Looking at topos and gauges, I noticed that robideau creek is the next drainage to the south of escalante with similar drainage, elevation, and aspect, and it has a gauge. I downloaded robideau gauge data for 2005 (high water) and 2007 (low water) and compared daily robideau creek cfs readings to historical escalante visual updates from a buzz search. The data correlates fairly well. I read through the escalante visuals and assigned 1= min flow, 2 = low, 3 = medium, 4 = medium/high, and 5 = high. This was very subjective as many visuals are noted as painfully low, juicy, roostertail kickin over the fin etc. I did the best I could with the varying information. Here is a chart that shows robideau flows vs. the escalante visuals using the number system. Note that the min levels are clustered around the same flows. The medium and medium highs are clustered around the same flow levels, and the highe are around the same flow levels. Pretty good correlation over two different years of data sets from min flow to high flow.
Of course this won't replace a bonafide visual, but it can help fill in the gaps between visual reports. If you get a bare minimum visual two days before you are thinking of going, and the robideau is rising the next couple of days, you can expect escalante to be responding the same. We all look at the weather, but its hard to judge if snow is hitting the plateau vs. rain, and if it freezes how much impact will it have etc. I think that the similar location of the robideau will allow for seeing how a barometer gauge is reacting to changing weather and help inform boaters coming from far away about potential levels. Its also very easy for the creek to get shut down, so this could help prevent getting skunked.
My two cents... If escalante hasn't been running, and the robideau gets over 150 cfs, I'd go check it out expecting min to low flows. If the robideau is in the 300-500 cfs levels, I'd expect nice medium flows. If the robideau is raging at 800 cfs, I'm bringing the video camera for to get the carnage on tape safe on the shore.
Of course there is scatter in the data, and its not perfect, but the R-squared is 85% meaning its a fairly tight correlation.
A final thought is that if we get lots of detailed visuals this year, I can update and improve the correlation with new data. The more data I get, the better the correlation will be.
If you want to help me with this, post your visuals and include the date, what the level felt like (min, low, med, med/high, high), and post what the fin looked like. Two problems that I encounter is that a high level may be perfect on the upper, but scary on the lower gorge. I'd say rating flow on the upper section would give the best consistency. Also be as descriptive of the fin as you can. The more visuals I get the better I can make the correlation.
A final comment is that I got this idea from what Rob Maxwell does in the southeast. He has years of correlations for rainfed drainages in the southeast and set up some really cool correlations to help boaters figure out what is running.
Map showing escalante headwaters location vs. roubideau headwaters location in case you wanted to know. PS canyons look very cool on sat images on google earth.
Josh, PacNW is on the to do list. Lots of data to digest up there.
Free time is in short supply, but you got to have your priorities straight don't you? With twin babies at home, I'll likely get a single shot for a one day mission to escalante this year. I'm not gonna blow my window!
This has been on my mind since my trip out last year at low water with no good visual, little info, and pray for flow attitude. Hate to drive 5 hrs to get skunked.
Not sure if it will go this week, but its close. As soon as the robideau cracks 150ish, it should be good to go.
Forecast for this weekend looks like potential for rain, then snow on the plateau, so I think the snow will hold it off. Need some warm days to get it going. Rain on snowpack could set it off though. Thats the beauty of the robideau barometer is that you can see what the weather is doing to the creeks.
As for the levels 300-500 is probably the range from med to high. I'd guess 300 on the robideau would be med. I put the ranges in the initial post but perhaps it makes more sense as follows with a more detailed breakdown:
min = 150
low = 200
med = 300
med/high = 400 - 500
high = 500+
Does make you wonder whats up the roubideau canyon?
Oh I see, I read it wrong in my haste. But your medium report is around the same level as your lows. I think we need more medium data. Can you make a graph where I can click on the data point and see a picture of the fin rock?
While you're at it, can you incorporate a function that will instantly transport me to the eddy above the first boof in a shiny new creekboat, with good flows, on a sunny day, with a crowd of buxom honeys cheering me on. Can you get that done by say, tomorrow morning? That would be great, thanks.
Yeah, there was a lack of medium data in the analysis, so its a bit fuzzy. Hopefully we can get some more visuals this year and get a better correlation. Note to escalante creekers... post your visual after every trip even if someone just posted one. The more data the better.
The instant escalante transporter sure would cut down on drive times. Damn I need one of those too.
tom chamberlain said something a couple years ago about roubideau being "like boating in a canal" and that it has a lot of build up but never quite reaches expectations, but with newer boats, i dunno? big dominguez is the one you should be looking at. really similar to esca (next drainage north) with sandstone mixed with inner gorge bedrock, just lacks good access (hike from the road or from bridgeport).....
If you look at the dates that most people have their good solid medium flows, I would wait until a few more weeks. If you talk to Tom/Berry Chamberlain or Donnie Smith, guys who have run that creek since the 1st D, late April thru mid May is still the prime time for runs. I've spent the past few years on Esca, and early April is mostly a low water run, but the best runs I've had are April 25-May 5th.
Rather than use a different gauge...no offense Ian...I would wait until someone gets a visual. The usual flow difference between Delta and Junction is a minimum of 1000cfs, and thats for medium low flows.
Its a long drive for a bust. Or bring your playboat and stop in Glenwood on your way home.
From the graph it looks like Hobie, Mark, Maria and Joe hit Escalante yesterday at the 220-240 cfs on the ROUBIDEAU CREEK gauge. Fin was covered from what I heard ... any other beta from yesterday's assault that can help with this barometer?
If the Keck meister and crew was on Escalante on 4/15 this boads well for the weekend crew. It doesn't appear the Roubideau gage has seen any reduction from the recent cold front in fact its actually spiked around 100cfs from 4/15.
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