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Discussion Starter #1
So will be headed down this October and my previous time saw flows between 20,000 and 40,000. This time it will be a consistent 8,000.

Can anyone who has done any rapids at 8,000 comment on this? Looking for clear concise beta if you have it! Cheers!

Mic
 

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In 2000 we went down at 8000 cfs. The play boating was way better that trip than the trip I did before at 12-15000 cfs. We were on a chartered motor trip, and we would surf all day at a spot and motor down to camp afterwards, passing a bottle the whole way. It was a different experience than the rowed trip we did before in 1995. At the ledges campsite they did one of their river flow experiments. The river went to 32,000 cfs overnight and we kept moving our camp up through the night. the ledge hole at Lava was a huge cresting wave that warranted about five runs through it

Sorry, no particular beta, but the play will be way better. I do remember Hance being tough for the big motor rig though.
 

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its easy read and run at 8000 unless you have a totally loaded giant boat that you can't maneuver. still fun though not to worry.
 

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I think you'll still have fluctuations in the flow, due to power demand at Glen Canyon Dam. I made a September run a couple of years ago at flows that ranged between 7,000 and 10,000 with the tides.

Places that become more challenging at low water include Bedrock Rapid, where the shallows on the right force you way to the left at the entry, and then you have to pull like hell to get to the right of the massive boulder--not terribly difficult, but a bit deceptive, requiring persistence.

Horn Creek Rapid is especially tough at low water. It is very difficult (bordering on impossible) to miss the big hole, even with the essential perfectly-timed eddy turn below the mid-stream pour-over at the entry. Set a downstream ferry angle to punch the eddy below the pour-over, and don't let the eddy swing your bow downstream. Keep pulling on the right oar to maintain the downstream ferry angle and keep pulling to the left. You might be able to just brush the left side of the hole. More likely, you'll hit the hole anyway, so be sure to hit it straight and push your way through it. The odds are that all you'll get is a boatload of water, but a flip is pretty easy anyway.

At Lava, the left-side runs go away at low water. The right-side run requires a precise entry within 3 feet to the right of the massive mid-river pourover (the ledge hole). Too far to the right leads you into a pair of ugly holes against the right bank, and too far to the left takes you over the death rock into the ledge hole.

Hance is filled with obstacles--boulders and holes--but the slower current makes it into a fun slalom course, with lots of maneuvering but no serious peril. Scout it well--and, of course, scout everything else as well.
 

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Any Spots?

Saw your post about the October trip. Any spots available? 25/f, out of Telluride, CO and would be first time on the GC. Experience rafting and lots of fun. - thanks, Britt 860-575-1038
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info so far...

Here's the info regarding the steady flow from the riverwire:


On September 1, 2010 and continuing through October 31, 2010, the releases from
Glen Canyon Dam will be steady with no fluctuations for power production
(excluding system regulation and spinning reserves) for a steady flow experiment
pursuant to the February 2008 Finding of No Significant Impact 'Experimental
Releases from Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona 2008 through 2012'. This year will be the
third year of steady flows of the 5 year experiment. The projected release rate
being targeted is 8,000 cfs which is equivalent to a monthly release volume of
approximately 476,000 acre-feet in September 2010 and 491,000 acre-feet in
October 2010.
 

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Game on. House/roaring 20's...24.5!/Hance/crystal/upset:). Pretty defined and no cheatin at that level. It's gonna be a great time.
 

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Im headed down in Jan, see flows should be 17,000-22,000.... it's my first trip down the grand and curious how things look/any major concerns at those flows. I'm still trying to decide more playboat oriented or bigger river runner-- most everything i've read suggest playboat, and the fact it's gonna be f'in COLD. Any info or ideas is greatly appreciated
 

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You are going to love a fall trip. Way more wave action starting to get cool
at night. As for Jan fella be prepared to live in a drysuit for 3weeks and row/paddle and plan your camps to catch the sun. Keep a bottle of 303 in you vest to lube you neck gasket continuously to keep the chafe down.
 

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I just went down for my first time March/April when flows were 12,000-6,000. I don't have anything to compare it to but I thought it was a fun level. We had a mix of first timers and folks that had been down before. We scouted House Rock, Hance, Horn, Granite, Crystal, Bedrock, and Lava. Everything else we found ok to read-and-run with the help of the guidebook.

