Upper Blue - any issues this weekend? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-09-2016   #1
 
pbowman's Avatar
 
McCall, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 247
Upper Blue - any issues this weekend?

Can anyone offer updates and beta about the Upper Blue this year, and for this weekend June 11 & 12?

Are there any trees or hazards on the stretch at the current flow of 1100 cfs?

Is the HWY 9 put in near the private drive and bridge still acceptable to use?

Is getting under the pipe bridge in the canyon section a problem at current flows with a paddle raft or oar rig? At what flow does the pipe become an issue? It seems like there is limited chance to portage at that location if the pipe is a problem since it is more/less in the middle of the rapid with few eddies near it.

Are any commercial outfitters running the Upper or Lower currently? Just wondering if it will be busy this weekend.

It has been a few years since I ran it last, but I am thinking about coming over for the weekend. Any knowledge and info about how it looks this year would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Old 06-09-2016   #2
 
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2015
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AVA is running the Upper Blue, you might be able to ask about beta by calling 970-423-9402.
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Old 06-10-2016   #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Blue

You can get under everything up to 1800 which is the largest release Denver water likes to put down there. You must remember to duck. Lots of dead trees in there so it can change at any time.
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Old 06-13-2016   #4
 
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McCall, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Trip Report

My group was able to do a few laps in my 13' paddle raft on Sunday 6/12. No strainers or bad wood to speak of. A few trees down on the banks here and there, but nothing that obstructed any of the main lines. The water level is into the banks, so getting out of the river from a swim would be a challenge due to brush and small strainers. The pipe was not an issue for paddle rafts, just be aware and duck a little. I saw one person rowing a raft with an elevated DRE captains chair, and he said he made it under too.

One issue to be aware of - there is a raft and frame pinned on a large rock in the middle channel of the second rapid. It is easy to see and avoid, and can be run either left or right (we did both). Going by on river left, I thought I saw the bow line bag flapping in the water with the line dispersed out of it and sunk below the surface (not floating). There is a bit of a rapid above and below the pinned raft, so just be heads up if you have a swim in that area. We heard at the take out that one of the local agencies was planning a training effort to extract it today 6/13 and that they were going to close the river during the exercise.

We had a great day, and out biggest group issue was classification of the run at these flows: III+ or IV-, our group had votes for both.
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Old 06-17-2016   #5
 
Frisco, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbowman View Post
We heard at the take out that one of the local agencies was planning a training effort to extract it today 6/13 and that they were going to close the river during the exercise.

We had a great day, and out biggest group issue was classification of the run at these flows: III+ or IV-, our group had votes for both.
They didn't close the river, but the boat was extracted. Somebody was even nice enough to tell us there was a line in the water.

I think the Blue is still class III at this level, as well as all the way up to 1800. The eddy is big enough river right that the entrance move to Boulder Creek is easy. There's enough water flowing around Tombstone that you can go both ways, and you can go both ways around the next island. All the sleepers are under water after Tombstone. Guide Ejector is flushed out in Oh No Rapid, and again, all the rocks are covered up, all the way to Columbine. There is enough water that you can bypass the entire take out rapid and flop over the take out eddy rocks.

At this flow the Upper Blue is an exercise in staying out of the Willows and teeing up waves.

Below 800 is when the Upper Blue gets tougher, but then there's significantly reduced swim consequence.
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