Minimum flows for raft in Brown's - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-03-2006   #1
 
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Minimum flows for raft in Brown's

What is the lowest flow you could raft Browns Canyon that won't totally suck? Mostly just want to go camping and get the boats wet soon.

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Old 04-03-2006   #2
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I did my first ever Brown's Canyon kayak run in September when the flows were 317 cfs. I saw at least four rafts doing private runs that day, and they had to portage Pinball, but that was it, I think.
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Old 04-03-2006   #3
 
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Below 350, it seems pretty common to portage Pinball. Raft Ripper is often portaged up to 400. I'd say it would be fun in a raft once it hits 400.

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Old 04-03-2006   #4
 
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I've never done Browns. Where is "raft ripper" and how hard is it to do the portages with a raft packed for camping?
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Old 04-03-2006   #5
 
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I'm not sure what the best portage line is on Pinball. Because the banks are steep up to the railroad tracks, portaging a fully loaded raft may be difficult. This isn't much of an issue above 350, though. Raft Ripper (I think it's also called Widow Maker) is the very last rapid before the most common take-out at Hecla Junction (you can also run a little further down, through Twin Falls and Seidel's Suck Hole, if you want). At low water it consists of a fairly bony move from center to left (at least that's the cleanest low water line I've found). Typically I see people unload all their passengers and walk the raft down the rapid by the bowline from the tracks. Depending on how loaded down you are, you may be okay doing this, or even rowing down (as long as you don't mind a little bouncing) above 350. Have fun.

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Old 04-03-2006   #6
 
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If you are gonna have a gear rig with some substantial weight I would wait untill it hits 400-500 the closer to 500 the better. Below 400 there are tons of stick spots that could turn into wraps or just be really annoying in a heavy craft. Pinball is a tricky portage with gear. usually we (the guides) empty our crew and r1 untill we get stuck then pick up the raft and pull it over the final rock. The same goes for raft ripper. So I would say if you have lots of gear wait untill at least around 500 and since you dont know the lines well (they are trickey at low water) wait untill around 700. Or bring somone who knows the low water lines.
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Old 04-03-2006   #7
 
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Dave,

If you're just loking for camping and getting the boat wet, I'd recommend the Upper Colorado unless you head out to the desert. Pumphouse is flowing at 800 cfs right now (twice what many folks consider the minimum raftable flow). Right down the road from you, the stretch just above Dotsero has about 1000 cfs, is more open and thus should have much more sunshine (i.e. warmth) than Pumphouse or Brown's, which you'll certainly appreciate this time of year.

If you just want to get the boat wet, Shoshone looked raftable last night and the reach from Grizzley Creek to Newcastle should have minimum spash potential for the sake of your lovely bowflower, though not nearly as much sunshine as above Dotsero. The hotspring just above Glenwood Spgs. will be nice on a brisk day.

I hope all's well with y'all,

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