Low Water Salt River - IK backup plan questions - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-10-2016   #1
 
CCC, CO
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 152
Low Water Salt River - IK backup plan questions

Have a permit for the Salt on April 3rd. Its getting down to where we need to pay for the permit or let it go.

What are the minimum flows for small 1 person cats (11-12 foot), packed extremely light?

Was hoping for raftable flows corresponding with family members' spring break, and we got the permit, but absent a serious change in the weather patterns, raftable flows look to be gone within a week. We're looking at renting IK's as a backup plan. Should we pay for the permit and start planning for an IK trip? That's new territory for us, but I hate to let it go.

What are flows guidelines for IK's? What is too low for a good time in IK's?

Does anyone have experience solo-paddling a NRS Maverik 2 (2 person IK) with gear? These seem to be the standard rentals at college recreation services but don't seem suitable for 2 people and multi-day gear, so I'm wondering if one person can paddle one reasonably.

Other thoughts or recommendations are welcome.

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Old 03-10-2016   #2
 
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 3
Salt Advice

We were part of a group with a Salt permit for a put-in on March 20. We received this email on 2/16/16 from Don Sullivan, the USFS River Manager for the Salt. It has some timely advice in response to this posting:

"Greetings from depressingly warm and sunny Arizona:

You are receiving this email because you applied for a permit to boat through the Salt River Canyon Wilderness in 2016. If you wish to be removed from the distribution list for Salt River Updates emails please respond with something like ‘Stop It’ or ‘Enough’ in the subject line.

If you are one of the people trying to get a cancellation permit, you know that Kinsail is having issues with the site. They are working to resolve them and get it up and running. My apologies.

I guess I would sum up our current snow pack conditions in the Salt River Basin as “even worse than last year”. On top of that, we are being baked by a high pressure ridge and it is 15 degrees above normal temperatures here. The river seems to be running off right now and is at 1300 cfs today. If you can, I would recommend running it ASAP, in February, while there is some water and you don’t need a Forest Service permit. Last year it peaked for the season at 697 cfs on March 5th and was between 350 and 550 for most of March. I would anticipate similar conditions this year. And yes, I do hold you people in Colorado and on the eastern seaboard responsible for stealing our snow.

Here is my rating system for the Salt:

· Above 8,000 cfs – Scary

· 1,200 cfs and up - Fun

· 900 to 1200 cfs – Do-able

· 600 to 900 cfs – Tough

· 300 to 600 cfs – Ugly

· 300 cfs and down – Brutal


Unless El Nino kicks back in with a bunch of storms, I would anticipate a tough and ugly March followed by a brutal April. Here are some websites if you want to follow along:

The website for snotel data is: NRCS National Water and Climate Center | SNOTEL Data & Products

For the Salt River, click on the Interactive Map, then click on Snow Water Equivalent, Current, Records, on the map page, drag Arizona to the center of the screen, click on the plus-sign three times to enlarge the map, drag Arizona to the center again, click on the southernmost black circle in Arizona for Hannagan Meadows, click on the link for 7-day Hourly Table, you may have to unclick the “Fit Table to Screen” box, and scroll to the bottom of the table. Simple, no? Right now at Hannagan Meadows the snotel has 5.5 inches of snow water equivalent (swe). If it was 12 or 15 March and April would be fun.

The website for current streamflow data in Arizona is: USGS Current Conditions for Arizona_ Streamflow

Scroll down to the Salt River Basin. The put-in is “Salt River Near Chrysotile” and the take-out is “Salt River Near Roosevelt”.

If you want someone smarter than me to predict the river level, this is the website for the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center: Conditions Map Click on the blue dot for “SLC: Salt, Chrysotile, NR” and view the forecast. Click on the forecast if you wish to change the parameters of the prediction.

I usually look at the weather forecast for the coming week on this webpage right before I leave town: http://www.weather.com/maps/planner

On a pleasant note, we have a new Salt and Verde river ranger, Monica Morin. Monica has been a Wilderness ranger for quite a while now in Denali so she is not new to the game. Say hi if you see her out there.

Call my cell if you have questions. Hopefully I don’t answer because I am boating…"

Don R. Sullivan
Wilderness River Manager

Forest Service

Tonto National Forest, Globe Ranger District

p: 928-402-6236
c: 928-595-1647 (not text enabled)
[email protected]

7680 S. Six Shooter Cyn. Rd.
Globe, AZ 85501
US Forest Service
http://usda.gov/https://twitter.com/...ebook.com/USDA

Caring for the land and serving people
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Old 03-10-2016   #3
 
Conejos Canyon & Houston, CO & TX
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by benR View Post
Does anyone have experience solo-paddling a NRS Maverik 2 (2 person IK) with gear? These seem to be the standard rentals at college recreation services but don't seem suitable for 2 people and multi-day gear, so I'm wondering if one person can paddle one reasonably.
2 in a maverik wont work for a multiday, but one person with some gear is a nice rig. I would still travel light if you can
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Old 03-10-2016   #4
 
CCC, CO
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevemikol View Post
We were part of a group with a Salt permit for a put-in on March 20. We received this email on 2/16/16 from Don Sullivan, the USFS River Manager for the Salt. It has some timely advice in response to this posting:

Here is my rating system for the Salt:

· Above 8,000 cfs – Scary

· 1,200 cfs and up - Fun

· 900 to 1200 cfs – Do-able

· 600 to 900 cfs – Tough

· 300 to 600 cfs – Ugly

· 300 cfs and down – Brutal
Thanks Steve, I got the same email. I assume the rating scale is more general and is consistent with flow recommendations I've seen for rafts and cats. Just wondering at what point it gets "Ugly" for IK's and Hardshells.
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Old 03-10-2016   #5
 
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 3
I have a long distance friend who lives in AZ and guides for Grand Canyon Youth. I called him for advice. They have a permit for a 3/15/16 put-in, and he advised that below 500 cfs, the only boats that they will use are mini me's and IKs. He said that a small (narrow 12' raft) without a heavy load can squeeze through and anything bigger would need to be lined through Rat Trap, Black Rock and Corkscrew. He said he would add two days to the normal trip for the time necessary to line the boats and for the slow flow of the river. We had not interest in such a trip and canceled our trip.
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Old 03-10-2016   #6
 
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 423
I've run it quite a few times below 600.

400 is completely doable in a 14' raft (AIRE 143E & Super Duper Pumas, we launched from 2nd / Guide Camp). Tricky spots were: Rat Trap / Rapid above it, Granite (below Canyon Creek, tight slot), Gleason (always hit the far right channel thru the brush), Black Rock.

The Maze and Quartzite are basically just rock dodging at that level. Eye of the Needle is easy, Corkscrew has a little bit of a move.

There were a few other spots that were very scrapey, but doable if you pick your line right. Its amazing at how channelized that river actually is, even in the lower stretches.

In kayaks / duckies, I've done it down to 275 (with a little dragging in a very few spots). The nice part is that you'll see basically NOBODY at those low flows. Makes for slow moving, but IMO the difference between 800cfs and 300cfs isn't that great (when it comes to the whitewater). Take a Tandem Duck and paddle it Solo and you'll have enough room for some beer if you pack efficiently. Canyon, Yankee Joe, Cherry and Coon Creek are all good spots to filter water.
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Old 03-10-2016   #7
 
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Louisville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 81
I did it last year at 300 cfs and dropping in a tandem duckie as a solo paddler with gear. I easily dragged around a couple things that were so off camber they looked like a for sure flip, but that was easy. My two friends R2's a mini me or mini max and did fine.

The same friends have an Apr 17 permit. I'll probably duckie again if I go.
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