Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning a trip to CO this summer from Missouri and have a few questions about the Black Canyon. I apologize if these questions are redundant.

I know that that area has a lot of snow on the ground right now. Anyone care to hypothosize about a good time to run it would be? If there was an early warm up, would it be likely to be at a moderate level by the first part of July? If the warm up was late, any guesses on what time of the summer would be good to shoot for?

I know this is all speculation, but I'm trying to at least get a 1-month window on when we might be able to run it. This will be the centerpiece of our trip, but we hope to do some creekin' in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area as well. For those interested, yes, I do own the bible.

Like I said, I'm not looking for definative answers, because they aren't available. But, if someone said "you'd be crazy to try it before July 4th", that's what the kind of beta I'm looking for.

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Ok, let me rephrase my question a bit. Given a normal snowpack and normal warm up, what's a good time of the summer to find moderate levels in the Black Canyon?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
....flows are usually high in the spring, good thru summer and then high in the fall again.....when i say "usually" i mean under normal snow years... due to the lack of good snow fall for the last 3-5 years, the flows in the BLACK have been in the "low but good to go" range...with an occasional bump for this or that...this spring they have been normal...hitting nearly 2,000cfs! the BLACK runs everyday...and is not affected directly from snow melt....it gets its water from 3 upstream resevoirs.....i'd say below 600cfs, it's boney creeking with audible sieves and "shit"....650-900ishcfs, its creeking style with some river-style rapids.......900-1200cfs, river style with some push....1200cfs-up, the "real deal"......it has been hard to "forecast" what may happen...the authorities are in court right now because they have not withheld their promise to have flows mimic nature.....another story! keep up with flows and when you think you are on your way we'll figure something out...like to carry a boat? as i see it....it paddles pretty well, but "offline action" is not tolerated.....by the river or your buddies!!! you should find "moderate" flows thru this summer.....970-275-1890 for any other ?'s.....ps...i know the canyon well..and feel that a one day will take anywhere from 9(fast)-13(slow)....just to get to the take-out(no major epics) the hike out chukar trail(this is where you might feel light headed!)....takes a bit...maybe 30mins-2hours....rad place!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the beta. I'll hang onto your number in case I have more questions as the summer nears. I've got at least one top notch boater already on board and hopefully will round up a couple more. We paddle a lot of sieved out stuff out East, so I have tremendous respect for these type of runs. We're planning on doing it over two days and enjoying camping along the river. Given all of the portaging required by the run, we may opt for contining down the Gunni Gorge instead of taking the Chukar Trail. I've heard it can be bombed in 3-4 hours, so that migh not be a bad option.

I'll keep an eye on the flows and try to get more info on the political situation. Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Like Milo said, Its kind of hard to figure out what is going on this year. The flows have been real high lately. Hopefully they don't empty the res. and shut the spigot off for the second half of the summer. Flows around 600 to 1000 are real good for a first assault. The run is still real good below 600 but water stops flowing over the waterfall (one of the highlights). Camping in there is great if you have the time. I highly recommend it. As far a Chukar vs. Gunny gorge, I keep flip flopping. When I'm in the Gunny gorge I'm thinking, "I can't believe how long this mother ****ing gorge is. We should have just carried out Chukar." When I'm carrying up Chukar and my own sweat is making the trail slick, I'm thinking "Jesus ****ing Christ, I could just be floating right now. One thing to consider is that Chukar takes a while to get from a vehicle and you need high ground clearance. July would probably be my guess for this year (and I mean guess). Check out my description on AWA for more details.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
when are we gonna go get it BIGBOATER? i've got a couple of buddies who are ususally game.... high flows and lack of kayaks(buddies) have kept me from going in.....no solos planned for the big flows unless my bros blow me off!!!!lots of shit runnin' right now anyhow!!...i think a great weekend would be... hittin' the BIG SWIMMERON(big C.) and then the black the next day....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Hey Milo, I'd love to get it with you. I'm kind of conflicted right now though. So much else is running. It would be nice to see what's going on in there at this level. Have you done it this high before? If there is a weekend when all my partners bail and I'm looking for something to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
historic flows, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co

