I have not run Cross but would like to. I do not know much about it other than it is technical. What are the optimum water levels? From what few photos that I have seen it is a small boat run. I would probably run it in my Puma. The 16 would be to large. Comments?
Desirable flows are 900 - 3500 cfs. Unrestricted by dams or diversions, the Yampa stakes out a vicious bell curve of flow. Often this range is run-through in less than a week on the way up, two weeks on the way down. In between there are heinous big-water things happening in there that I never need to have carnal knowledge of.
The run is about 5 miles long, taking just shy of two hours. Many parties get 3 or 4 laps in a weekend visit.
The opening rapid is Osterizer (IV) - a keeper hole at higher flows is responsible for this spot's infamy, but it is not so bad in the recommended range. A short stretch of III+ boogie water leads to a calm spot where you scout Snake Pit (IV) on river left. This is the crux of the run, you go from scraping the right hand shore to ferrying furiously left to avoid a series of boulders and sieves. The exit wave is mohawk shaped (sweet). Another rapid of note is Pourover City (III+), where an unlikely move against the left wall spins one right into place for a dance with several house sized boulders. The rest of the run is scenic class III weaving through boulders.
Cross Mountain Gorge tends to have warmer water than other places in Colorado at any given date due to the placid, unshaded nature of the Yampa for close to 100 miles upstream. Temperature is available on the gauge.
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