Ledge Hole on teh Mama Chama Section - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-11-2019   #1
 
Issip's Avatar
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
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Ledge Hole on teh Mama Chama Section

There were two bad swims involving AWC members on the Mama Chama section 2017 when we ran it at flows over 1500 CFS. It was the same ledge hole that caused both swims.


It is located well past the fisherman's bridge near the start of the El Vado lake bed. By that point you think you are done with the rapids and you would not expect anything so heinous of a river feature.



I consider it a class IV hazard in what is otherwise class II+ or maybe class -III water even through the Mama Chama rapid. It is a potentially deadly keeper hole. You can dodge it, but it is hard to spot for anyone without class IV+ experience, especially if they aren't expecting it.



This year snowpack suggests it will hit high flows again so I want to get this warning out in the hopes of avoiding potential tragedy.


Swift water rescue skills were essential in the two swims that occurred during the last high water flow in 2017.


Thanks for your time and attention and happy boating!


Adam

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Old 03-11-2019   #2
 
Bayfield, Colorado
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Thanks for the heads up Adam. Do you know what the status of El Vado dam is. Last I heard was lake was to remain empty for repairs to the dam. Can't find any current beta.
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Old 03-12-2019   #3
 
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
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I don't think a final decision on the dam repair has been made, though I have been hearing that they need to drain the lake to fix the dam. I don't anticipate them emptying the lake completely this year, but they will also not be filling the reservoir.


Steve Harris from Far Flung has been tracking that issue fairly closely, like I mentioned the last update I saw had no concrete timeline for the repair to occur.
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Old 03-12-2019   #4
Abron Cabron
 
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
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Thanks for the heads up..! i have always wanted to hit this run, prolly with fam too...
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Old 03-13-2019   #5
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
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My little band of kayakers were out there for the Annual Box Runs back in the 90's and heard about this run and ran it between Box runs. Nice little creek run, at the levels we ran no rapids of note. Mama Chama rapid was just some big rocks in the creek.

We got a late start and the paddle out across the lake was brutal due to wind driven white cap waves in our face.

My advice for others find out if there is a take out before the lake.
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Old 03-13-2019   #6
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Issip View Post
There were two bad swims involving AWC members on the Mama Chama section 2017 when we ran it at flows over 1500 CFS. It was the same ledge hole that caused both swims.


It is located well past the fisherman's bridge near the start of the El Vado lake bed. By that point you think you are done with the rapids and you would not expect anything so heinous of a river feature.



I consider it a class IV hazard in what is otherwise class II+ or maybe class -III water even through the Mama Chama rapid. It is a potentially deadly keeper hole. You can dodge it, but it is hard to spot for anyone without class IV+ experience, especially if they aren't expecting it.



This year snowpack suggests it will hit high flows again so I want to get this warning out in the hopes of avoiding potential tragedy.


Swift water rescue skills were essential in the two swims that occurred during the last high water flow in 2017.


Thanks for your time and attention and happy boating!


Adam

Thanks for the heads-up Adam!
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Old 05-15-2019   #7
 
king kong kev's Avatar
 
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 34
Thanks for the warning of the ledge hole. How far below the Fisherman's bridge is the ledge hole? Is it past the Heron spillway?

Has anyone run this recently? We were thinking of taking some rafts down either this weekend or next. Flow is >2000 right now. Also curious if the El Vado northern boat ramp is open or if it would be a muddy mess and just easier to take out at the southern ramp.

Thanks for any info,
Kevin
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
 
Pilar, NM, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1963
Join Date: May 2013
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El Vado Reservoir status

Reclamation is beginning a storage operation to get 40,000 acre feet into storage for the irrigation season. I calculate that this will soon mean the boat ramp is a reasonable takeout (at winter, 2018 levels it was a bit of a hike to a locked gate!).



FYI: In the near future (2020-2022) El Vado may be drained entirely for a "Corrective Action", that may last 2 years. Check this link: https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsre...RecordID=63286.



The runnability of the Wild and Scenic section below the dam will be an issue during the construction period, as inflows will be passed. I expect that summer weekend releases will be arranged. But boater participation in scoping the repair project could l help ensure minimal disruption.


I'd urge Chama afficianados to call the Bureau 505-462-3576 and get on the mailing list to provide input into this project and receive updates. Or call Chama Flow Project 575-751-1269 to discuss.
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