July 5th Deso Water Level Questions - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
 
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5
July 5th Deso Water Level Questions

Hello everyone, and thank you for looking at this thread. I read a lot of threads but don't post much.

I have a July 5th permit on Deso, and have never run the river before. I kayaked for years, but have intermediate experience in the oars. I wanted to ask your opinion on water level and difficulty on Deso. With the late season snow pack I am concerned about safety and getting in over my head. My two sons 11 & 9 will me joining me and I am feeling uncertain at what water level it would make sense to back out of the permit.

This post is limited in detail as I want to hear more from you. What levels would you feel comfortable running the river with limited time in the OARs. This is also my first big mulit-day trip. I have rowed mainly the upper and lower Colorado.

Thoughts?

Thank in advance for your constructive comments. I also have a couple spots open if you have children close to the same ages, and would want to get on the river. We are not huge party'rs. PM for more details.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
 
GeoRon's Avatar
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 444
Let's work out your concerns one topic at a time in detail.

First, Deso is an excellent starting trip considering what you express and are your concerns. It is unlikely that you will kill your first or second born sons on this river at near future flow potentials.

Let us proceed from here if you like.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
 
Avon, Colorado
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GeoRon,

You have already helped to settle some of my anxiety.

1st: What rapids at what water levels should I be concerned about. Or rephrased, which rapid should I consider having my boys portage.

2nd: What levels would canceling the trip be a consideration?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 444
To continue, what make and vintage is you boat/frame and what is you proposed seating arrangement for your sons?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
 
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2009
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14 Foot Hyside in great shape
4 Bay Frame
10 Ft Oars
Dry Box/Cooler/Table etc..
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
 
Avon, Colorado
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Seating will be on the deck plates in the bow, and I have a stern seat on the rear.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
 
CRG, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: May 2012
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Yes, you could run Deso July 4….
High water won’t be a problem by early July. Flaming Gorge discharge will be decreasing significantly and even with the big snowpack the yampa will be down to 4000 csf or so, so maybe 6000-7000csf for Deso Most would consider Deso a pretty easy float at summer flows if the mosquitoes don’t get you. Worthwhile to take a look at the Joe Hutches, Wire Fence and Three Fords if its your first time
Kids add a different dimension. My children survived to adulthood despite some bad parental judgement but I did make safety adjustments along the way and I think its prudent if you are bringing kids to up the margins for safety
Until I was sure my young kids could self rescue I didn’t take them on an unfamiliar river unless I had really strong support from other boaters. I also made sure I had along an adult whose only responsibility was to look after the kids in the event of a mishap. I also wouldn’t count on being able to walk around rapids, the topography and the length of the rapids and the difficulty with picking someone up makes this strategy more dangerous than running the rapid.
That might be more cautious then some would advocate, but I do know bad stuff can happen even on “easy“ rivers with the right mix of bad luck and lapse in judgement (See last years tragedy on the Grande Ronde)

So have fun but be careful.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
 
montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 412
Whitewater, even straightforward class II and III like Deso, deserves respect and proper gear. It sounds like you have the gear, the respect, and even a little bit of experience necessary to make Desolation Canyon at moderate flows a good choice.


I would, however, point out that the dangers of a 100 mile, true wilderness trip are equal, if not greater than the danger posed by the rapids, especially if you are not experienced with those type of trips. Not trying to discourage you from going on a trip that sounds to me like a good idea. I'm just suggesting that you take preparations and research relating to general wilderness camping and travel just as serious as the rapids. On a trip like Deso, a relatively simple medical issue can become serious over the course of a few days. I would highly recommend purchasing or borrowing a signaling device such as a spot or garman (delorme) inreach.



Also, bring nylon (quick dry) type clothing (long sleeves and pants), a head net, and 100% deet for the first day.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
 
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2009
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Mikepart,

Both my boys and I do extended trips, week or 10 day backpacking trips, and remote travel. The expedition portion of the trip I'm 100% comfortable with, we have comms, and are experienced and knowledgeable. Its the ratio of flow to difficulty of the rapids that are my concerns. In our group we also have a person who has kayaked and rowed the grand several times. However, I am asking questions based on skill and experience in the oars, vs what the anticipated water level will be. This is mainly do to the chance of having higher water level than we originally anticipated due to the late season snow pack.

Is the a particular CFS I should be concerned about, and what are the chances of seeing those flows on July 5th? That is really what I am getting at.

Your advice in general is all noteworthy and very sound. I appreciate you looking past the water aspect to ensure my trip is a success in not taking unnecessary risk.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
 
CRG, Oregon
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Join Date: May 2012
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sounds like you have it covered. there is no flow you are going to see this July that you would have to cancel. I was looking at the wrong gauge last post so you are looking 10-12k for your dates, based on current flows, snowpack and dam releases --typical and and manageable Deso flows. Its 29K right now, definitely high water but most folks wouldn't hesitate to run it at that flow either
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