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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys and gals -

So I've read and heard conflicting things about Cheeseman Canyon.
I'm pretty sure I understand that it's a mank-fest at low water with lots of sieves and all kinds of things to go wrong IF you screw up.
What I'm trying to determine is -- how likely is a screw-up.
Who can talk about the actual difficulty of the boating?
Compare it to Black Rock (at med flows), Gore at 1,450 and Bailey at low water. How difficult are the moves compared to the difficulty of those other runs?
Also, if you were a crew with no guide, is it practical to get out and scout every time you can't see the whole rapid? Do you look at everything, or would that just take too damn long and make this a two-day affair?
Also, how is the speed at low water, and how easy is it to grab an eddy every time you want an eddy?

Thanks a bunch for any info --

-Mike
 

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Never run it. I'm not solid class V. Gary Edgeworth calls it one of the most serious runs around. I can't think of any other run in the state where I would want a good guide. Nuff said. . .

:D

Hey guys and gals -

So I've read and heard conflicting things about Cheeseman Canyon.
I'm pretty sure I understand that it's a mank-fest at low water with lots of sieves and all kinds of things to go wrong IF you screw up.
What I'm trying to determine is -- how likely is a screw-up.
Who can talk about the actual difficulty of the boating?
Compare it to Black Rock (at med flows), Gore at 1,450 and Bailey at low water. How difficult are the moves compared to the difficulty of those other runs?
Also, if you were a crew with no guide, is it practical to get out and scout every time you can't see the whole rapid? Do you look at everything, or would that just take too damn long and make this a two-day affair?
Also, how is the speed at low water, and how easy is it to grab an eddy every time you want an eddy?

Thanks a bunch for any info --

-Mike
 

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it's for real

Do not go in there if you are comparing it to those runs. It is V+. If you are ready for Cheeseman, aka Wildcat Canyon, you will know it. Not trying to be a dick, but it is a full on and scary run, and you should know precisely what you are getting into and have a guide.
 

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Like Alex said, Cheesman is for real, probably the hardest run on the front range. It is not a run that is easy with low water, there are many hard moves that are directly above sieves.

That being said if you are up to it (blackrock, gore and baily are not in the same league as cheesman) it is one of the best runs in the state.
-Tom
 

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I thought about this a bit more, and probably shouldn't make recs to you about whether or not you should go. Just know that it is a helluva lot harder than Bailey at low water. The scare factor is the highest in the state except for pandora's box, because every rapid has objective hazards such as seives and undercuts. If you go in and aren't a seasoned, solid V to V+ paddler, you are going to have a very unfun portage fest. Also, the run is not good to go at the 166cfs that it is currently running. Minimum is about 280, and that is still really seivy and too low. Cheeseman is not a place to work your way into harder whitewater. Most people that run it are comfortable on Vallecito and running everything on the Big South at medium flows.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
TJ and ACC --

Thanks - that's what I figured. Now I just need to convince my friends.
 

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I gotta agree that you definitely don't need a guide. All of the rapids are stacked and pretty pool drop. That being said, the difficulty and scare factor are exactly like Al and Tom said. You will portage everything, including the easier drops like slap your momma, if you're comparing to bailey, black rock or gore. Definitely the scariest run on the Range except for maybe Normandy Canyon.
Joe
 

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I gotta agree that you definitely don't need a guide. All of the rapids are stacked and pretty pool drop. That being said, the difficulty and scare factor are exactly like Al and Tom said. You will portage everything, including the easier drops like slap your momma, if you're comparing to bailey, black rock or gore. Definitely the scariest run on the Range except for maybe Normandy Canyon.
Joe
Except Normandy is the shit and cheeseman blows!
 

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Is Normandy Canyon usually called something else? I dont' recognize the name.

It may help to give other comparable runs, since BR/Bailey aren't in the same ballpark. I haven't run Cheeseman either, so I can't be of much help, but what about a comparison between Cheeseman and USB? SSV?
 

