Were planning on going down Cataract in a week and a half and was wondering if anyone could tell me what I might be able to expect at these flows. I've only been down at about half this level, so I'm curious what we might find.
Cataract was big bouncy easy read and run until "mile long" and "big drops one and two". We scouted those. Beginning and Halfway through mile long are a few tough moves, and big drop has some tough decisions to be made.
We took a very young kid, who hiked around the big stuff. But I wouldnt recommend that unless you are very comfortable at reading on the fly. It is fast!
Our 7 dory trip had a few adventures, but no flips. Dont miss the hiking, which is fabulous!
We did in Cataract in about 2000 or so at 47,000. I was a 3rd year boater in a Hammer. If you are in a kayak, you can read and run everything but the big (3) last drops. There are some huge holes and waves in there.
We flipped a raft on an eddy line.
Also watch out for wood. We boated with trees over 3' in Dia. and could hear boulders (big ones) rumbling under us...
The safest place is definetly not in the raft.
Sweet hiking in last canyon on the left. I think it is named Dark Canyon or something like that.
I went through Cat this past weekend at about 17,000-18,000 with a 14 foot paddle raft and 17.5 foot oar rig. The first few rapids are pretty mellow. We scouted mile long, and the lines there were pretty easy to hit. Certainly stuff you want to avoid, but you'll be fine if you know where it ahead of time. The big drops looked super intimidating, but again the lines were pretty easy to hit. Definitely scout both 2 and 3 at the same time, as the water comes up the waves out of 2 will push you into a part of three that you'd probably want to avoid. You can catch the eddy after 2, but know where you're going if you miss it. Also, if you can camp or stop at Spanish Bottom, check out the hike in the Dollhouse.
You'll have fun with the big water, look for a long wave train at Y and Cross canyon, there may be some great surfing to be had. Watch the eddy above Big Drop 2 and 3 (the "seat" and "gut"), they can move you off your line if you're not watching your set-up. The scouting is easy and the hiking is awesome. Brown Betty Beach is one of our favorites with a hike up to the Doll's House (1000' vertical in one mile, bring lots of water).
We have a permit for June 20-25 and we're looking for raft support if you are interested in going back. (303) 786-9370
Have Fun! Kim
A group of us paddled it a few years back at around 50,000 cfs. We scouted the big three and read and ran everything else. Looking back on it I wish we would of scouted more. Its not that its that difficult, but there seemed to be some giant waves in there that would have been awesome to catch. If you just read and run everything the river is so big and wide that they are easy to miss. The North Seas rapid was really cool. It had 12-15 foot waves in it. They would form up and then topple over and disappear. As long as you have a solid roll the big three should be pretty fun. The lines are very wide and pretty straight forward. The camping and hiking are great also.
The 20's are pretty lively but still just big III. No harder than say Browns at 3k or Westy at 7k. it is bigger but not harder. Mr. Ward is right stay in your small boat. Thanks for leaving out other mishaps Steve. sj
At that level you definitely want to stay out of little niagra on the right side of big drop two. There is a long pool between big drop one and two from which to scout. You can also land on the right side above big drop three, or you can simply run it right of center. You do not want to be on the left side of BD3. Frog hole down in satan's gut (big drop 3) is more like a giant forceful breaking wave than a hole at that level; nothing really to worry about punching it (it's off the right side of the center tongue). The above mentioned "North Sea" is actually mile long rapids, and is a phenomenon that forms only at 50,000 cfs and above. Below that flow the mile long rapids retain their individuality. Look out for capsize rapid, it's got a boat eating hole after the river bends right that is hard to see until you're in it, without a scout first. Hope you've got a motor for the calm before and after the rapids. Also, aside from Dark Canyon, which is definitely a must see, you should hike up to Doll's house out of Spanish bottom. It's got a granary up there, and the terrain is spectacular. It's an awesome trip, have a great time, and try not to swim above big drop 1.
skip to motor ! The flats are enbjoyable before Cataract proper and lake fowell is so low that there is pretty good flow to the take out. Might I reccomend putting in on the green instead of Colorado. The camping is much better and the hiking is goood! If you have a small trip and can send three cars to the take out you can fly the shuttle for cheaper than having a company drive it for you.
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