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Discussion Starter #1
As we all know the gauge is upstream of the major tributaries. For the last couple weeks the gauge has been showing some decent spikes in flow above 2 or 3 cfs, but then it drops to as low as 1.0 cfs. Maybe these spikes are rain or snowmelt events? Can anyone who lives nearby confirm? The North Fork Virgin is currently spiking each night from what I assume is snowmelt. The main Escalante tributaries come from the Boulder Plateau, similar elevations as NF Virgin source. Snotel SWE for the Escalante was 32% of average yesterday, but didn't the high elevations of the Boulder Plateau receive lots of snow this winter?
Last year I packrafted the Escalante from Neon to the Arch at a steady 1.2 cfs, and I don't want to do it With any less water. Any insight on how the tributaries are running this year?
 

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Boulders had a great start to the winter like many of our ranges in Southern Utah but then went dry and warm from mid-Jan to almost March. Its been a wild ride in Utah this year. I would wager the spikes have been low-elevation rain and snowmelt from the last series of storms that finally graced the region.

The Escalante region is even harder to gauge as many of the upper reaches, like Deer Creek, have dam-contolled lakes near their sources below the rim of the plateau.

Your best bet may be to contact one of the canyoneering outfitters in town and see what their customers are saying about the crossing. I know several people who have done Neon recently which is not a good sign for boatable flows if its easily crossed that low in April.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the help! When we ran it last year at 1.2 cfs the crossing at Neon was barely knee deep. Supposedly the Escalante runs higher in mid to late May, according to some random internet info, but the gauge history doesn't show that.
 

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The mean barely fluctuates! What was happening in June last year, early monsoon?
Last year, Utah got pounded by rain starting in mid-may, which is very atypical for the region. Your best bet is earlier in May as a general rule. This year's snow pack may not allow much of a run at all, which is just too bad.
 

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Its a difficult drainage to predict. Sunflower snotel site is likely your best data to gauage right now as it sits closest to the primary headwaters of Deer and Boulder Creeks. It is showing a noticeable bump from the recent weather but doesn't have enough data to provide a median analysis. To make matters worse most of those drainage drain to the southside of the Boulders and have likely melted off noticeably.

For the most up to date flow information it might be wise to contact a canyoneering company out of Escalante, Garkane Energy (they own the reservoirs in the upper drainages and might be willing to share inflow data, though they could restrict that information), or maybe one of the fly fishing outfits out of Escalante or even the Fremont River region (they might know the current Boulder Mountain snowpack behavior better than anyone).

Best of luck. Weather is noticeably colder and wetter right now throughout the region.

Phillip
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There ain't no flow this year think about something else
Well...there's enough flow right now, for me: USGS Current Conditions for USGS 09337500 ESCALANTE RIVER NEAR ESCALANTE, UT

I've been watching it closely: USGS Current Conditions for USGS 09337500 ESCALANTE RIVER NEAR ESCALANTE, UT

It's been doable for me this whole time pretty much with the exception of a few days where it dropped below 1.5. Granted, I'm talking about packrafting with a little dragging.

Widtsoe and Sunflower Flat snotel both picked up about .7 inches of SWE in the last couple days.

Although, when the sun comes out this week I bet it drops back down below 1.5 cfs., which is going to be my cutoff this time. I've started packing for the Dolores instead, gonna run from the San Miguel confluence to Moab.
 

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Packrafting has definitely changed the game for low volume trips like the Escalante.

The last fly fishing update stated the Boulder top wouldn't likely be accessible for another 4-6 weeks(good sign for snow accumulation). The rain and snow the last week has really bumped everything up as the SunFlower gauage indicates.
 

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A friend got off the Escalante a few days ago (Fence to Coyote in a packraft) and said the gage was reading 1.2 when they started and they were prepared to walk the whole thing but rain brought the flow up to a very nice level.
 
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