you can see historic flows for up to 730 days, use the "recent daily" data listing and "fixed width table" for output format. This gives you the average flow each day for the past 2 yrs. +

tdq
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Link

dq,

I can't get that link to work. It tells me that I don't have access to view the page. I played around with the USGS page for this site, but couldn't get to what you were talking about. If you have another link, it would be very useful. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
yo, don't worry....it'll be running when you come out..the BLACK is like a bad rash.....always in the back of your mind.....it is always there, doing it's thing......never seems to leave.....feels good when you do something to it.....could be serious shit, but you try not to think about it....after experiencing it, you may need to be "medicated"....it could scar(not scare) you for life!....it may be contagious(friends beware).....you learn to live with the increased heart rate when thinking about it....sometimes you "work" the shit until you bleed.....if ignored, it could lead to other "illness".....may help "booster" your "immune system"....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
More Questions

Given the poison Ivy situation that I've heard about in the canyon, I think the $5 investment in a Tyvek suit will be much warranted. Anything else I should know about? How much cooler is it down in the canyon than the rim temp? How about water temp? Does the dam release off the top of the resevoir (warmer) or the bottom? I know these are minor details, but it would be nice to know.

What about carrying your gear on your back while portaging? Does this help much? I'm thinking of rigging up a backpack set up for my storage float bags.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Yep, The poison ivy is no joke. I've been with people who have used those painter suits and they usually get shredded by the end of the portage. Cheep ass rain pants that you get at Wall mart work too. I don't know about the temp difference, but I do know that the sun wouldn't make it to that canyon floor much in pre/post summer solstice months. The water seems to be fairly warm in the summer, at least compared to Colorado snow-melt rivers. I've gotten away with just a paddle jacket on several occasions, but then again, I like misery.

I personally don't think the backpack thing works well. The back of my boat hits the pack and slides off my shoulder :x . A better solution would be to rig your dry bag with a flip line or webbing so it rides on your side like a paper boy's pouch. I personally just throw my boat with gear on my shoulder and take it like man with no Vaseline.

The best solution is to just take as little as possible. This isn't a raft trip down the Grand. A pad, sleeping bag(down), and thin painters plastic drop cloth for sleeping gear. For food I take high energy/low weight stuff like nuts and power bars....no stove/pots/pans. Also take a water purifier so you can carry as little water as possible. Drink tones of water before the portage and take a small bottle for the road. Half way through the portage your can fill up again at the ferry. If you like fishing, take a rod and some spinners. The fishing is epic.
Have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
...tyvek suits? don't need 'em....tyvek is for a house!....it will be shredded off of you ...leaving you exposed to the itch.....i've heard many people say that they are "not allergic to p. ivy".....they usually get it the worst, scars included!!! i feel the best option is a thin coat of DAWN dishwashing soap....ankles, hips, stomach, legs, arms and neck....avoid your face because after sweating bullets you will smear the soap and ivy oil into you eyes..... a thin layer on your paddle seems to help, as you will use it as a crutch and as a machete....you can't do much about the scratches you get on your legs...the oils find their way into the cuts and presto!....fun time and hours, days even weeks of scratching ENJOYMENT!....be sure not to over dress for the portage....dehydration and heat exhaustion may get you(some of the toughest characters i know have crumbled, plummetted, bonked-call it what you want).....i've skinned it the last coulpe of years....if it is gonna be a scorcher, i dip a white cotton T in the river and off you go....i roll up my dry top and wrap it around my waist, wear my skirt, helmet and pfd...i clip my small dry bag to me...keeping my boat light so i can "dance my way on thru"......anything else goes under my seat....so the boat stays well balanced... you do not want the boat attached to you... you will want to drop it to save you ass! and hope it doesn't ghost ride into the river!! the portage must be taken seriously because you could waste a foot, ankle, wrist, arm, leg very easily.....every step must be accounted for..... i've come out with a duct tape cast on my foot....my bud "slipped" once at the TRIPLE DROP portage.....he held on to his boat(which he needed to this time) and dropped into a "hole"....a full body slam sent him on his way to a casted arm and knee surgery!...as far as sleeping bags go....never needed one, even in the fall... the black walls release heat during the night.....i use a old cyclops bivy....and bring an extra top and bottom, usually thin polypro.....no need for the back pack as it will absorb water and just weight you down... key here is "lightweight"....Class 5 footwear is a must......beer tastes great down there...so account for that added weight......bring extra food and gatorade powder....i used to "cheat" the portage by consuming olive oil the night before or that morning.... high octane super booster.....i should say that a ridgerest foam pad is best suited for the run...will not gain weight when wet......and will not pop.....do the portage the right way and it is not so bad...do it wrong and you will SUFFER greatly....the water is always cool because it comes out from the bottom of the res.....but it is not bad....an excellent choice if you are looking for a "mini-mission"......git sum
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
ivy, etc.

