I have no beta on present ice dams, but you NEED to to find out before you go. I heard a horror story about folks hiking out near skull due to an unrunnable dam. I imagine that recreational flyers from GJ must fly over for fun. Maybe you could call the airport there. Drop me a line as i no longer have your address.
I got some beta for you.... I ran westy on 12/23/03. There was an ice dam below the first easy rapids, but above skull in the flatwater where the canyon gets steep. The ice wasn't thick enough to risk walking on, but was way thicker than we could break through. We ended up having to climb completely out of the canyon (about 300 verticle feet I think) and then back down again. The portage was around a 1/4 mile of river total, but took us about 3 hours because we had to use throwbags to pull the boats up steeper sections. It was an epic day, but I just got back from the Rio Santa Maria in Mexico and that was much more of an epic day if you're looking for one. Kayaking in the winter can be as fun as in the summer if you go looking.
Sounds like you had a good day out there! I have always wanted to kayak Westwater on Christmas but maybe that's not such a good idea. I'm surprized that you continued the trip after you saw the first ice dam. That's cool that you did.
most of the river is iced over in junction and the temp all wk has been about 30. so i would guess westy is iced over. shoshone new years day was great and unless they have gotten snow i would think that is still running well. there was some good play and nothing serious.
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