Already Jonesin' for the spring. I just picked up a Huck and was wondering what the best creeks to learn creeking skills on? I paddle class 3-4 but have not yet broken into the creeking aspect. Living in Crested Butte, I gotta get into it. Any Suggestions?
Make sure that you're feeling solid paddling class IV and the get with some class V friends and have them take you down and of these:
Clear Creek of the Ark - it's not that hard, but much more continuous and harder to scout than non-creekers are usually used to, make sure to have some good buddies with you.
Upper East - this one is in the CB area. It's mostly slides, but it is a good warm up for OBJ and Daisey.
Bailey - technically a low volume river, but that's nither here nor there. It's a very good intro to creeking - you can scout and walk all of the class V.
Boulder Creek - the section above and through the Elephant Buttresses rapid is a great beginner's creek. It's all roadside and not to hard, but teaches you the most important aspects of creeking - keep your bow up and always lean into rocks (not away). Running laps on this at 60 cfs is what gave me the mad skills I have today :wink:.
I'd also recommend Gore, Lower Narrows on the Poudre, and Cross Mtn gorge as good beginner's class V - although they're not creeks, they will teach you safety and valuable swim lessons.
I've never run 3rd gorge on Lime or 1st gorge on Escalante, but i've heard those are easier creek runs too.
Finally, if you have the time and want to practice waterfalls, go to mexico. The San Louis Potosi and Veracruz regions are a mere 35 hr drive from denver and contain more "beginner's" waterfalls than anywhere I've ever heard of. Most importantly, the season is from now until mid-January.
Two last pieces of advice. 1) practice following guides through easier rapids without scouting them - you'll need this skill later. 2) after running some of the above, go scout OBJ at low water. At low water all of the moves are easy class V. That advice does come with the warning that many many people have broken ankles, backs, faces, and ribs on almost every drop - so "Oh Be Careful"
The first crrek I learned on was escalante, when I was a IV boater. Its a great one to learn on, with portage options for almost all drops. It will run mainly the first, second, third week of May, Ill take you down when the time comes if your interested.
The first creek you should run is the Middle Kings in California. Its only 5-7 days of steep solid 5 to 5+. Perfect!!! Just pack you boat with 7 days worth of gear, hike 10 miles up and.... no, JK.
Ok, like everyone else said..... to begin your season early next spring hit up the following good intros.... Escalante, the upper Taos box (if it runs early), the Red River in NM and if your feeling good about those the Embudo when its not too high.
The 3rd gorge of Lime into the rockwood box is a SWEET run and good intro for a solid 5- boater when its not too high, but just above medium. Everyone should check this one....its beautifull.
When you get back to the Butte (where my creekin roots were laid) run the East. If that feels good hit Daisy. If that feels good hit OBJ (ps-its was easier than it looks, just point it....kinda). If that feels good hit the Salte (the least steep but in my opinion the hardest of the standard CB creeks).
Another good option to practice your creeky moves before the season is to hit the Taylor early spring-the 'New Generation/Slot' section and the Lottis Creek section provide class 3 boating that you can make technical for yourself by catching micro eddies, doing creek sneaks and slot moves etc... This is always the best way to practice for creeking....take a class 3-4 run you know and find all the little challenging moves. Then dial 'em.
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