Westwater @35,000+ cfs - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 3 Days Ago   #1
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Westwater @35,000+ cfs

Hey All,

I'm running Westwater this weekend and it looks like the level will be somewhere in the ballpark of 35,000cfs. Anyone have feedback on what the rapids are like at this level? From what little footage I've found on youtube, it looks like I can expect almost everything to be washed out and we'll mostly have to worry about hydraulics along the eddy lines... Any insight from those that have run it at these levels before would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 3 Days Ago   #2
 
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Up shites creek, Colorado
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Swirls. Massive swirls.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #3
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Glenwoody, Colorado
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Yep, it's just fast moving water. Quick trip
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Old 2 Days Ago   #4
 
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Not any traditional rapids, but at Skull you'll want to favor the left side of the river. The river rolls back heavily against the right wall. Other rapids are washed. Boils, whirlpools and undertows are strong irregular and everything is intermittent. I'd prefer a 14 ft or larger raft or cat. Big tubes are nice. Your boat will swirl and change directions suddenly and without warning. Instruct paddlers and riders to hang on at all times. Do NOT fall out of the boat into the river. Swimmers are difficult to recover. Bring highfloat jackets.
There are a few eddies where you can hang out for a brief pause, but can't remember any place to land between Surprise and Last Chance. Total trip time without any stops is approx. 3 hours.

Happy Boating!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #5
 
Nosebleed, Colorado
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Ran it at that level and as mentioned itís mostly washed out. Lots of whirlpools and sharp eddy lines that would make for interesting swimming. I pulled hard, stern first, down the center in skull. Up and over the huge riverwide wave. My 14í sb pivoted down the back of the wave and my bow pillowed (6í pillow) off the rock of shock and slid across the river stern first into the eddy on river left. Didnít have to do much but pull hard to get over the big wave. The river did the rest.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #6
 
Moab, Utah
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All the above is very accurate. Also be aware of debris - logs, trees, cows etc. - which bring a whole other dimension to the craziness. It is very fast, so be ready to constantly adjust to stay off walls. And you definitely do NOT want swimmers. It's extremely nerve wracking at these levels. Sending you good energy to have a safe trip!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #7
 
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Westwater 35,000+

sfluckiger didn't mention what he would be running Westwater in...so as a kayaker... between all the boils, whirpools, eddy fences, debris & just plain squirely water I personally found it to not be that fun of a trip & most likely wont ever run it again at that kind of levels. Skull is still a heads up. It was an amazingly fast run though. Have a safe trip.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #8
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnGuyXC View Post
sfluckiger didn't mention what he would be running Westwater in...so as a kayaker... between all the boils, whirpools, eddy fences, debris & just plain squirely water I personally found it to not be that fun of a trip & most likely wont ever run it again at that kind of levels. Skull is still a heads up. It was an amazingly fast run though. Have a safe trip.
I should have noted that we are a group of rafters. I've run Westwater before in a kayak at right around 20,000 cfs and I agree that the whirlpools, boils and eddy lines were terrifying! I personally will be running a 16' Maravia with 22 inch tubes so hopefully I'll feel at least somewhat secure...
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Old 2 Days Ago   #9
 
Grand Junction, Colorado
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I ran it at closer to 40K. On of the whirlpools, in Big Hummer, yanked my boat so hard that one of my passengers fell in. Both were paddling to give me more power. I couldn't catch him but one of the other boats in the group down stream caught him before we reached Skull. I have what is claimed to be the loudest whistle in the world. It was sure loud that day and did it's job.

Unlike the other rapids, Skull does not wash out. At the top I set up for the regular right to left move but, surprise, there was a big hole right where the rocks jut in from the left and there was no eddy for an eddy turn. Watch out for that.
A week after my trip a person died. I don't remember what part of the river but somehow he came out of his PFD.

Stay sober and be careful and you'll have a great ride!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #10
 
thornton, Colorado
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Lots of weird water in the 30,000's, 40,000's and above, very powerful hydraulic's too. It's a nice experience at those levels, but stay in the boat. I seen a cow disappear into a whirlpool and never resurface as far as I know, strange. Check and double each other's life jackets for sure....smhoeher what year was that unfortunate drowning?
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