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Just wondering if the peak around the 18th was it for this year. Anyone with local knowledge or a more objective evaluation of the snow pack?
 

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Purely subjective. No, flow dropped with the cool weather, this next week or two will see the meltdown.

If I'm wrong, I'm glad I braved the chilly weather and got on it this weekend!

-AH
 

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I believe it has. The Fremont Snotel site still reads 15" of moisture, but that is an anomaly. There is not very much snow left to melt. Independence Pass is in really poor shape. In fact CDOT had no issue plowing the road out 2-3 weeks early and the Brumley Snotel site has completely melted out. Snow in the trees is isothermal and rotten to the ground and only about 1-2ft deep. The only substantial snow that is left is north facing slopes above timberline.

Later this week temperatures are supposed to jump back up again, but I don't believe there is enough snow left to take flows back above 1900 cfs. Could possibly have a second peak right around the same level if it gets hot enough.

This image is from the source of the Ark, taken Sunday the 20th from above 13k' on the shoulder of Mt. Arkansas facing north.



and this one is from 13k' on Mt. Arkansas looking west toward Leadville.

 

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Just wondering if the peak around the 18th was it for this year. Anyone with local knowledge or a more objective evaluation of the snow pack?
There is a lot of snow left at the headwaters (Mt. Massive,Elbert, etc.). There was even new snowfall up high this past weekend. The cold temps slowed things down and they temporarily cut back on the reservoir releases accordingly. We do usually get an early false peak each year. Then the true peak is generally in June and often around FIBArk time.
 

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There was no fresh snow up north in the basin this weekend. We did get 3-4" on Cottonwood Pass Saturday evening, but I was on both Independence and Fremont Passes first thing Sunday morning and there was no new snow, not even a dusting.

If you are waiting for peak runoff in June you are going to be disappointed.
 

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Thanks - very informative. I'm thinking a trip to the Ark this weekend, along with the masses, is prudent.
 

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The Ark can surprise you. I remember in 1991 or 1992 it was a similar year and we all thought the river "peaked" in June at a little above 1,600 in Browns Canyon. The real peak came in August and there was a major rainstorm that brought it up to around 1,750.
 

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The Ark can surprise you. I remember in 1991 or 1992 it was a similar year and we all thought the river "peaked" in June at a little above 1,600 in Browns Canyon. The real peak came in August and there was a major rainstorm that brought it up to around 1,750.

This is the truth, and it really depends on what gauge your referring to. Since I live in BV almost every comment I post is talking about upstream of town. I would say half to 3/4 of the seasons I have been on the Ark have had a second peak, usually much higher, during monsoon season. Generally this is at the Nathrop gauge or downstream even further. I was on Browns the day the boat ramp got blown out back in like August 2006. River went from 600 to 1800 while we were on it, and all the way up to like 2-3k overnight, washing out the boat ramp and temporarily closing Hecla Junction.
 

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From my vantage point here on the north edge of BV, the snow levels on Princeton, Yale and Columbia right now look like they typically would in early to mid July. I have also spent some time recently up around Leadville and the snow levels don't look as bleak up there, but they are still the lowest I have seen in the past several years. I suspected that the Ark would peak around the time of Paddlefest this weekend, but I think the Numbers gage on May 18th might have been the main "snowmelt peak" for the spring season. Given the wet pattern we have been in for the past few afternoons, a "thunderstorm-on-snowmelt peak" that takes the river back up to or even higher than the May 18th peak is still fairly likely. A large rain storm in the mountains west of the Granite to Leadville corridor could get the river rising again, and as I sit here typing this a nice storm is brewing and moving north along the Collegiate Peak range west of US 24. Warm day and nighttime temps might also get the river rising again. Regardless, the current flow rate will make for a great Paddlefest event and some fun family- and kid-friendly floats on the Arkansas. Come on and have a great time this weekend!
 

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That's it, until next year!
Clear Creek Ark, Lake Creek and the water coming down from Leadville are all at the same level they were when the river peaked on the 18th, plus the river is now at the same level (they had to recalibrate the "below granite" gauge and it now shows the peak was 1750 instead of 1950). If it continues to rise over the weekend and/or the release from Twin Lakes is increased we will have a second, higher peak from snowmelt.
 

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Sure, I bet 1 shinny new limited edition paddlefest sticker that the Ark will peak on June 4th at 2,250 +/- 200 cfs.

Or I have a warm pbr that lives in the bottom of my boat.
 

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Flows in early July

Got family coming into town in early July. With it looking like we have already peaked and the snowpack being poorer than normal, does anyone expect the flow to drop below the pre-Aug 15 flows of around 700 this year?
 

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Got family coming into town in early July. With it looking like we have already peaked and the snowpack being poorer than normal, does anyone expect the flow to drop below the pre-Aug 15 flows of around 700 this year?
The release will be there for the July 15th - August 15th time period. What the flows are in early July will depend on Mother Nature. It's possible that municipal water calls will hold the release at a respectable level, or that we will start to get some rain and it will help maintain the flows, otherwise early July might be flowing lower than late July..... but unlikely. Either way there will be enough water to have a good time.
 
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