Split Mountain to Sand Wash Trip Report - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-12-2014   #1
deadlizard's Avatar
peoria, Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 170
Split Mountain to Sand Wash Trip Report

This is a road less traveled and documented so thought I would post a link to Bryan Burke's TR. He and Doug Green continued on after our Yampa trip finished up this summer.

Hats off to a couple of guys in a 14ft raft who can do 103 river miles in 2 days.

It's the first item under Trips->Featured



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Old 11-13-2014   #2
oarframe's Avatar
Gardnerville, Nevada
Paddling Since: 00
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 480
Thanks Gene, that was a nice write-up. Kudos to your friends. I had always wanted to do that stretch but have not been able to put the time together to do it. Maybe someday if I can find the right flows and timing to avoid the bugs.....
50 miles/ day is impressive considering the paltry mileage often done in a raft, but in reading others write-up's of long trips (thinking of Buzz Holmstrom in particular) that kind of mileage was pretty common once. Having suitable flows and not stopping to sight-see certainly helps.
more snow = more water
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Old 11-18-2014   #3
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 68
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Last week of September is ideal for that section. No bugs, lots of birds including whooping cranes and sandbar camping.
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Old 12-01-2014   #4
CRG, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 30
We did a similar trip this September, paddling Flaming Gorge dam to Ouray adding on to a Lodore trip. (We had done Ouray to Sandwash the year before adding on to a Deso trip.)
Lodore is a great trip but it's a long drive from the west coast for only a 4 day trip. We only had 4 extra days so brought a tandem canoe and a sea kayak for the Split Mountain to Ouray stretch. We put in at the dam in a raft and with steady but easy oaring could do 3.5 -4 mph with 2000 csf being released from the dam.
After running Lodore we switched over to a the canoe and sea kayak at Split Mountain and could average 5 mph
These add on sections don't have great camping, in the 23 miles or so above the Gates of Lodore there is no camping except at a couple of unattractive drive in sites and below Split Mountain there are lots of sandbars but no protected sites.
For those contemplating this mini John Wesley Powell jaunt there are some quirky permitting in addition to the multi-day permit. To float into the Gates of Lodore ramp you have to have a play permit and have to arrive after 2 PM the day before your Lodore launch. To float down from Split Mountain you have to have another play permit and there is no camping in the Monument which is another 13 river miles. We got to Split Mountain after camping at Jones Hole, 19 miles, then had to de-rig our raft, repack our flatwater boats and make it out of the Monument by dark, finding a suitable sandbar just after sunset.
Melanie and River Runner Transport were super helpful with the somewhat complicated logistics, picking up our rig at the dam, delivering it to Split mountain (with fresh ice even), and picking it up again and waiting to hear from for the final destination since we weren't sure we could make it to Ouray in the time we had. We made it to Ouray with plenty of daylight left and time to pack up (sorry no decontamination) and do the all nighter back to Oregon
This trip isn't for everyone but sometimes its nice to pay attention to the ugly stepsister of the more popular parts of the river.
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Old 12-02-2014   #5
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,385
Great post- Cool trip! Thanks for sharing that

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