Small boat tips Grand Canyon? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-05-2019   #1
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 517
Small boat tips Grand Canyon?

I know there's lots of GC boat threads, but I can't find a small boat thread.

So, please share your tips for rowing a small boat. rigging, lines, stories, pros/cons ... cat vs raft ...

boats 12 feet and under please. yer 14 ain't that small!

Do you have to love to swim? or might a clean run be reasonably expected?

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Old 02-05-2019   #2
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
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That's sick.

I've seen small rafts with small oars/frames. Hadn't seen an "R1" video, let alone on the Grand. Thank you for posting it!

Not sure I'd love his diet, though: I had 20 days food up front in the bow compartment @ 2lb/day. No stove (1lb buckwheat to soak, 1/2lb dried mangos, 1/2 dried bananas, 1 pack wild caught tuna, 1 pouch almond butter, REPEAT).
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Old 02-05-2019   #3
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Rig to flip, dress to swim.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 02-05-2019   #4
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Crested Butte, Colorado
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That video is AWESOME!!!! I have a 9'6" saturn raft I've wanted to take through the Canyon but I always end up rowing big boats. How did you get it back over? my boat is easy to re-flip but I usually have other people to help me pull over. Did you just refill mid river? totally bad ass!! thanks for sharing that
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Old 02-05-2019   #5
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salmon, Idaho
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Beware of eddy lines.. I have a 10.5 RMR storm I have taken down hells canyon. It ran the rapids great, and I got to take it through the green room.. none of that phased the little boat but some of the eddy lines damn near flipped me. I had a fair amount of bouncing from tube to tube to keep her upright.
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Old 02-05-2019   #6
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Tabernash, Colorado
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Nice vid! That you??

Never taken anything smaller than my 14 down there, but in general with my 11' cat on other runs, and my big 14' boat on the larger water, I feel like the up and over strategy is what gets me through right side up, timing my strokes so I stay on top of the water instead of crashing into it. That, and some high siding and moving my weight a bit, more like a kayaker would run something.

Let me know if ya ever need another boat down there, been lucky enough to go the last three winters. The 14' really is starting to not feel all that small down there anymore, bet you could do good with yer little boat, at least many places you can sneak through, and rapids like Chrystal and upset, I really think are easier the smaller your boat is.

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Old 02-05-2019   #7
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Smallest boat I've seen in person down there was a Shredder with an Oar Frame. Chatted with him for a while and he said he only flipped twice. Once was bad timing with a wave crash in Lava and the other was when a crazy lady named Mama D (Boise local...I'm sure some of you know her) commandeered his boat and rowed them both through the middle of the hole in 209 rapid.

I had taken my Avon Pro (16') boat the first two times down, and took my 136DD last time. It was way sportier, but other then a rough run through lava that was more due to bad line plus a few close calls messing around in class 3-4 (GC level) did great a was a ton more fun especially in the easier class 4-6 (GC scale) rapids. Its also way easier to make moves in that boat...I had no problems making whatever line I wanted. I mention the 136DD...because I'm seriously considering taking my Mini-Max next time just for the fun factor and wonder if it will be to the same difference as the Avon Pro was to the 136DD.

I bet little boats are a hoot in big water. I may bring it to let people R2 either way...I guess we'll see.

That guy who did the r1 solo is a badass but also a glutton for punishment. After watching a friend try it down Westwater...not sure I'll ever try it myself.
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Old 02-06-2019   #8
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Tabernash, Colorado
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Jon the welder, who occasionally posts on hear, has taken his Max down there a few times, with only a flip or two I think.

Holy shit! Our 14' WD surfed the shit out of that hole in 209 last month! It was glorious!! A bow rider on each tube, I was running safety, and so thought I was going to get to pick up peaces, but they totally forward surfed it for a good 30 seconds Fun times.
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Old 02-06-2019   #9
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Delta, Colorado
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Actually it was a mini-me. One flip ( bad line my fault) and ejected at Lava and the boat did't flip. I had a couple of good kayakers with me just in case. The solo guy is really impressive! The thing I took away from the video was how he learned to anticipate the waves, shift his weight to high side before the hit. I think the biggest lesson is to be ready to move forward when going into holes and laterals. At the put in I ask the ranger what she thought and she replied that I would be fine except maybe Lava, she was right.
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Old 02-06-2019   #10
thornton, Colorado
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I agree that video is Awesome! Thanks for posting. Yes, he definitely had a game plan on shifting his weight around, for maximum effect, not his first rodeo for sure. Too much fun.
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