San Juan at low flow - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-26-2008   #1
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1
San Juan at low flow

Can anyone give me a good idea of what the minimum flow should be to navigate an 18' gear boat through the lower section of the San Juan from Grand Gulch to Clay Hills? They've turned the water off and we have a permit for a June 30th Sand Island launch. Thanks!

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Old 06-26-2008   #2
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Posts: 726
i've done it well below 1000 cfs.
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Old 06-26-2008   #3
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SE, Wyoming
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The last bit above Clay Hills Crossing is pretty silted, with lots of shifting bars and braided channels. Might be good to have a couple small boats out front scouting and enough people within hail to help drag the gear boat if it grounds out.
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Old 06-26-2008   #4
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
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We lodged on a sandbar above Clay Hills - river right, about 100 yards upstream of the ramp - at ~2600cfs last month. So...I agree with Chip.
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Old 06-26-2008   #5
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
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We did it two years ago at 750cfs,in 14footers. We all pretty much decided that we wouldn't go lower than that. Government rapid was pretty damn technical at that level. Fucker rocks everywhere. And you'll be dodging tons of sandbars from Grand Gulch to the take-out.
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Old 06-26-2008   #6
Upper Florida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: May 2008
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Boat size

I agree with 750, It's doable and Government does become mor of a technical -III. What can make the low water row out tough is wind ripples distorting your look at the meandering channels, So at least try to beat the afternoon winds. I think you have close to 2,000 cfs next week. Were launching next Friday.
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Old 07-11-2008   #7
Join Date: Jul 2008
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San Juan Too low?

I've run it at 700 cfs and up to 8,000 cfs.

8,000 was much better.
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Old 07-13-2008   #8
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 81
A thousand in an 18" will be tough but doable, 750 I'd think will involve a lot of dragging. You WILL ground out though and the channels will be tough to read. I second the recommendation of having a couple kayaks or canoes working with you to find the best channels if you have that option. If you get big head winds it will double the difficulty. If you can stay at Ojeto (sp?) wash and get an early start it most likely will help beat the wind help.

If it's under a grand, I'd consider using a saller baot if that's an option.
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