What's the gorge like at 550? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-17-2004   #1
Louisville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 30
What's the gorge like at 550?

Harder than at 800 - 1000? Still 3/4? Are sledgehammer, boat eater, and wall slammer scoutable? Wanting to run the gorge for this first time, but trying to decide if 550 is a good level to do so. Also, any experienced gorge boaters want to lead a trip this saturday? My buddy and I are 3+ / 4- boaters I would say. Thanks for info.

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Old 08-17-2004   #2
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 254

john - my crew is about the same (III/IV), and looking to do the gorge this weekend - none of us has run it before - hopefully saturday - maybe we can hook up, though we can offer no beta on the run -

email me if interested - [email protected]
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Old 08-17-2004   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 139
It's been a long time, but I've run it between 400-2000cfs. You'll be fine. Everything is scoutable. Sledgehammer - I think this is where Clark's Hole is - go left, the hole on the right is very sticky. My ride was at a higher level than it is now, but you never know. I dropped in, not knowing about it, with no speed. Long unwanted surf/hole ride. Have a great time, the Royal Gorge is way fun.
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Old 08-17-2004   #4
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 498
It's been awhile but i ran it at 450 and thought it as easy as it ever gets. The lowest drop at sledge hammer is the only thing i remember causing anyone any trouble. it is easy to scout. You have to do the s turn on the top of sunshine but it is just tricky III. and then go between a huge rock on the right wall and a hole might be approaching IV in difficulty but swim would not be bad. Wall slammer is easy I have never thought this rapid hard tho at any stage. At 450 we just started far right and moved out enough to miss a hole above the wall and then keeping the same angle took a couple of strokes to miss the wall. If you can do browns between 1500 and 2000 with no problems you should be ok in the gorge. peace sj
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Old 08-17-2004   #5
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 20
wall slammer

take care to miss the wall tho...

I watched my buddy Al in front of me take a nice comfortable line, and I thought, well, what the hell, that looks easy. So I relaxed, way too much...got a little to close to the wall and bounced pretty quickly right into the wall leaning the wrong way bow upstream - bottom of boat against the wall - not moving at all. I had to duck as my buddy Jerry, following my lead, sailed past me upside down. So I'm pinned, ripping my paddle back and forth to try to at least move along the rock. Flipped over to try a roll, but ended up coming up in a similar position, but a bit more battered. Flipped over again and broke my paddle pushing it against the wall - swam. Pleasant swim over a little pour over - as my buddies below collected Jerry's stuff and mine.

Paddled the rest with hand paddles. Actually - that was fun. Take out your hand paddles after wall slammer. Great workout.
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Old 08-17-2004   #6
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 498
Didn't say it would'nt stink to be up against the wall. After reading your stoy I rememered a time when a boat in front got in trouble and it coused a chain reaction and myself and another paddler went up against the wall . we escaped unscathed but it did get my attention so to speak . Not a place you want to be. peace sj
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Old 08-19-2004   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Gorge at this level is generally III in difficulty with IV consequences if you really botch it.

Hit the bottom drop on Sunshine way tight right to avoid a yucky, ledgy hole. You can recognize Sunshine by the broken down old white house on river right.

After Sunshine, the general idea is this: stay river left. The bad holes in sledgehammer and Boat Eater are on river right, and of course the wall in wall slammer is river right.

So from Sunshine down, you can basically just read-and-run with the idea that left is better than right in most instances.

I, too, have found Wall Slammer to be really easy until the one time I got complacent and ended up against that wall. Stay Away! When you see the catwalk on river left with tourists just above the river gawking at you, you have reached Wall Slammer.
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