Waterton TR 1/27 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-27-2013   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Waterton TR 1/27

My crew of four had a fun day in Waterton today, as did at least one other crew of four.
The upper canyon is nearly ice-free. The warm-up rapids are good-to-go, and there was some genuinely decent surf.
That first long, significant rapid with the house rock on the bottom-left is good clean fun.
Green Bridge, however, was a death trap. Totally iced-over/sieved-out and unrunnable, and it's very tough to get out of your boat right above it. Ice shelves along the banks and ice over the eddies.
Fortunately we pre-scouted the whole thing before getting in our boats.
We picked a spot a couple hundred yards above Green Bridge and used an ax to chop the ice shelf away from the bank. Marked the spot with a cairn.
The next rapid below green bridge - the one with the little sieve in the left-center, was sketchy with ice but doable. All the bottom steep rapids were good to go; problem was, it would be difficult and sketchy to get out of your boat down at the res. Giant ice banks that are starting to fracture. I heard somebody paddled to the bottom and then chopped steps into the ice with his paddle to get out, but because it looks like giant blocks of that ice are ready to break off and tumble down, that looked like a bad idea to us. So we just did laps on the upper stuff and surfed. It was a fun day, and worth it for folks who are jonesing and don't have to drive too far to get there. Just be really careful above Green Bridge.

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Old 01-28-2013   #2
ednaout's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
I was just wondering if waterton was passible. Thanks for the report. I've been wanting to head that way and float Deckers down through waterton, just to get some strokes in.

Thanks again!
"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 01-29-2013   #3
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 123
After looking at waterton, my group decided that if we were going to be limited to class 2 on waterton, we might as well at least get some distance in and skip the hiking by doing Deckers. Deckers was a great time from above the chutes down to the hiking bridge for the Colorado Trail.

Another week above freezing and Waterton would probably open up top to bottom.

Also, in my opinion, Avalanche rapid with the sieve was runnable but a solid 5+. You would have to go right and stay at least a few feet away from the rock in the middle because of a large ice shelf. Most people who run that don't set up quite right and end up kissing the rock with the tail of their boat. If you were that close, really bad things would happen.
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