So, I'm sure we hit some rapids at about 8,000. Not sure how much they change between 12k-6k but here's what I know:

Badger - straightforward but our lead boat went a little too far right and got sucked into the hole there. Both people got tossed out and the raft got worked a bit.
House Rock - didn't have much of an option but to hit the holes on the left, it was too rocky/low on the right. One boat flipped.
Roaring 20s - all straightforward
Hance - we all started center-right and tried to move left through the rapid to miss the holes at the bottom. Most of us just ended up hitting the holes, which were fun.
Horn - all but one boat split the horns on the left, which was an easy but fun ride. Our 18' rental went right and got tossed around a bit but made it fine.
Granite (one of my favorites) - ran down the wall on the right. I was a little intimidated by the wall but once in the rapid I was never pushed too much that direction. Easily missed the hole at the bottom.
Hermit - ran right down the middle, fun
Crystal - some boats went left, some sneaked it right, one went right down the center through the holes (he did fine). I went left (as it looked more fun) and was doing fine until my shoulder dislocated. This sent us into the left wall (that little part that sticks out perpendicular to the current), pinning us and eventually flipping us. Fortunately, we missed the holes and flushed clean from the wall but it was still a long swim that I would rather never do again. All that being said, I'd still go left again at that level.
[the following rapids I didn't personally row due to my injury]
Bedrock - everyone went right (of course). Some started way right in the rocks, others moved out into the current a little more. Everyone made it just fine.
Upset - most went left. I think everyone but one ended up hitting the bottom holes (one boat flipped). The one boat that missed the holes I recall saying they were pushing into the wall going through the rapid. Watch the lateral at the top on the left, it tossed one person from the oars.
Lava - everyone went right and pretty much just followed the bubble line. One boat flipped in the Cheese Grater, but he was just unlucky and it surged just as he got there.
 

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Im headed down in Jan, see flows should be 17,000-22,000.... it's my first trip down the grand and curious how things look/any major concerns at those flows. I'm still trying to decide more playboat oriented or bigger river runner-- most everything i've read suggest playboat, and the fact it's gonna be f'in COLD. Any info or ideas is greatly appreciated
If you mean a playboat kayak instead of a hard shell then for sure playboat. I've had two friends run the entire way in duckys and both made everything except Lava. You want to go left at lava in a ducky but never in a raft. We've run the right side at all levels and have made it everytime. The lowest, 6000cfs and the highest 17,500 cfs. My main rule at any level on the Grand is generaly go with the most water.
 

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If you mean a playboat kayak instead of a hard shell then for sure playboat. I've had two friends run the entire way in duckys and both made everything except Lava. You want to go left at lava in a ducky but never in a raft. We've run the right side at all levels and have made it everytime. The lowest, 6000cfs and the highest 17,500 cfs. My main rule at any level on the Grand is generaly go with the most water.
Why would you say that? Never go left that is. Presenting rapids as only having one solution could make someone predisposed to do the wrong line for the flow.

When I was there I was with several multiple time GC guys and it was my first. Everyone scouted and scouted ( it was around 23k to 24k), I saw where I wanted to run ( on the left of the ledge hole) but kept my mouth shut as I was the first timer.

After a 45 minute scout they decided we needed to scout from the left side too. Another 30 minutes of scouting.......finally I said stick a fork in it and turn it over it's done and I am running the left side. It was anti-climactic.

The only one who had trouble waited until everyone else ran, dicked around for another 20 minutes and then the sun was in their eyes they lost their line and went right in the left side of the ledge hole. I have to say they had the most exciting run and didn't flip. Did everything but flip, but they didn't flip.

There were some really nasty surging laterals around the cheese grater that were freaking everyone out. Seemed like occasionally the water would surge completely over the cheese grater. Could be remembering wrong, but no one wanted to be over there.

Most rapids have many options depending on flow. I could see at lower flows that the entrance or top of the left side could start to close out.
 

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Sorry Otto, but have to agree with Carvedog regarding Lava: Over 20k and the left side starts to look much more inviting than the right. I've run it from less than 1000cfs (spring of '77) to over 80,000 (summer of "83) and pretty much everything in between over the years, er, decades. The higher the water, the meaner the right side gets.

Whatever level you run it, it's a fun rapid that always deserves respect.
 

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Horn Creek Rapid is especially tough at low water. It is very difficult (bordering on impossible) to miss the big hole, even with the essential perfectly-timed eddy turn below the mid-stream pour-over at the entry. Set a downstream ferry angle to punch the eddy below the pour-over, and don't let the eddy swing your bow downstream. Keep pulling on the right oar to maintain the downstream ferry angle and keep pulling to the left. You might be able to just brush the left side of the hole. More likely, you'll hit the hole anyway, so be sure to hit it straight and push your way through it. The odds are that all you'll get is a boatload of water, but a flip is pretty easy anyway.

