High water yampa - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-25-2017   #1
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 338
High water yampa

Got lucky and drew a 6/7 yampa permit, and it's looking good to have plenty of water- still early and anything could happen though. How high has it been since the rockslide at warm springs? For those with before and after experience, any guess what it will be like at high flows? Seems all the high water info is from 2011. I've never run it, so the changes don't mean much, I'm just in the "excitedly watching YouTube videos" stage of post lottery uphoria, and curious.

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Old 02-25-2017   #2
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
We saw 14k-ish on our June 10th launch last year. Some of the fastest water I have rowed since the Grand. We saw an unusual dual peak last year that left us about 40% higher than normal. If the snowpack keeps up I wouldn't be shocked if you see comparable or higher.

Warm Springs was a solid Class IV but I found the two primary moves straight forward. Neither of the big holes seemed like fun Plan B options though. The rapid added some edge to a two boat trip given water speed and temperature.

Don't ignore either of the Joe rapids. Big was respectable but scoutable; I saw more than one boat punch the hole in fun fashion. Little Joe has a huge feature that is easy to avoid but will easily flip a loaded raft if unaware.

If its still high water plan on fast days and plenty of great hiking. I enjoyed every camo before the Cove, which was brutal for mosquitos. The only thing that helped distract us was the stunning erosion and rockfall up canyon. Just know that the landing there is not big at high water.

Have a great trip. To me its a perfect combination of Deso and the Grand.

A warning.... Don't try to kiss the Tiger Wall at high water unless you are prepared to lose some skin.
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Old 02-25-2017   #3
St. George, Utah
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 186
I ran it high a few years ago, can't remember the year. It was 20,000+ The campground was flooded almost up to the toilets, and we launched on the road and floated through the cottonwoods.
Most of the rapids were washed out, although Tepee had very big waves. Warm Springs had plenty of room for a right side sneak.
The eddy below Warm Spring was full of wood so don't plan on camping there if is it's flooding. Same with Cove lot's of driftwood, no place to park.
Very fast current, so lot's of camp time, the hardest part was getting stopped at the camps.
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Old 02-26-2017   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 44
2011 high water Yampa

Got invited by a friend of a friend on a cancellation in 2011 when it peaked at 30,000 cfs plus, it was a hoot! Probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The other posts are spot on as far as rapid descriptions are concerned, The run in Warm Springs was the same as usual maybe a bit easier at the two rocks on entry right are under water so you can sneak down the right side and set up for the 4 hole and Maytag. Maytag was huge and would eat your ass if you go down the middle, but someone in our group pulled off the middle left to far left run that I have always wondered about. We did a 4 day trip and still layed over at Harding 3, which wasn't a terrible camp due to the high water. Did the 33 miles to the Cove in a little over six hours after staring into the hole at Maytag for an hour. Moonshine was large at the bottom but the same as usual. Some in our group were determined to scout it for some reason which I don't recommend due to the length of the rapid and the hike. I just floated around in the eddy while they bushwhacked. The first day is amazing as we were making 8+ miles per hour and it was like being on the North sea on a choppy day, too much water in too small of a space. Teepee was a right sneak as usual, but there were some large holes down below where you go thru some S turns, easy to avoid if you aren't celebrating Teepee. I've done 3 trips since then and the rockfall at WS has pretty much sorted itself out. I think it's a bit different at real low flows. As of Feb 26th the SWE was down to 121% and the west has been losing 2-5% a week in Feb. Hopefully it will snow like crazy again in March and April and get it back up a bit. Get your camp requests in early so you can get the good ones, Box Elder 3 is one of my all time faves,Anderson hole is nice if you want a short first day for some reason. Harding 4 is the best of those 4 unless the water is 28,000+ then Harding 2 is dryer, Poderosa, TeePee and Mather's Hole are all good but have a bit of a carry to the kitchen. Mather's has a huge overhang that allow's a tent free night and is great on a rainy day. I rate the Jone's Hole camps 4, 1, 2 then 3 although they are all better than Compromise and Stateline. 4 is the farthest from the Jones Hole hike(not to be missed) but is quieter as people tend to party a bit on the last night. The new camp at Sea Cliff is nice and has a great night sky. The shuttle is the easiest in the west, you can run your own in less than 4 hours or pay River Runners Transport in Vernal to do it for you. Enjoy and post again if you still have questions.
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Old 05-14-2017   #5
Vail, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 41
water coming up for some fun mid-late May runs
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