I've floated the Colorado from Two Rivers park in Glenwood Springs to South Canyon in January. IIRC, that was after ruling out a couple of runs upstream of Dotsero and the Grizzley Creek stretch due to iced over conditions.
One thing to remember is that even on beautiful sunny days when it looks like everything's a go, there can still be ice dams in places that are continually shaded. It's really important to thoroughly scout the shady bends before launching.
Also as for Westwater and R-HT, the guideline is that if there's ice in Debeque Canyon, there'll be ice downstream on those runs. Consider the consequences of coming around a bend and seeing ice across the river, and having the banks iced up and impossible to climb without crampons and an ice axe...
Looking forward to hearing what others say, and give us a trip report if you go!
To what Andy said, I’ll add: beware of ice dams breaking free UPstream of you, on warm sunny days. A clear section, can potentially fill up, if things come down from above.
Also, sometimes Big Horn canyon on the Ark goes in winter time. I’ve run it in January before, during an abnormally warm year...
Haha!! Sho Sho on New Year’s Day!
Every season, there is a Bunch of nut jobs down there. ( there is a planning thread on Facebook, and it is posted hear, as well).
Maybe I’d better get to that one, myself, this year...
Not always, but typically ice dams give warning by way of increasing snow/ice on the banks. If you see the snow/ice on the bank start ramping in in height, best pull over and hike down to have a look. If you do it early enough its easier to haul you gear up on the ice and portage. I ran into that last year in a spot that I've never seen an ice dam in. Andy mentioned if x is iced y is iced. I had used that judgment from years prior and got hosed with a 150 yard portage. Once an area has had a bunch of days that don't climb above freezing, beware.
There are some good recs here. Get out there and give it hell, pay attention and be ready to walk ahead and scout/portage if needed.
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