Yampa Recommendations - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-27-2016   #1
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Yampa Recommendations

We have an upcoming launch in June that will be everyone's first trip on the Yampa through Dino. Our campsites have already been assigned but I am curious about recommended hikes, key scouting location/landmarks, etc. We are a small group going for 6 days; we like to hike and the flows should provide ample exploration and camp time.

Appreciate the advice in advance.

Phillip

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Old 05-27-2016   #2
 
quinoa's Avatar
 
Ute City, Colorado
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Lucky you! Yampa is amazing! Suggested Rapids to scout would be Teepee, Big Joe, and of course Warm Springs. Pull out at Teepee and Big Joe camps, both are above Rapids. Pull out river right at Warm springs. Good hike up starvation valley at big joe. Great hike at Harding to wagon wheel point. Signature cave and mantle cave are both short hikes and cool to check out. Favorite lunch spot would be the beach at Mitten park.
Too much to add but that's my 2 cents. Have a great time!
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Old 05-27-2016   #3
 
denali1322's Avatar
 
Salida, Colorado
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Just got off Yampa a week ago. I agree hike above Harding Hole camps (accessible from any of them) is awesome. One of the better river trip hike's I've ever done. Depending on your experience, I would definitely recommend scouting big Joe in addition to WS. Big Joe is labeled a 2, but as noted in another post, some rocks got moved into the river and it is clearly no longer a 2. I'd say it's now third biggest rapid in Dinosaur behind Hell's (Lodore side) and Warm Springs. Much bigger than Moonshine or anything on last day.
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Old 05-27-2016   #4
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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I just off a week ago too. Unless you are super new to rafting, the only rapids that might need scouting are Big Joe (due to major changes including a big nasty hole at the top) and Warm Springs. The rest of the Class III rapids were just big wave trains that were easily read and run. The supposed Class III rapids in Split Mountain are pretty underwhelming in my opinion. Inglesby Rapid has a huge house sized rock that might be a pourover at high flows, but but there is a ton of room to go around on either side and the rest are just wave trains that you have to avoid getting pushed towards shore in.

I'm not a big hiker, but the Harding Hole side canyon was nice. There are a few hikes to historical sites that are worth doing in between Big Joe and Warm Springs. Jones Hole is a nice hike and it should be warm enough to enjoy Buttcrack falls. More petroglyphs below the confluence too...most of which aren't far off the river. Pretty much every camp has somewhere you can hike or climb to get up above the river too.

Have an awesome trip.
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Old 05-29-2016   #5
 
Westminster, Colorado
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What are your camps?

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Old 05-29-2016   #6
 
cedar city, Utah
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Anderson (wanted a short day as some people have long drives to put-in)
Big Joe
Laddie 1
Sea Cliff
Cove

Sounds like a few could be interesting if the river flows as predicted. It dropped noticeably the last week and there is still alot of SWE up in the mountains.

Hoping it rises faster than forecasted so we are further into the taper. It will be what it will be though, which is a phenomenal trip in a stunning place.


Phillip
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Old 05-29-2016   #7
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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They just found Razorback's in Dino on the Green so they are beginning the max release on the 31st below Flaming Gorge. What is the section from the confluence down like at 20k+? Looking more and more like we will see a higher than average flow during our launch.

Phillip
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Old 05-29-2016   #8
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Whirlpool canyon might be extra swirly and the water will definitely be moving pretty quick, but honestly after getting down the Yampa you won't have any problems with stuff after the confluence.

I think it was about 13-15000 cfs when we ran it a couple weeks back now and as I said previously, the rapids were honestly pretty underwhelming. I think they might inflate the ratings due to it being a common commercial day trip (though why its that way in a guide book that most customers will never see is beyond me). The class 3's above the confluence on either the Green or Yampa are significantly larger and harder then the stuff below it. Nothing down there that I saw would get significantly harder with 5000 more cfs. If anything it might be easier since it will cover up rocks and let you take a sneak line around stuff. I've run it at ~3000 cfs too, and it was no problem.
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Old 05-30-2016   #9
 
Westminster, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
Anderson (wanted a short day as some people have long drives to put-in)
Big Joe
Laddie 1
Sea Cliff
Cove

Sounds like a few could be interesting if the river flows as predicted. It dropped noticeably the last week and there is still alot of SWE up in the mountains.

Hoping it rises faster than forecasted so we are further into the taper. It will be what it will be though, which is a phenomenal trip in a stunning place.


