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:p I've really been Jonesin' to run the Encampment! Wondering if someone has run it recently and can tell me about possible wood in the river or other things to watch out for. Good place for a 14' paddle raft? Some guide books say it is class IV, some say V. Water level suggestions? Especially what might be too big? thanks for the heads up!
 

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The american whitewater website has an accurate description of this run. We did it last June and there was no wood. I honestly believe the higher the better for that run, but I have not done it when it's gushing. We had 350 at the putin and 750 at the takout and it was class IV+, would have been more fun to have more water. The class II to the takeout drags on and on. I think a raft would do fine if it was manned by experts. It's more of a creek than a river at the cruxes so it would feel fast and tight in a raft. We got the people at the trailer park to run shuttle with our rig for $35. I would definitely not take a raft down unless it had at least 300 at the put in as it's gravel bars for awhile. Scenic area.
 

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We tried to get on it last weekend and the putin road is still snowed in. After talking to locals I would expect at least two weeks untill the road opens up. There is a phone number listed in CRC to call to check road status, I would check that before you go...
 

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In my humble opinion, don't bother with the Encampment until the gauge at the takeout is at 1000cfs. This season the Encampment does not have enough snow to get "too big" hit it as high as you can.
 

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It's been a number of years since I've run the Encampment. I would grade Upper Damnation Alley as Class V at moderate flows and V+ at high to insane flows such as I had when I ran it the first time in late June of 1978 at over 2000cfs. The trees along the banks, then, were submerged in over 2 feet of water in many places (that means, few to no safe eddies). I've also run it in lower flows as well where UDA is a creeky 4.
I've done some rafting as well in 14 to 18 ft rafts, but only on other larger rivers (Ark,MF Salmon,Grand Canyon).
I think you might have a difficult time rafting this river for different reasons at different flows. Low flows would mean a lot of dragging and tight squeezes for your raft in the first mile or so with tight boulder infested drops in the meat, and high flows would mean difficulty in maintaining control in long, tight, pushy, rocky drops in the Damnation Alley area, with swimmers being a potential nightmare. Moderate flows would be your best bet and it would not hurt to be on top of your game the day you try it.
Logs in a small stream bed environment are always a concern. Each year brings new possibilities as you probably are already aware of.
Best of luck!
Don
 
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