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Old 07-21-2004   #1
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Royal Gorge - Actual Difficulty & Description

What class is the Royal Gorge at this water level (950 cfs)? There seems to be some discrepency between the commercial trips who rate it at a IV-V and guide books which rate it at a III+-IV.

I have guided (raft) Browns numerous times and am looking for something a little more challenging, but I will be taking a few novices down the river and am concerned about geting in over my head. I have only seen the Gorge once as a paddler about 6 years ago.

Also is there a guide book with a good description of each rapid in the Gorge or is my only option to scout Sunshine, Sledgehammer etc?

Thanks

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Old 07-21-2004   #2
 
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Ah, yes, you notice that the commerical outfitters like to exaggerate the difficulties. Trust the guide books.

The gorge rapids are heavily flow dependent. I don't think the guide books can tell you how to run the rapids since they change so much with the flow. I think Sledgehammer is difficult to scout--no good pull out and it's hard to spot.

At 900, it shouldn't be that difficult.
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Old 07-21-2004   #3
 
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I have open canoed it twice, once last year at 1000cfs and this year around 750cfs. The first time we ran it it was a muddy mess and made it challenging to see rocks.

I think III+/IV would be the correct rating at 950cfs. Three rapids of note in order: Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer, Wallslammer. Scout Sunshine on River right, right after little white shack on right. Sledghammer scout left from railroad tracks about a 1/8 to 1/4 mile down from Sunshine. We also scouted wallslammer on left at the touron center, right after the narrows at the bottem of the gorge. There are also many other read & run III rapids throughout the run.

I would also be careful about swimmers in RG, as I have heard there is a lot of junk in the river such as: rebar, railroad rails and ties. As you go down the river, you will see all of manmade stuff above the river that could have fallen down into the river over the years.
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Old 07-21-2004   #4
gh
 
pnw, Colorado
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In my RG swims I have never hit anything but rocks and the wall in wallslammer. No debris yet.
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Old 07-21-2004   #5
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The best description of the run that I have seen can be found at
http://www.allaboutrivers.com/guides...=Royal%20Gorge

I ran it this weekend at 1050 cfs and it felt like a IV- run to me overall. Watch out for Clark's hole on river right after Sledgehammer.
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Old 07-21-2004   #6
 
Join Date: May 2004
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photos on allaboutrivers.com

The photos on the above mentioned page were not working earlier but are now. Check it out: http://www.allaboutrivers.com/guides...=Royal%20Gorge
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Old 07-22-2004   #7
 
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Royal Gorge Photos and More

One of my more extensive photo/video journal entries is about the day I paddled the Royal Gorge for the first time last summer.
The flow was about 1000 cfs that day.
We scouted Sunshine, Sledgehammer, & Wall Slammer.

Raft companies are notorious for exaggerating the difficulty of rapids. You can read the journal entries before the link below to get an idea about my skill level at the time I paddled the Royal Gorge. It was my first Class 4ish run, and it was a fairly stress free day for me.

There are videos of Sunshine & Sledgehammer on the site, as well as a photo of the entrance to Wall Slammer.
This link will take you directly to the Royal Gorge page.
Kayaking the Royal Gorge - My First "Epic" River Adventure
http://www.savagesnow.com/whitewater...yal_gorge.html
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Old 07-22-2004   #8
gh
 
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Savage snow, looked at your site and yes wallslammer is undercut and no its not a fun place to swim.
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Old 07-22-2004   #9
 
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gh,
Thanks for the confirmation.
I have learned it is better to be safe than sorry.
I try to stay far away from all rock walls with strong current these days.
-Dan
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Old 07-22-2004   #10
gh
 
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There is a hole at the top of wallslammer that feeds you directly into the wall. So dodge the hole as well. Thats how ended up in there, not planning a return trip.
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