Tuolumne Advice - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-03-2018   #1
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 17
Tuolumne Advice

Hey all,

Planning a high sierra trip this summer and wondering if folks have advice for an overnighter on the Tuolumne. Have always heard great things about this river! Will be rowing a 13' gear boat next to a bunch of buddies in kayaks/duckies. End of June. What's it like? What to watch out for?

Thanks

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Old 04-03-2018   #2
 
Costa Mesa, California
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
Its real fun. It will most likely be the lower standard release of 1100-1200 but then given the low Sierra snowpack. it would be helpful to have somebody with you that knows the river. Scouting every rapid can be a chore and some of the lines are just easier if somebody shows you where to go, its not always obvious. The very first rapid rock garden is nice to know the route. also Stearns has this funny back in bump your rear quarter on a rock boat swings around crazy move. You could just follow one of the commercial trips lines. they are always down there. Also don't forget its a bubble of water. get going by 10:30-11am so you don't get behind the bubble. Ive spent a lot of time on that river. You are more then welcome to call me 714-299-1942 to chat about it.

There are a bunch of photos on my Flickr. I haven't updated in awhile but you can see.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/deanli...57672231993396
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Old 04-04-2018   #3
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 17
Thanks!! I will definitely give you a call.
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Old 04-04-2018   #4
 
Northern California, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdecember View Post
Hey all,

Planning a high sierra trip this summer and wondering if folks have advice for an overnighter on the Tuolumne. Have always heard great things about this river! Will be rowing a 13' gear boat next to a bunch of buddies in kayaks/duckies. End of June. What's it like? What to watch out for?

Thanks
The Tuolumne makes for one of the best multi-day trips in California. I can almost guarantee you will have 1100 CFS at the end of June. And like studytime said, you will be rafting on a 4 hour release, or bubble- it's super important to stay on the bubble and not fall behind.

The river itself is pool drop, shallow and technical at that level. You'll be shipping your oars quite a bit. Rock Garden is honestly the biggest challenge in a gear boat. To repeat studytime again, Sterns does have a helicopter move where you pivot behind a midstream boulder, or end up going for a ride through the Squeeze. Clavey is straight forward, but I've seen a few private trips wrap on the side of the drop. Stop to scout it on river right.

Bring a comprehensive wrap kit and know how to use it. The T is not super difficult at low water levels, but it can become so when rowing a heavy gear boat.

My biggest pieces of advice:

Please do not try to impose on a commercial trip and follow them. They are on their own timeline that they need to stick to. Plus, max trip size is 6 boats and 27 people. If you need to, watch their lines through Rock Garden from Lumsden Road.

There is a brand new put-in ramp. It's barely wide enough for two rigs, so try to keep everything tidy.

Pack as light as you can, the take-out at Wards Ferry is a bitch without a boom truck.

It's going to be hot as all hell, and the meat bees will be fierce.

Private camps this year, if I'm not mistaken, are Clavey Right, Indian and Mohican. Call the USFS Groveland office to check that, as well as get your permit.

You will have to wait for the bubble each morning. It gets to Indian (7.5 miles downstream) about noonish.

No fires!

There's no cell service at all. Sat phones will of course work, and there are about 3 different places to hike out. Not very fun though. So bring a good med kit.

Do not leave vehicles at Wards Ferry overnight- they will be broken into and vandalized. You'll see the rusty wrecks of cars in the water just before the bridge. A paid shuttle is well worth it, call Darrel at Tuolumne River Shuttles: 209-559-4605. You'll meet him at Casa Loma the morning of your trip.

I'm sure I've forgotten a few things. Enjoy!
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Old 04-04-2018   #5
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 17
Great advice, thank you!

Has anybody done two nights on the river? We are looking to spend as much time as possible down there
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Old 04-04-2018   #6
 
Costa Mesa, California
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
Most of the commercial trips I see do two nights.

I have only ever overnighted once. If I have three days I just do the whole river three times. You gotta be efficient with you crew though.
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Old 04-04-2018   #7
 
Northern California, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdecember View Post
Great advice, thank you!

Has anybody done two nights on the river? We are looking to spend as much time as possible down there
3 days is a great way to do the river. Camp your first night at Clavey Right (about 5.5 miles downstream of Merals Pool) if it's a private camp this year. If not, Clavey left is also ok, and it's super easy to ferry across the river at fish flows. Spend your afternoon swimming in the Clavey- it's one of California's few free flowing rivers, and the water is lovely. The water should arrive sometime after 11:00 the next morning.

Then go downstream to one of the Driftwood Camps (11 miles) if you want a nice sandy beach to camp at. The water usually arrives here around 1:00 the next day.

Or go all the way down to the North Fork (14 miles) so you can play in this tributary as well. However, there is no shade here and the water usually doesn't arrive until almost 3:00.

There are other camps, of course, if you really want the blow by blow description, I'm pretty sure NRS sells a river guide for the Main T and the Creek.
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