Upper A vs. Piedra - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-30-2008   #1
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 509
Upper A vs. Piedra

Yes, this is another "Am I good enough to run the Upper A" thread. I ran the Piedra this year around 1500 (walked Eye of the Needle) and thought it was a big step up from the Numbers. So, how does the Upper A compare to the Piedra, aside from the V's? Also, is it reasonable to run in a Jackson Fun? (I can stay comfortable in the boat for 25 miles) I'm considering a run this weekend if anyone can comment on flows too. Thanks!


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Old 06-30-2008   #2
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 795
Upper A. is an entirely different ball game IMO. And no, I wouldn't take a playboat, some might disagree, atleast not right now. It's still running pretty good. I think a reasonable comparison would be Numbers 1 through 4 stacked together continuously for about 1-3 miles per stretch. Ten Mile, No name....LONG after the "crux" of each respective drop, and not much down time in between. It's just big......it may say 1000 or 1200 or whatever at the Silverton guage, but it sure feels A LOT bigger and pushier than that. I ran the Piedra this year too at about 1500 or 1600 and at that level I don't really think it compares to the UA....even when UA is at 1100.

Absolutely unbelievable though....one of my favorite all time runs. As long as you're with peeps that know it you should be good to go.
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Old 06-30-2008   #3
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 424
Don't take the Fun, go with someone who knows it and make sure you can paddle ALL day and then hike your ass off or run boxed in class V and then hike your ass off a little less. Bring the pogies, a dry suit and more layers than you need.
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Old 06-30-2008   #4
rg5hole's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
Do not take your playboat.
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 07-01-2008   #5
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
I know I am in the minority, but I didn't see the Upper A as a big step up from the Piedra. I ran the Upper A at about 1000 cfs and the Piedra at about 2000 cfs. I found the "in between stuff" on the Upper Animas to be more fun read and run than "big". Granted the "in between" on the upper is more difficult than the "in between" on the Piedra, but I found the Piedra more committed and harder to read and run (lower box).

Probably just my wierd brain and what I am comfortable with vs. what kind of worries me, but I thought I would throw it out there as a different opinion from the rest.
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Old 07-01-2008   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
I also think the Upper A (minus Rockwood) is only a small step up from the Piedra, as long as you're with someone who knows it so you don't have to worry about every horizon line.
And I ran Upper A with a guy who was in a Wavesport EZ, and he did just fine. The Creeker is preferrable, but if you ran the Piedra in the Fun, you can run Upper A in the Fun.
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Old 07-01-2008   #7
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 31
I dont think it would be a problem to run the upper A in a fun or any playboat, but its kind of pointless. There is not really any play and the water is really really cold so flipping sucks, and most people tend to flip a lot less in a down river type boat.
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Old 07-01-2008   #8
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 25
To pushy for a playboat

Leave the play boat at home. The upper A is WICKED!!!!
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Old 07-01-2008   #9
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Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
Limited experience (think I've run each 3-4 times).
Upper A (excluding Rockwood Gorge):
  • water and air temps typically a lot cooler.
  • more continuous overall
  • a swim could get to be a pretty big deal, esp. re: hypothermia
  • beautiful, at times stunning.
  • Long. Find a friend to ride the train w/ your camping gear and food and turn it into a sweet over-nighter.
  • Boxed-in stuff seemed tougher than No Name.
  • No train track (has its +/-'s)
So I would say, most things being equal or comparable, Upper A is a step up from Piedra, but not a big stretch.
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Old 07-02-2008   #10
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,853
okay this is the way it is. the upper a is dramatically different at high vs med vs low flow. right now its medium and fairly forgiving and fun. I am up there more than not right now and its great. high water this season was insane going 13 miles an hour on class IV+ with no eddys is pretty wild. if you have done it at med to low and you think you know it at high you are wrong, but high water is over for this season.

ps. its also warm and sunny now which makes a big difference from snowing.
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