the best bet for the ivy is just wash off when you finish the portages with that special soap. Milo is right, don't take much stuff. That portage sucks. I've had to go back for a guy who wasn't making it because of a bum knee and carry his kayak for 1/2 the way. Almost killed me and he wouldn't have made it otherwise.

The backpack probably weighs too much. Just throw everything in our kayak and drag that thing over the rocks.

If you've got friends who aren't kayaking, try to have them meet you in there. There is hike in access where you can camp and they could meet you there with dinner, bfast, beer, etc. Never done the hike so I've got no idea how tough it is but have met people there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
I'd bet on moderate flows July and August, no inside info, just my experience over the years.

I second Milo's opinion on sleep gear....ridge rest, bivy bag is sufficient along with an extra pile jacket. For the portage I bring a ultralight set of poly pro, bar of soap and plastic bag. I stuff all my gear in a light weight dry bag with prussick loops for shoulder straps, jump in the river and charge. At the end I strip down and put the poly in the zip loc and do a complete wash. Keep your sleeping gear dry with a garbage bag, kinda of a moot point 'cuz stuff drys in about thirty seconds down there.

Consider waiting till evening to do the portage, the cooler temps make the slog way easier. Alternatively, go for the crack of noon put-in and camp on the rocks before the portage, get up and carry in the AM.

A small in-bottle water purifier is nice. So is whiskey....Lighter than beer...Bring both if you are tough and want to be a hero at camp. As for the itch, if you get a case, don't dick around. Go to your doc and get a script for Prednisone.

Last thing...the fishing in the Black Canyon is highly overrated. Really. I swear. Leave those poor Browns alone.

Have fun, Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
...BOOTLEGGIN'...

...planning a "bootleggin'" mission.....the "liquor cabinet" at the KAYAKER CAMP(at the first ferry) was ramsacked by crazed, scared, blood thirsty CLIMBER TYPES!!!!...how unjust!!!....they left a lone soilder behind that had withstood the onslaught from the climbers and then somehow was left unscathed after the infamous, HARDY DUNBAR CREW had passed thru..."it" had grown tough in its weeks spent in the "hole" and reportedly "mocked" the H.D.C....there was no way that it would survive a visit from my buddy... MR. H.B. LARSEN.....i shall take on the BURDEN of restocking the cabinet....is it legal to take booze and beer over an 18' horizon line?....or is it called "bootleggin'".....and then, wouldn't that make the camp a "speak-easy"?.....(sorry, look it up if you dont know the meaning).....this a grey and black area, any lawyers in the house?....teq, Fosters "oil cans", GOOD whiskey.... the stash will be located under that big rock, over thereish next to the other rock, that's next to the boulder that's crushed those little stones into pebbles.....(HINT: if you see sand, your in the wrong spot)....i need a partner in crime....as the "heat will be on"...................anonymous
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Captain...Im jonesin to get back in the hole. We should hit it before the ivy is in full bloom. The best advice that I have for the ivy-fearing rookies is: wear socks down there, if you see ivy walk away, and stay out of the "outback"( thats where the big crop is.) Im still thinking about the 3-day-run (with a nice chill day on the big rock).....hey, I hear that there is going to be a good place to practice my portage near the gunny park.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top