Beta on Rafting the lower Taos box - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-03-2013   #1
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 23
Beta on Rafting the lower Taos box

I looked at some videos and this section looks very fun and I always love seeing new water. In several videos I watched the guide mentioned sieves and I was wondering if anybody could share some insight as to how many and if most of them are on the sides of the river? I have rafted harder sections than this but I will be taking some inexperienced friends down and I always like to be informed and keep it safe as possible.

As far as the best time to boat this stretch everything I read said May or June????


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Old 03-04-2013   #2
Austin, Texas
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2010
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I have been down the LTB over a hundred times from every level from 8k to as low as 1k. I do not recall any? If any where there, prob be at very low water? You are going to find some on the upper though!
I hope they get the goods this year!
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Old 03-04-2013   #3
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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There are sieves in rock garden/pinball deep underwater. see this report from AW.

On June 12, 1998 a rafting guest died while running the Taos Box run of New Mexico ’s Rio Grande , which was running low at under 1000 cfs. This was the first commercial fatality on this river in 30 years. The first raft ran “The Rock Garden” cleanly; the second raft broached on a partially submerged rock, partly blocking the main channel. The third raft, containing a 34-year-old female, hit the second raft and capsized. That impact dislodged the second boat. The victim fell out and was pulled into a nasty rock sieve called "the Northwest Passage ". At the same time a fourth boat wrapped on an upstream rock. Unpinning the boats and collecting the swimmers took over an hour, during which time the woman’s husband reported her missing. An extensive search followed, first by guides, then by Taos Search and Rescue. On June 13th a tyrolean traverse was set above the sieve, and the area was probed with a long pole. Divers found the body on June 16th under 7 feet of water.
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Old 03-05-2013   #4
Austin, Texas
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Originally Posted by mania View Post
There are sieves in rock garden/pinball deep underwater. see this report from AW.
Nice find. It doesn't suprise me at low flows.
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Old 03-05-2013   #5
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The most hazardous boulder strainer is in Dead Car on RL at mile 11. There was a canoe pinned underwater beside it for a few years.

The RR side of Powerline is a sieve, but someone would have to swim into it from the pool above.

Flow looks to be low this year. Level stayed below 500 after April last year which most would think as too low to raft.
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Old 03-05-2013   #6
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Like Mania said the sieve at the bottom of The Rock Garden is the hazard to be most concerned with. Its basically the rock fence (sometimes known as the three sisters) across the RR 2/3 of the rapid. you avoid it by making a R >L move through the rapid, complicated by the wrap rock in the middle, called camel rock. I have had some close calls with this at low water. there is a low water R>R>L hairy ferry move that uses the channel right above the sieves to get all the way across to exit. it is hard. I almost had a nose downstream pin there with customers the first time I tried to make it. that little spot is no fun. like frog rock, just stay away....unlike frog its not easy to avoid at low flows.
the box is much more technical below 1000cfs. at higher flows you can just cruise right through all the moves, but at low water it's quite pushy onto the boulders. Just end up exiting on the left at the bottom of rock garden!!!! 1500-4000 the river gets some huge holes, and some stuff sort of washes out above 5000 cfs, and gets easier but still big...
just as a generic rule of thumb, first time raft levels 1000+ and up, and the general commercial cutoff is 600-800. lots do below that, but its a long day. below 500-600 powerline is a portage. everything else pretty much goes. It's actually pretty cool and creeky at low tupperware.(or IK, or bruce's canoe...small boats :] ) If the river stays above 400 I am going to try and motivate for an early season ELF kayak trip soon. Got to start early....17 miles, and it will get cold in the afternoon shade....
I recommend going with someone who knows the lines the first time to make your day easier... youre welcome to pm me to plan something... I am always down for a day on the river if I am free, or I can see if I know anyone going on your date. if there is decent flow, there is usually several trips launching per will usually have good luck getting some beta from folks at the put-in.. SYOTR...!
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Old 04-25-2013   #7
Silver City, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Interested in TLB


Would love to do lower box with you. My buddy and i have had this one on the list for awhile. Does it look like we will have good enough water to do the box this season? We are hoping so, but are also thinking about heading north to to do some stretches on the ARK if this doesn't work out. We have a small assortment of boats we can oar or paddle including 11ft/13ft/14/ft/15ft -all SB'ers. Which would you recommend for 1000cfs? If you are interested we will drop everything and can and be there in 5 hrs.
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