Originally Posted by Andy H.
It sounds like you're considering crossing Clear Creek in Clear Creek Canyon. Depending on where you go, you are considering a potentially fatal swim in ice-cold water in anywhere between Class II and Class V rapids. If you've never swam a rapid, it's easy to underestimate the power of moving water and swimming that kind of water is strongly discouraged even with the proper gear.
You may want to check out packrafts. These open up a whole new world for hikers. Otherwise, you may be able to arrange a ferry across with some boaters in a raft.
Good luck and be safe,
Hey Andy! Thanks so much for the reply.
I'm a strong swimmer (NCAA collegiate swimmer) and I've done Pumphouse to the State Bridge in an innertube and no PFD, but I'd like to think I'm smarter now. In any case, if I thought I was going to end up swimming in Clear Creek, there's no way I'd do it given the hazards... like you said, water temps mean quick hypothermia along with rocks, strainers, etc.
There are some pretty slow-moving areas along the creek right now with no exposed rocks, so it looks pretty tame if you pick your spot, but I'm pretty naive and inexperienced so I could be deluding myself.
I've looked at packrafts, but they seem to be targeting the low-weight crowd where this isn't an issue for me since I'm driving up to the creek. I could use something a lot bigger and more robust if that increased my safety. Also, I wouldn't mind a motorized-pump for inflation.
To your last point: how would I go about arranging for a ferry across from a company? I could call a rafting outfit that does Clear Creek, but I worry about scheduling the trip back... getting stranded would suck.
(There is a cable tyrolean about a mile-downstream, if all else fails I guess.)