upper death has been run several times over the last few years by local kayakers in the area. it was my pic and video running iot last year that was posted. those runs were at about 1400 cfs and lower, in a kingpin. due to the rick slide, low water runs are extremely hazardous now, as 1/2 the water now flows into a sieve on river left, brad and i both opted not to run the upper half of this run below 1500 this spring due to this factor. hobie recently ran it at about 4500 cfs in his crazy 88 and was vert and "post vert" through the rapid, but came out with an ear to ear grin (i think it is still there). brad ludden, tyler brandt, steve fischer, and corey volt ran it the next day in their creek boats. the last raft i know of that ran upper death was in 1997, billy mattison and mongo r-2'd it at low water, clean.
this rapid is "beautifully ugly". ugly looking consequesnces, beautiful run (when you are at the bottom!) check yourself before you run this and watch the changes in personality at different water levels. the features of this rapid have changed a few times over the last 10 years.
i think it used to be called "cottonwood falls", but this was back in the 70's. i forget the reason's the name changed (raft guide stories about a death in the rapid; other - older, i mean more expierenced - folks would know better than i). there was a book on the Hx of glenwood canyon that listed the name cottonwood falls.
hope this helps.