Gore Canyon Colorado River Beta - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-18-2018   #1
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 5
Gore Canyon Colorado River Beta

Hay All,

First time running Gore Canyon on the upper CO next weekend and looking for any guidance on the lines for the run. Iíve looked around for any books or guides online and havent turned up much. Iíll be running in a 10 foot raft with some friends that are all experienced boaters but this will be the first time down for all of us. We certainly plan to scout as much as possible but Any feedback/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

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Old 08-18-2018   #2
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 31
Paddle hard, have the proper gear, plan to swim (a LOT potentially), see if you can hook up with another group going into the canyon, to help each other out.

Have fun
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Old 08-18-2018   #3
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Boulder, Colorado
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Old 08-19-2018   #4
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 166
Have you run anything comparable in a little boat before? We brought a mini max, and a 9.5sb to Gorefest last season with the plan of running them after a lap in the 14` to check it out. We were happy to be in a big boat for the first lap, and decided that the little boats would stay packed up after seeing 3 14' rafts with guides who had run it before flip around us during the first run. If I knew the lines I would consider running a small boat, but the rock in there is sharp, and most of the swims would not be very much fun in my opinion. Also, toilet bowl may be tough in a mini, and getting a raft with swimmers caught in there would be unplesent, especially without another boat for safety. The drops are steep, and it makes them tough to boat scout. We also ended up helping clean up people after flips, and the thought of a one boat trip in there would make me nervous unless I had the lines dialed. We regularly run the Upper Animas, Rockwood, and the Piedra in mini-me and maxes, and gore was a solid step up in difficulty.

Have fun, and stay safe.
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Old 08-19-2018   #5
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 6
Best recommendation would be to find kayakers or other rafters that would be willing to stick with you to show you the lines. If that isn't possible, do as much research as possible (video showing kayak lines and naming rapids: ) and come prepared.

My advice if you are running in one boat:

1) Gear: multiple throw ropes if you have extra paddlers to set up safety on a couple of the bigger drops; patch kit (the blast rock is extremely sharp); all paddlers come prepared clothing-wise for a strong chance of swimming

2) Applesauce is the first big drop, not that big of a deal for a raft, but stay right to avoid the center rock pile, it is a serious pin risk for kayakers

3) I'd strongly recommend portaging the entrance to Gore Rapid. It is a very difficult line that if it were to go wrong, could send swimmers down as far as below Pyrite through some very serious shit. That being said, in your process of portaging (discreetly along the railroad tracks on RR), you can scout the next quarter mile of class 4+ drops down to Pyrite.

4) After Pyrite is a good bit of read and run class 4 stuff, then pull over on RR to scout Tunnel. Have one of your extra paddlers set up safety in the pool below Tunnel, as you have a more than 50% chance of flipping in a small boat no matter the line. Self rescue below Tunnel is usually easy, but a swimmer does have a chance of getting stuck in the falls recirculation.

5) Set up safety below Toilet Bowl, it is a very dangerous recirculating drop that has and will trap rafts (and swimmers) for a loooong time

6) While it is relatively easy to read and run (the line is generally on the right, occasionally following the main flow to the center), do not fuck up in Kirshbaum. That would be a very long unpleasant swim.

Gore is an extremely inhospitable place if you are out of your boat. People have died there both swimming and walking on the rocks along the shore. It is far and away safer to go with a good crew who can show you the lines and set up safety, but if you choose to go at it alone, god speed and good luck.
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