Desolation early april - Page 4 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-22-2018   #31
gazzy902's Avatar
Banff, alberta
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 43
Originally Posted by MNichols View Post
Originally Posted by caverdan View Post
River Runners Shuttle IS the only way to go. They are great to work with. I've used them for many years. They might still be the only company allowed to do Deso shuttles.

River Runners simply outlasted the competition, and after 3 separate really bad experiences with them, I wouldn't use them at all, ever. I'm not going to go into the sordid details, and yes, it was years ago, but I can tell you that they are completely uninsured, and after reading the latest iteration of their "Liability release" anyone that would sign that form IMHO is flippin nuts.

Redtail avaition out of Moab does an airplane shuttle, which is most cool, they fly UP the river taking you to Sand Wash, the photo op's are incredible. Not to mention it's only $185.00 per person. Your vehicle never moves after you park and lock it.

The downside is you have to drive to Swasey's from Sand Wash, which is time, but well worth it in both peace of mind not having to worry about RRT destroying your vehicle, and the airplane ride is a super cool and really special addition to your river trip.

My 2, your mileage may vary.
Hmm so after the trip u fly back to your truck for cheaper than a shuttle? Kinda sounds like a no brainer.... that being said I guess someone’s gotta stay and watch the rig

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Old 12-22-2018   #32
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 197
RRT has treated me very well on Deso, Yampa and Lodore. I won't hesitate to use them again. The flight shuttle sounds cool but the logistics aren't that simple. You have to have two vehicles on the other end, one at Swasey's and one at the Green River airport. Or find a ride between the two. And of course LOTS of driving. And I'll second the comments about taking more time. We took out the morning of our 6th day and it was too quick to do much hiking. That was at around 3300 CFS in August.
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Old 12-22-2018   #33
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 97
We did 5.5 days and regretted it big time. 7 is minimum and if no motor 9 would be minimum. You will also need the suicide hot line number when you get off if you have no motor and hit wind.....BUY A MOTOR.
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Old 12-22-2018   #34
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 903
I have had no issues with RRT, and it saves you a day of having to drive, its a very long slog and the plane leaves around 6am. But the air shuttle is a special treat and even economical. Worth considering if you have the extra time. You can likely work out a logistic with them about getting a car(s) to Swasey's.

You are traveling from far enough to warrant taking the max allowed time (if there is such a thing in April?). The first 25 miles are slow so power through that and make sure you schedule at least 2 layovers once you are ahead of your daily mileage targets. Launch early daily to stay ahead of the pm winds.

Be ready for snow, but it can be very nice in April.

Most newer coolers have a padlock feature to make them bear proof. I will reiterate a clean camp solves most of those issues, but they may just be waking up so who knows.
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Old 12-22-2018   #35
mattman's Avatar
Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,901
Originally Posted by gazzy902 View Post
Yea Im thinking the shuttle part of this trip might be the biggest obstacle.

Id like to hear about multiple RRT experiences from more people

I have only used River Runners for the 7 or 10 trips I have done on Deso, and have only had good experiences with them.

I highly recommend doing something beside driving your own shuttle, since it is very long, and you really need to dedicate a whole day to do that. Either flying your shuttle, or River Runners, seem like a better choice to me, even with only living one days drive away from the run.
The last part of the drive in, is very long on gravel roads, and the last part of that into Sand Wash, is actually a wash, that can get very interesting when it rains! The road has gotten WAY better over the years, but you still want at least a full spare for truck/ trailer, and there is a lot of flint that can get drug onto the road when they grade it, and can cut a tire, though I have never had it happen to me.
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Old 12-22-2018   #36
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Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 478
Another thumbs up for River Runners, many shuttles with them, all good. Be sure to give the date and day for your take out; call a week before and confirm details
"If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are."
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Old 12-22-2018   #37
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Banff, alberta
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 43
Thanks guys. I’ll most likely be renting gear from them as well
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Old 12-22-2018   #38
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Northwest, Montana
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 38
I had a great trip floating Deso last April. I highly recommend it!
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Old 12-23-2018   #39
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,722
April is normally a good month for Deso Gray.

Weather can be from just right to miserable wind and rain. And it can / will vary from day to day. Take really good rain suits, with hoods, maybe glasses with head straps and lightweight insulation layer. There is a good chance rain / storm gear not needed, be thankful if not needed.

For sure take a good cook tarp and plenty of big sand stakes for the tarp.

8 river days for sure 9 recommended for a lay over day. Plenty of great lay over camps on this run. If at all possible plan a day or so down in Moab to sight see.

Up stream winds will range from ok to impossible to row against. Be prepared. The earlier you are on the water the better. On a recent float, our group was getting up around 4:30 in the AM, rowing by daybreak. By noon time winds got so high we could barely make headway. We ended up making camp soon as the wind came up and enjoyed relaxed long afternoons in camp.

Regardless of what has been said about ease of rowing this trip. There are several rapids I would scout for sure if a one boat trip. If you cannot see the entire drop from a safe boat scout, do a bank scout.

For me, Deso Gray is one of my favorite South West floats. The more runs I make the more I appreciate Deso Gray. Be safe and enjoy!
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Old 12-23-2018   #40
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C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,767
All great advice from the posters above. All my April trips have been with High School students. It will take you 6 days for sure, if you row it and don't do a layover day. The first 26 miles are so flat they don't require you to wear a life jacket.

We have always made it to at least Rock House on the first night. (16 miles) I've always considered that the start of the canyon. Once you hit Jacks Creek, (26 miles) the current picks up and gets better the farther you venture down into the canyon. The rapids start off gently and build in intensity as you get further down toward Gray Canyon.

The first rapid I worry about is Steer Ridge because of the huge log jam at the top. Stay as far left as you can as you come up to the top of it. The next rapid that gets my attention is above Mcpherson ranch. That would be Joe Hutch Canyon rapid. It has a big rock at the top that becomes a big hole at high water. There is a big hole in the middle of the rapid that can give you some trouble, but it's mellowed over the last few years after it formed. I always stay right of that middle hole.

The rapids we scout every year are Wire Fence and Three Fords. (and Coal Creek) We always stay at Wire Fence, so we scout both rapids the day before we run them. There are three excellent camps there. 1 and 2 being the best. The next rapid of consequence is Coal Creek. Being a 1 boat, first trip, I'd suggest scouting it. I run it just left and sometimes go through the big hole at the top. (It gets the kids attention to watch the gear boat disappear out of site) The rest of the run is right down the middle. It has a very wide entrance to the top of the rapid. Too far right and it's all rock garden.

The last rapid to pay attention to is Rattlesnake. Any more I run it so far left I don't even get close to the rocks on the right. I've had some close calls in that rapid over the years. It's big and wide and I stay out of the current and take pictures of the other boats as they bounce through the holes and off the big rocks on the right. We always read and run it, but I don't run down the tongue any more.

PM me if you want more info on camps and site seeing. Stay as long as you can, but at low water it is very doable as a 5 night trip.
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