At Lava, the left-side runs go away at low water. The right-side run requires a precise entry within 3 feet to the right of the massive mid-river pourover (the ledge hole). Too far to the right leads you into a pair of ugly holes against the right bank, and too far to the left takes you over the death rock into the ledge hole.

Hance is filled with obstacles--boulders and holes--but the slower current makes it into a fun slalom course, with lots of maneuvering but no serious peril. Scout it well--and, of course, scout everything else as well.
I'll second that....Those are really they only rapids I can remember that were a little challenging. Horn in particular, definitely right to left momentum at the entrance. The hole located bottom right/middle (that most of the flow dumps into) easily flipped one of our 16' rigs.

The 20's are awesome at those levels....IMO.
 

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At 8000 all three of our 18' rafts did not make the right cut and went left of the island. All of us had rowed the canyon before (at both higher and lower water) without problem. In hindsight it was kind of cool going that way but I'm glad there wasn't wood in the exit slot! It was hard enough to get lined up for as it was.
 

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Hey, again- just wondering if any passenger spots are open for the October Grand trip? 25/f, Telluride, CO 860-575-1038... Thanks for any info or contacts. Cheers. Britt
 

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All the comments so far are great and spot on. The Jewels were more fun at lower water; Granite, Hermit and Crystal were very straightforward (watch out for the hole on the right in lower Crystal). Mostly read and run otherwise. House Rock was a little tough because you had to enter it so far to the left, but there was plenty of time to move right. Horn was the tough one - one one trip we only had one kayaker swim and all the rafts made it, but we didn't think that would be the case when we first looked at it. Enter it 'between the Horns' toward the left side, blast your way through the hole at the bottom of that drop, and then do everything you can to get to the left around the hole. You should be able to punch the corner of it if you can't make it. Don't be lulled into thinking you can enter right and pull left around the hole - the lateral waves are too powerful; on one trip the two that tried that were slammed to the far right right against the wall and the guide looked like a ragdoll flying out of the boat. Fortunately he hit the wall only glancingly on his shoulder and wasn't more injured. Have a great time
 

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Here's a link to some runs through Horn at med/low water, I'm guessing somewhere around what you'll see. All 6 rafts run right of both horns and all of them take a piece of the wave/hole 3/4 of the way through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkEAAzlleZA&feature=related

I'm probably going to get flamed for the following comments but here you go...

The yellow raft has by far the smoothest run. He is calm and tries to move left behind the river right horn. When it's clear he's not going to miss the holes (he figures this out way before anyone else) he simply spins the boat forward and pushes downstream through the left side of the big stuff. This is a classic right side run at this level. Better to spin and be facing in the right direction than to keep fighting a losing battle to get left.

So, if you want to get some action, this is a great way to run it. Note that he spins early so he's set up to take on the downstream stuff pointing directly into it. Most of the following boats don't straighten out in time to be set up correctly for the runout past the horns. No offense to any of you out there that might be in this video!

All of the boats seem to be attempting to run right to left but none of them make it. (They could be planning on hitting the big stuff so maybe I'm wrong and they went exactly where they wanted.) None of them have any real right to left momemtum going down the tongue however. If you really want to get left from the right, you have to have massive right to left momentum going for you. That means starting farther right at the very top and rowing hard (backwards and downstream!) towards the left (always with downstream angle). You'll want to drop your stern into the eddy behind the river right horn earler than they do, so you slide across the eddy as you begin your counter clockwise spin to get your boat straight. The sharper your angle (closer to straight downstream that to the river left) the better chance you have of using the eddy behind the horn. If you hit the eddy line without much right to left momentum and with too shallow and angle, say 45 degrees, you'll simply get rejected back into the tongue, even as you're spinning.

But, I would suggest an arguably better line if you want to miss the bottom stuff: Simply drop between the horns backwards and, as soon as you clear the V-wave just downstream in the tongue between them (you can see it clearly in every run on the video - none of them get close to it) you point your stern about 45 degrees towards the left shore, take a couple of big strokes and spin your boat around. You'll miss the stuff on the right completely and likely won't even get wet. You'll be facing downstream now and can set up a right ferry angle if you're heading too close to the left wall in the runout. I think this is a super clean and classy run personally.

While I'm at it, here's a tip for Granite, which is the next rapid downstream: Start right and stay right, just off the wall by about 20 feet. If you try to get left the river will keep tugging you back to the wall. If you're already there you can take advantage of the lateral compression waves that come off the wall to keep you on the tongue. It's one of my absolute favorite rapids!

Have a great trip!
 
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