Originally Posted by cisen
Hi All, I have a Gates of Ladore trip June 20th and have a friend with a Yampa permit for June 10th. I have a raft group with lots of kids age 10-14, who love to duckie. I have heard there could be some big unscoutable stuff near Split Mtn. and below.
The Yampa will certainly be big this year. I'll add some information below from a USBR forcast report in April. May was cold and snowy up there.
Basically I'm wondering when a typical peak would be on the Yampa, and if anyone has experience with rafting big flows on the Yampa section and after it joins the Green.
The rule in Dinosaur is that you can only do one trip on either the Yampa or the Green per year so if you're thinking of doing both trips, you'll need to change your plans.
The Yampa flows into the Green which then flows through Whirlpool Canyon across Island Park, and then through Split Mountain. I don't know the Yampa but I'd expect Warm Springs will be pretty gnarly at expected levels, not sure you can walk around it at that flow. The flatwater sections of the Yampa and Island Park will probably be a lot of fun for kids in duckies, however the current will probably be cranking and the water very powerful. Even in the flatwater sections a swim could be really fast, the recovery much more demanding and multiple swimmers in a group could get spread out long distances pretty quickly.
Whirlpool Canyon is named for the powerful whirlpools that form all throughout it which could probably cause trouble for anyone in a ducky and especially a swimmer. I've had vortices like that pull me down and hold me under for a long time despite 25 lbs of floatation. Then there'll be Split Mountain where the rapids will be really rocking above 25K. I wouldn't want to ducky this myself at that level from what I have heard about SM that level.
As for sending 10-14 yr old kids down in duckies at that level, they better be some really adventurous types or you may turn them off whitewater permanently and have yourself a really miserable time in the process.
A couple of questions that may help your decision:
Will you have enough raft support that you can take the kids and their duckies through bigger rapids, possibly Whirlpool Canyon, and the full Split Mt. run?
More importantly, do the kids specifically want to go on the Yampa and Green at monster high water or will they be happy to go ducky with their friends and families anywhere they can? If what they want the most is some fun splashy water to go paddle duckies around in, another stretch of water probably would be better.
The risks may not be all that bad but the consequences could be significant.