Westwater versus Shoshone - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-19-2006   #1
CUBuffskier's Avatar
Erie, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 237
Westwater versus Shoshone

I'm in need of some Westwater Beta. I got some permits for July 2nd, but I'm not sure if it would be way over our heads after hearing some stories of skull. We were out on shoshone over the weekend at near 4,000 and felt comfortable. Is it the same type of feel or way more technical (challenging, etc...)?

What are people's thoughts? And also how much lower do you think the flow will be in 2 weeks? We want to have fun but be challenged (just not dead or without gear).

Oh - and we plan on going in kayaks in a 1 day trip.

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Old 06-19-2006   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 783
skull is a very easy move in a kayak it causes more trouble for rafts, but it isn't that tough for rafts either. Just get to the left before a big crashing wave. All you need to know is where it is. There are some rocks sticking out on the left side after a big hole on the right above skull. You can scout on the left. you should be fine.
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Old 06-19-2006   #3
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 652
Wow, Westwater is already down to 7700! Should be no problem by July 2.

Shoshone at high water is a good test for Westwater. In fact, I think Shoshone at 4000 is harder than Westwater at 6000.

Skull is easier for kayaks than for rafts because kayaks can make the move left easily. The main thing is to make sure you recognize Skull. If you make the easy move left, Skull is a piece of cake. Make sure you catch the bit eddy river left after skull rock so you can climb out and get a good look at the rapid.

After running Westwater, you'll probably say, wow, the big waves were fun, it was pretty, but it wasn't a very tough run.
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Old 06-19-2006   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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If you were comfy on shoshone at 4k you'll be fine. Westy is similar, big waves, very straightforward lines on most of the rapids. Its pool drop, and most of the rapids have an obvious horizon line and tongue lead in and are taken straight down the tongue. Big fun waves, and some kick ass surfing. Skull is a pretty easy move too. Skull can be recognized by a canyon wall river right, and a pile of rocks and boulders on river left. The river bends left out of sight and thats the start of skull. You will hear it, and its the only rapid that you don't see in front of you from a long way off. Go left of the big hole, and take a split second to check out that big sucker as you go by. Definitely check out little D surf wave. Its the first real rapid you come to. There is a big eddy river right. The ferry to the wave is kinda far and can be pushy. I had a hard time getting out at 3300, but at 5500 it was better. Also keep an eye out for good surf waves in the wave trains of the rapids. We eddied out and tried to surf a bunch of them. Some were great!

Have fun!
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Old 06-19-2006   #5
Metro Area, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 214
If you were comfortable in Shoshone at 4K you will be able to sytle Westy at even 8K. The above posts describe what to watch out for.

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Old 06-19-2006   #6
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Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I agree, Shoshone from 4-10k has some holes and big munchy pourovers you pretty much want to avoid, so there are a few moves to make. The only time I did Westwater it was around 6k +/- and all of the moves are pretty obvious straight up the middle, except for Skull, which is the obvious left hand turn with school bus eating sized hole on the right.
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