Westwater late October - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-17-2007   #1
 
bobbuilds's Avatar
 
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Westwater late October

I'm looking for information on Westwater in late October. What's the weather like? How are the rapids leading up to skull and and is there a sure way to identify skull rapid before you're in it?

How long will it take me to paddle Westwater in a day? Suggestions on what I should bring/what to wear

Anything you guys could tell me about it would be great.


Bob

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Old 10-17-2007   #2
 
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We usually do a trip around Halloween. The weather is a toss-up: it could be in the 70's or it could be snowing. I have typically had pretty decent luck, though. We usually camp at the put-in the night before (temps are usually tolerable around the fire) and do it in one day with a lunch break at Little D. It definitely gets cold at night, so bring a good bag or an extra layer to throw on top. I've always been dressed warm for the river and been comfortable (poly-pro, dry-top, and warm swim-trunks). In one day you can power through in 4 hours but 6 is an enjoyable but not overly lazy pace. From what you've been paddling, it will be a good step up but a solid challenge for you. Skull is the main rapid (big rock jutting out on the left, sheer wall in the right; from the river, you will be looking downstream into the Room of Doom, the big U-shaped pocket in the cliff wall), but the other rapids are respectable too. I bet Sock-it-to-Me causes more carnage than Skull. What I'm saying is that it might be wise for you to have a guide for your first time. It's an awesome run and your chances of decent weather are pretty good but a swim will be cold and miserable. You will love it when you get down there.

COUNT
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Old 10-18-2007   #3
 
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Levels are great, weather variable (but I've always had good luck... probably jinxing myself for this wknd). Look up the weather for Cisco.

In a kayak, Skull isn't that bad. Watch out for Funnel and SITM.

Rapids -

Upper/Lower Little D - Wave trains - go with the flow.
Marble Canyon - Start right, finish center
Staircase - Run the wavetrain left of center
Big hummer - Right to center.
Funnel - First horizon line. Start just left of center. Look for the splash and aim for it. You will probably line up too far left, but there is time to correct. There is a lateral on the left that will flip you quickly. Current pushes right, move left.
Surprise - there are really two drops that have funky, swirly water.
Skull - Scout is on the left. River constricts, wall on the right. Follow the tongue and move left as soon as you can (don't rush it as there are some rocks that are starting to appear in the low 4k area). Eddy on the left at the bottom to regroup.
Bowling alley - down the middle, no big deal.
SITM - This is the one that usually gets ya. There is an eddy on the right just above the drop. Run the seam on the right and you'll avoid the meat. You'll probably get pushed left towards the magnetic rock, work right to avoid.
Last Chance - Until last weekend, I've always run left of the pourover, then moved right. However the water can be a little funky (two weeks ago I got squirted and broke my backband). Last wknd I ran just right of the pourover and it was super easy.
Little bit of funky water and you're done.

Total time - no idea. Only done it as a booze cruise on the way in and out on overnighters.

Here are some pics I've found:
Funnel - http://www.ees.nmt.edu/Geol/river/raft.jpeg
Various rapids - Westwater Canyon Rafting on the Colorado River - Westwater Canyon rafting and Westwater Canyon white water
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Old 10-18-2007   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbuilds View Post
is there a sure way to identify skull rapid before you're in it?
yeah... when the river disapears over a big horizon and there is a lot of roaring below then you are probably at skull.

read this..
American Whitewater - NWRI - Colorado 08. Westwater to Rose Ranch (Westwater Canyon)

check out the youtube vids too

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.
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Old 10-18-2007   #5
JBL
 
Gnarnia, Colorado
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More good pics of Westwater: Guide to Westwater Canyon a section of the COLORADO RIVER
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Old 10-18-2007   #6
 
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Whitefish, Montana
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go for it

bob,
you should do pretty good...I was just down there this past weekend....drytop with bare hands, not bad at all for temps....Little D, great surf wave in the middle of the current with big eddy on right...All the rapids are straight forward with big wave trains, bigger than you are probably used to...I agree that funnel and sock it to me are going to be potentially worse for carnage as skull you can skirt to the left and miss everything but a bit of swirly water. most rapids have big tongues and can be run and scouted from the boat...look forward to a long day if you are doing it all at once with a lot of flat water at the end.

your braces are good, you have your roll, just beware of brainfreeze with the water temps if you are rolling a lot...Have fun if you make it down there soon....

Dave
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Old 10-18-2007   #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbuilds View Post
I'm looking for information on Westwater in late October. What's the weather like? How are the rapids leading up to skull and and is there a sure way to identify skull rapid before you're in it?

How long will it take me to paddle Westwater in a day? Suggestions on what I should bring/what to wear

Anything you guys could tell me about it would be great.


Bob
hey bob for what it's worth, i fully agree with the count. i'm doing my 5th halloween trip next week and the weather IS a toss up, i've had snow, rain full on sunshine but i will say that any funky weather has only been for a short time...no more than an hour. i've always done overnights and it does get a bit chilly at night so have plenty of firewood and dry clothes. i just noticed you're doing it in one day...it can get very windy coming out of the canyon at the end of the day and don't forget that you don't have as much daylight this time of year. have fun...it's a blast. i also agree with the count about sock-it-to-me and carneage opps as to skull. have fun buddy, it's a blast. if you're going to play at little d...it's a little bit of work to get in there but the rides are killer, fast rockin' wave.

kushlife
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