Phillip
If you get to the put-in quick and have time, you can pull off on the right just as the Weber starts to rise up, head off through the sagebrush ~100 yards from the river, and then hike up the sandstone incline to get some great views down onto the river at the start of the canyon. No good landing spots there unless it's low water though. There's an old corral behind Anderson, but just pinyon/juniper rambling rather than a destination hike as far as I know. It's a huge beach at low water, but lots of good tent sites in the trees if the beach is covered.

Someone already said pull into the Teepee camp to scout the rapid. It stays continuous for a good mile downstream, so it takes a long time to pick up swimmers or otherwise correct mistakes. Not a complicated line, there just isn't a pool for a long time after. You can hike up the Big Joe wash for as long as you have the energy & inclination. The camp is back behind the willows, it's kind of disheartening to pull in at first. You're already stopped, so scout...

The hike up from Harding is pretty cool. Get up to the bench road and keep walking on out to wagon wheel point. Camps 1-3 are all landed on large rocks with waves that will eat through hypalon if left for very long. If you're just stopping to hike, sometimes you can go left above the island just upstream and scramble up the bank from above the first camp to catch the trail. Signature cave is both a cool feature plus good river history. Look for Jens Jensen's old mining cabin on the flood plain. There's a hike from Mather back up to the cliff overlooking one bend back upstream that is my favorite hike in the canyon. Bemoan the fact that you didn't have $3 million to buy Mantle Ranch as you float by. Mantle cave is a cool Fremont history stop. Laddie Park is beautiful, but the camps are backed by a cliff, so no hiking that I know of. Laddie 1 can be pretty soggy and you end up moving downstream into 2's lap to stay dry at high flows. We stopped there to wait out a 2 hour 6" snow storm one spring (pic).

It's a small eddy to stop and scout Warm Springs, be careful if you're a big group and / or there's already someone there. Watch out for the hole/wave river right after the river turns left below the bulk of the rapid. You can land on the right before the confluence and hike up the sandstone, or at the Echo Park "ramp" and either wander around looking at petros or hike up the road to whispering cave and further to another big petro panel, or along the trail towards Mitten Park and see other petros. At high water Whirlpool canyon can get some serious swirlies, but the actual waves are all just bob & point. I've never explored behind Sea Cliff, but it doesn't look promising for hiking.

The Jones Hole Day Use tie-up is below the third camp and after the box elder trees have started to thin out. Petroglyphs & pictographs, a fun waterfall, trout fishing... The Cove is exposed to the afternoon sun with a rock wall rising up to the east of you like a big reflector and the Island Park bugs in full force. I wouldn't advise planning on getting to camp early to have a big last-night party.

Split at high water is a blast. Don't get lulled into the hole at the end of the flat water before Moonshine. Moonshine is a monster wave train and DeSpain's rock can turn into a surprise hole towards the bottom. I watched a loaded cataraft do a cartwheel flip off the top of one wave in Moonshine somewhere in the mid or high 20's. SOB can be a crunchy mess on the right, fill your boat kind of waves, but it hasn't ever felt flippy to me. The left side is cleaner. Schoolboy just turns into a "don't flush into the wall". Inglesby evolves into a monster hole with a wave train on either side and then finally a huge wave train as the water comes up more. Literally 45 minutes or less from the top of the canyon to the boat ramp 8 miles downstream when it's pumping.

You can stop at the beach just upstream of the boat ramp to organize if you need. Don't take more than one lane (2 vehicles) at the ramp or you'll get yelled at.

Have a great trip. Hope this is useful. I've done a couple dozen trips on the Yampa, so let me know if you have more questions. It's a special place.
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Old 06-01-2016   #10
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Thanks everyone!

Looks like the river is rising again. Still hoping the snowpack melts faster this week with the hotter temps and we see a drop before our launch. Would prefer to see the river less than bankfull with our small group and no one knowing the run. Forecast currently show the river dropping a day or two before we launch and peaking around 17k on the Yampa. Excited to see us closer to 13k on the day of our launch. Would love to see that drop another few thousand before we get to Warm Springs on Day 4. It will be what it will be though.

Its the time before the trip that experience that interesting combination of excitement and the reliable "fear" that comes with an unknown Class IV. Its a fun combo most days and to be honest "fear" never captures the complexity of the experience.

Can't wait. Counting the days!

Phillip
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