ft Carson pulled the rock over and made it easier) some boats submerged to where the only the tops of their helmets could be seen, other boats just flipped. They hung onto the flipped boat, went into Sledge, flipped boat back over, climbed in. I think they flipped at bottom at "the keeper" hole.

The next year Sunshine and the submerged raft was the cover shot for a calendar called "The Boaters Calendar" Mikey K was the boatman, don't remember the rest. But, those were some brave souls back then, with some serious "kahunas" when everyone else feared the Gorge above 2000 cfs.

A brief history that I remember, I spent two years rowing the Ark, each year it peaked somewhere between 7000 and 8000 cfs. 1 flip, 3 almosts... "Puppy" rapid

So, stop all your crying at 5000 cfs and get out there and run some stuff...
Before you get to old and have to work and be a family man......

Who is crying?

Also, according to USGS, it never got above 6300 in the 80s:

USGS Surface Water for Colorado: Peak Streamflow
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Old 06-18-2015   #7
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 46
royal gorge

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmack View Post
Who is crying?

Also, according to USGS, it never got above 6300 in the 80s:

USGS Surface Water for Colorado: Peak Streamflow
JMACK,
thanks for the correction, we did not have the technology that we have today to get accurate cfs flows, in fact back then we used to dial in to some random river flow number and punch in digits for the river flows or estimate best as we could because the stations did not report. So while you are right on internet facts, I was just going off my memories of what we were told as guides back then. We did not have the luxuries of today, not in equipment, not in flows, not in mindsets.

We could play the game: trust what the Gov't says or trust what an old dog guide says?


We used the Canon City flow back then I believe because that was what was available.. Or the Canon paper each day? Doesn't really matter I guess, few but some feeder streams come in below Parkdale, but back then it was big shit to run the gorge at those flows anyhow, nobody really did, I never did, although we did some evening floats as guides in a 1940's rubber boat that did not hold shit for air. Those were interesting trips. I just did Parkdale back then. In fact, many companies frowned upon anyone who ran boats during these peak flows.. Most did not for week or so.

Another fun fact, nobody ran the Gorge above 2500-3000 cfs for many years. Not even privates. Some kayakers. But few.



Oh, How times have changed... Glad they have changed...

The point is, get out there and run this stuff as it maybe another 20-30 years till we see these flows again.

as far as cryers, just making a reference to those claiming no one is out there boating this stuff and those telling people to stay at home. On these random forums, not this one FYI.

Water is big, if your skill sets are up for go for it.

Canon City
1980 Jun. 12, 1980 10.05 7,290
1981 Jun. 07, 1981 6.98 1,680
1982 Jul. 01, 1982 7.94 2,900
1983 Jun. 27, 1983 10.08 6,690
1984 May 26, 1984 9.48 6,120
1985 Jun. 10, 1985 10.06 7,580

Parkdale
1980 Jun. 12, 1980 8.07 5,840
1981 Jun. 09, 1981 4.74 2,110
1982 Jul. 01, 1982 5.58 3,220
1983 Jun. 26, 1983 8.06 6,310
1984 May 25, 1984 7.12 5,430
1985 Jun. 09, 1985 9.13 5,960
1986 Jun. 08, 1986 7.30 4,670
1987 Jun. 10, 1987 7.84 5,950

would like to have seen this:
1921 Aug. 02, 1921 10.70 19,000
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Old 06-18-2015   #8
 
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 702
I agree with jmack. We rafted it last weekend and man, was it fast! The main thing we saw were the consequences of a swim, being swept downriver.

Lots of water "bouncing" around and coming off the walls made it real interesting. Ya gotta be able to react very quickly to what you see.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jmack View Post
We did it at 5500 last weekend. I would call it class 4, maybe 4+ in difficulty. All the rocks were covered and there were few if any holes that would hold you, but it was really fast and the waves were huge. A swim in the narrows would be really dangerous and a swim anywhere could result in losing all of your gear. A bit over an hour per lap. It was really fun and I would highly recommend it to any solid kayaker. Very unique to paddle this kind of relatively friendly and warm big water in CO.

As for lines (since you probably won't be stopping to scout).

Sunshine- start center over the huge green wave, then head right.
Sledgehammer- go left (pretty easy move)
Narrows- don't get tossed into either wall.
Boat eater- go right (also pretty easy move)

Have fun.




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Old 06-18-2015   #9
 
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DURANGO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
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Posts: 102
Sunshine- start center over the huge green wave, then head right.
Sledgehammer- go left (pretty easy move)
Narrows- don't get tossed into either wall.
Boat eater- go right (also pretty easy move)

Thanks, This helps.
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