Yampa at 20,000 to 25,000 cfs - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-26-2011   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 6
Yampa at 20,000 to 25,000 cfs

Hi All,

Can anyone tell me what the Yampa is like at 20,000+ cfs below Dearlodge? Is Warm Springs easier with more water volume?


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Old 05-26-2011   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 85
Warm Springs easier?
"Hell no"! in my opinion. But it's been 15+ years since I've seen Warm Springs at 20K+ and all of our boats did just fine.

There will be more water keeping you out in the middle, harder to break those top laterals and get right; getting sucked into the land of the giants and leading you into the Maytag Hole. It will be loud and fast.

Pucker Up, do a downstream ferry to blast those top laterals and ride the choppy water along the right bank. Don't get bounced off the bank and sucked back into the main current because we all know where that leads.

Walk the kids and have rescue boats ready.

The rock garden below the hole will be easier though!

Have Fun.

The NPS website for Dinosaur has some high water Warm Springs pics from 83-84 that are cool. Check them out.
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Old 05-26-2011   #3
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 706
I'll disagree with that. My experience is that the right side of Warm Springs is not hard to do at flows above 20,000. It's much easier to get into when flows get above 10-13,000.

We were just there at something in the upper teens of flow. All of our boatmen commented that there was no problem getting into the right side to set up for the wave coming off the lower right, just above the Maytag hole in the center. And, there was a lot of space in the right side, so we didn't have to get real close to the bank. I'd say we were about 10 feet off shore. Our boats hit that lower right wave in a variety of places, and all came through straight. We had no problem avoiding the Maytag hole.

I've been to Warm Springs in recent years when the flows were above 20,000. You will still find a lateral at the top above the right side. But, it's smaller than it is at lower flows. Scout carefully, looking for your crossover point. Even if you miss breaking over the lateral, you will have time to face left and make pulls to the right.

Should you choose to do so, you can look at running the right side of the wave train itself, not too far into the center of it, so that you can still pull out when you feel you need to, to avoid going straight into the Maytag hole.

The key to Warm Springs at current and higher flows is not so much if and how you'll get into the right side, but what part of the lower right wave you'll want to hit.

I don't mean to say the W.S. is inconsequential when flows are in the 20's. It is, however, not as difficult to take it with a safe, conservative run as when flows are lower.

Furthermore, the island below is covered. Also, anybody who chooses to walk can easily be picked up at the W.S. camp.

Watch out for Surprise hole/wave just around the bend! One of our guys, a Yampa first-timer, thought he was done and got prematurely evacuated from his boat when he hit that.

As for the rest of Yampa, Tepee is very scoutable and a simple run to the right of the hole with a long stretch of small waves below. Little Joe has a hole on the lower left to avoid. Big Joe is a good right side run down the wave train. Flow averages about 7-8 mph.

Lastly, bring some kind of rubber boot for all the wetness you'll have around your boat parking.
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Old 05-26-2011   #4
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Snowmass, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
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Posts: 429
Seriously, another Yampa high water thread? Admin, can you link all 42 Yampa threads started in the past month and make it sticky? It's obviously a popular topic...
"A witty saying proves nothing."
- Voltaire (1694-1778)
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Old 05-26-2011   #5
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
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A new thread with every 5,000 cfs increase.
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Old 05-26-2011   #6
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,199
Originally Posted by David L View Post
A new thread with every 5,000 cfs increase.
At 30k the question will be who to call to pick up cancellations?
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Old 05-26-2011   #7
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Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 106

27-footer endoing in Warm Springs in 1984...
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”-Ed Abbey
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Old 06-15-2011   #8
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 20
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Warm Springs at 20K +

I just had the pleasure to go on Yampa river at DNM with a group of Boy Scouts (Pack 161 in Niwot CO) with the Adrift Guiding company. The CFS was around 2400 I believe. The Guides scouted warm springs out beforehand as we waited in the boats. The Guides did a good job keeping us right. Our oar boat just caught the last part of the rapids which then pushed us to the right but drenched the entier hull of the raft. I was austruck as to how powerful the rapid was to the left of us as it had large diagnol curls (frowns). After we all made it past Warm springs, our other group in the paddle boat had a flux flip on the following Suprise rapid as a log apparently hit the rapid at the same time and threw them over. I was really happy with our Guiding company "Adrift" as their level of experience and professionalism was awesome. We also ate like kings. I am definetly going back. Next stop - the Green River. As for Warm Springs, at least for us on our Day 3, and all kidding aside, STAY RIGHT.
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Old 06-16-2011   #9
steamboat springs, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 77
Just for fun...attached is a photo taken from our put-in on June 11th with the Deerlodge gauge reading just over 24K. Floating through the campground and cottonwood grove was a particularly great way to start the trip.
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Old 06-16-2011   #10
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Apr 2007
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We were there last week at about 25k and watched two out of four commercial boats flip in Maytag, one was a 27 foot pontoon. That was the biggest hole I had ever seen! Glad everyone was OK.
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