Top Colorado Cataraft Runs - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-29-2009   #1
 
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Top Colorado Cataraft Runs

Often see lists of the "best" or "toughest" runs, but they are usually lists made by kayakers or rafters, seldom are the lists specific to catarafts.

Years ago I made a list of Colorado runs that I thought defined the limits for a cataraft, I still have not run everything on the list (although I am working on it), but would like to hear others give their ideas.
Looking for runs that have been done or could be done to add to the list.

The limitation in a cataraft seems to mostly be when things get too narrow frames and oars can be a disadvantage. I know Black Rock and Rigor Mortis on Clear Creek are run all the time by kayakers and occasionally by R2/R4 paddle rafts, but have they been run by catarafts?

My list so far,

Upper Animas - Animas
Slaughterhouse Falls – Roaring Fork
Barrel Springs – Colorado (below Death 1 and after Death)
Gore - Colorado
Pine Creek - Arkansas
Encampment
Cross Mountain Gorge – Yampa
Second & First Boxes - Piedra
Middle & Lower Narrows - Poudre
Red Bridge to Gateview -Lake Fork

I know it's a long time until boating season but I just need to keep excited thru the winter by finding some new runs and possibly some other catboaters who like the FUN stuff.

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Old 12-29-2009   #2
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Baytopia, Colorado
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not in CO but would be willing to try the upper taos box. i have r2 and r3d it but never cat boated it. I should have a little 12 cat by april.

if you are up for a mission in CO involving pack mules, multi-day, never been rowed or rafted, and extreme portaging let me know.
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Old 12-29-2009   #3
 
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not in CO but would be willing to try the upper taos box. i have r2 and r3d it but never cat boated it. I should have a little 12 cat by april.

if you are up for a mission in CO involving pack mules, multi-day, never been rowed or rafted, and extreme portaging let me know.

Yeh, I've thought about the Upper Box,not sure what level would be best.
Would like to hear more about your "first decent mission". I have a 12' Cat but would like a lighter frame by spring.

Understand a couple of my friends are on your GC trip (Jane and Arron). Have a great trip and let's talk in the spring. Piedra Jane promised to lead me down the Second and First Boxes!
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Old 12-29-2009   #4
 
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Originally Posted by mania View Post
if you are up for a mission in CO involving pack mules, multi-day, never been rowed or rafted, and extreme portaging let me know.
Ooohhh, sounds like fun.

As for cat specific runs - Gore rapid is a bit of a crap shoot when rowing, and I would think that Slaughterhouse at lower flows would be too. I remember having to lowside my 14' hyside several times - then again I have no idea what the 'usual' lines are for Slaughterhouse. The First Box of the Piedra also has some narrow spots for rowing - eye of the needle comes to mind. Of course these runs have been catarafted successfully - being in just the right place and making good hysides seem to be important factors when the oars are shipped.
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Old 12-29-2009   #5
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How about crystal river Narrows. Bogan Canyon is super fun in a raft or a cat. Great water and really pretty scenery. Make sure you run from Marble all the way to Redstone. (bring friends for road portages).

Slaughter House was good for Dan R (Hyside 10ft cat) at 1600ish. The bridge below the falls made it interesting. I think he had a good inch between the bridge and his oar towers.

Water Water everywhere, but not a drop to float. Well almost none to float.

Back in the day when I trained for commercial trips in DGO, we did Piedra in regular cats as paddle crew. Interesting frames from what I remember. Before the eye changed, you almost had to run right over the rock and then hyside the boat. I think 2 out of 3 of our boats flipped that trip. That trip did it for me and I've been hooked ever since.
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Old 12-29-2009   #6
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Ooohhh, sounds like fun.
bring your dancin shoes..

sometime in may. 3 or 4 days. pain. suffering. struggle. glory. its NOT the black canyon.
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Old 12-29-2009   #7
 
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Quote:
Original posted by mania:
"sometime in may. 3 or 4 days. pain. suffering. struggle. glory. its NOT the black canyon."
Sounds like fun! Your not in marketing are you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brendodendo View Post
How about crystal river Narrows. Bogan Canyon is super fun in a raft or a cat. Great water and really pretty scenery. Make sure you run from Marble all the way to Redstone. (bring friends for road portages).

Slaughter House was good for Dan R (Hyside 10ft cat) at 1600ish. The bridge below the falls made it interesting. I think he had a good inch between the bridge and his oar towers.

Have run the Crystal in a kayak and I remember very narrow and steel culverts. Will have to have another look! Hope to be in that neighborhood to run the Roaring Fork.

Have run Slaughterhouse in my cat between 1000 and 1500 and I do not remember a bridge being a problem! Actually I do not remember a bridge??? Have bike scouted the run through town and want to add that the next time. Nice little park on the east side of town for a put in.
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Old 12-29-2009   #8
 
Colo Springs, Colorado
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Keep the Animas at the top of your list, and not just because it begins with an "A".

I paddle rafted it the past two years (private, not commercial). I think a small cat with short oars could make it through, with a good, fast thinker holding the oars.

It was one of the most exciting and potentially dangerous river runs I've ever done.

It's at least 25 miles of near continuous class 4-5 rapids in a narrow canyon at high altitude with cold water and few eddies. I would guess the gradient is between 50 and 100 feet/mile, probably closer to the 100 mark. That's steep, fast water. If there's an injury, getting out of the canyon before takeout is tricky.

I don't know how well CRC describes it. Include someone in your group that has been there before and knows it, and check out the river sign at the beginning.

I'm a little surprised it's run commercially. That must be a hell of a waiver the passengers sign!

At the takeout you ride out on the train into Durango (you need a reservation). Don't miss takeout! If you keep going, if your body reaches Durango it will be in pieces.

David
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Old 12-30-2009   #9
 
Gallatin Gateway, Montana
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Mania = beast
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Old 12-30-2009   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mania View Post
bring your dancin shoes..

sometime in may. 3 or 4 days. pain. suffering. struggle. glory. its NOT the black canyon.
It couldn't be the black canyon, that's been rafted, although we still need to get in there sometime.
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