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If you have to ask, you're not ready... A lot of good thoughts and I agree with most except USB being better then Cheeseman.
 

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Cheeseman isn't easily comparable to other runs in the state because it has a very different quality. If you have run the "proving grounds" section of the north saint vrain, then you have some inkling of what the river bed in Cheeseman would look like. That proving grounds rapid where there are boulders strewn accross a relatively wide river bed, offering many different options that water flows through, some of which end in seives, rockpiles, and undercuts, is how pretty much every named drop in Cheeseman is. But Cheeseman is on a way bigger scale, obviously, because its got something that proving grounds lacks: gradient. And as you can tell from my earlier posts, the difficulty/consequences of the these two runs are in no way comparable. There are clean drops in Cheeseman, but every one has a nasty place directly above or below it, so there is no room to be off line. Dos Chaos is one of the scariest rapids around, as a solid percentage of the water towards the bottom goes into a swirling toilet bowl seive. Probably the best comparisons to the run (although Cheeseman is short and has only about 7 drops) are sections of the Clark's Fork Box -- e.g., deliberation corner -- and the Linville (which I haven't done yet).

If you are confident in USB at regular flows, you probably will be too in Cheeseman, but they are way different runs in terms of the riverbed. And it's still USB to mortals like me. Maybe when, or if, I have the cajones to join Christian at "slightly above the recommended level," I will call it D-Day Canyon.

Edit: GaryE's rule is tried and true and applies to Cheeseman, USB, and all runs of that ilk.
 

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Take a safety class already mike another rope in the river wouldn't be good thing. Cheeseman is easier than the royal gorge you'll have no problems!
 

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Good thoughts. USB (recently nicknamed Normandy Canyon by some, which is awesome) is the type of run that every time I run it I feel relieved to get to the lake at the bottom. It's furious and intense. Yet with a few portages and a few definitive lines around ugliness, I feel the riverbed is pretty natural and clean. It rains half the time... Big intimidating s-turns and river like features. You never see another group in there. All in all, way more burly than Cheeseman.

The Cheese is awesome as well. It's all of the smooth rock at the bottom of Bailey that you dream of boating piled into steep junk show rapids with multiple lines of love and hate. Lot's of delicate tight technical moves with sieves lurking behind every mistake. Pool drop, so automatically less scary. Unlike USB, you don't have to worry about flushing into anything. But if you don't have the skills to be 99.5% on scouted lines you will need to portage a lot. If you can hit your lines its fun and slide like and hot.

Both in my top 10 runs of Colorado.
 

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"Pool drop, so automatically less scary. Unlike USB" What level do you paddle cheese at? You need to go in there respectable Cutch! Miss you
 

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my two cents.....

"You will know when you're ready" is simple and arrogant but the best piece of advice. And to those of who don't "know", you ain't ready.

I've only ran Cheesman once, we did not have a guide and we're able to confidently scout our way down and had a great, conservative day. I ran USB for the first time with the same approach and similarly, had a great day. Both are awesome runs but very water level dependent. I know that I found my high water threshold on USB rather quickly.

I would have to strongly disagree with comparison of Cheesman to The Linville. Yeah, maybe you could compare a rapid or two but the Linville is a much more quality run. It's longer, incredible gorge, has WAY more than 7 challenging rapids and runs year round. Maybe I am just biased....

Adam
 

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I have hiked the canyon till the trail went to crap and I was wondering, are there mandatory portages at some levels? I saw places that look like nothing but sieves.
 

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Only 1 mandatory portage that I know of, and that is down in the flat water after the shit. I have never seen anyone run underprivileged but I know people have. But you went in there low then maybe some of the rapids go completely dry but at 375-425 the rapids were nice and padded.

PS: Gary have you done all the way down to cheesman res? I have heard bad things but it looks like a sick ass canyon.

-Tom
 
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