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Discussion Starter #1
I have been thrown off by the rating that the guide books give to different creeks. For example, for years I have been intimidated by the Big South because CRC II gives it a V+ rating. However, I went up and ran it and walked Cool World, Meltdown and Double Trounble and had a blast. I really enjoyed the run and was not gripped throughout the day.

I have really wanted to run Vallecito, but still CRCII gives it a V+ rating. If i go in there at a med-low level, I shouldn't encounter any rapids over class V, right? What is the toughest rapid on the run and what are the major hazards. Technical boating is fine for me, but big holes are my nemesis. Are there any big holes?

I feel comfortable on class V but don't typically run V+.

Thanks!
 

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Vallecito is a walled-in gorge, which means there is very little room for f'ing up. How easy was it to walk those rapids on the Big South? You can't really walk anything in Vallecito because you are fully committed while in the gorge of Vallecito.

As for the rapids in Vallecito... I will let others speak that have run it on a more regular basis. I have only run it twice, both times I was very challenged but found that the rapids were managable. What scared me the most was knowing that F'ing up was not really an option. I was also fortunate to have an incredible guide, which probably made the trip a bit easier.

Mark
 

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I meant to summarize before posting that I think the V+ rating on Vallecito mainly has to do with the fully committed factor. I think the rapids are probably more in the V category. But, it will become a V+ trip very quickly if you F up.
 

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Ratings are definitely subjective, and I think things tend to get a little downgraded, especially once you have the lines dialed. With that, I would say the rapids in Valle at med low water are class V. But due to the fact that you are locked in, can't walk, and the fact that you can't scout a few of the rapids, and have to be comfortable going off verbal instructions, I think the run deserves a V+ rating as these factors definitely add difficulty beyond just the whitewater itself.
At medium low water, Valle has holes, but I wouldn't classify them as monsters...you can definitely boof and/or punch most with ease. That's one of the beautiful things about Valle...every rapid (with maybe the exception of trashcan) has SUPER clean lines, and when you hit them, you barely get your head wet. But when you don't, you get tooled.
No individual rapid sticks out more than others in my head in terms of difficulty, but for me entrance, trash can and no way out definitely have the most pucker factor....mainly b/c you can't scout them very well, if at all.
Bottom line, I don't know what level you ran the BS at, but if it was within the last few weeks when it was running low, I would give serious pause to running Valle unless you are at least running meltdown at low water. I would say that cool world and double t are harder than any one single rapid on valle. Not trying to stop you, especially if you have a good guide, and are feeling good, just trying to give you perspective between BS and Valle.
 

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Get a good guide

If your a solid class v paddler and went in at med/low flows with a good guide you would probably be fine. That said there are a few spots that if you swam and lost your boat you may have to get back in the river and swim some more class v to get to a spot that you could climb out. My first time down I swam at paddle bitch and lost my boat. I had 2 options, swim No Way out and maybe Finish Line to a spot where I could hike out, OR swim the bottom of Paddle Bitch, again, then climb out on river left, hike upstream, swim back across at the top of Paddle Bitch and hike out a steep gully. I chose the 2nd option and it worked out fine. My Rocket was destroyed when i found it downstream. Its super fun, not really any big holes at med/low flow. Enjoy!
 

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Valle is definitely a step up from our day on the BS. Like others have said, Valle is completely walled in with little scouting available. A serious class V combat roll is necessary to run Trashcan. Hitting the boof off Entrance is harder than any rapid on the BS excluding Double T and Cool World on the low water day we were there. The Entrance hole looks either slightly better or worse than the Double T hole, depending on the level. That being said, CMo is right that the lines through the rapids on Valle excluding Trashcan are super clean if dialed. If you go, stay below the 2.2 level.
Joe
 

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The most important thing to remember on Valle is the whistle. Like most gorged class V, if you blow your whistle loud enough, someone will help you out. If they don't, then the only choice is to get someone to call the cops. As far as guides go, Grif is an experienced boater and has been known to really help some people out. He also has a mean turkey leg recipe and generally will float a cooler down tied to his rear grab loop for some coool schlitz mid canyon. He'll take you through as long as you agree to do the cookin and cleanin at the camp. Good luck!!
 

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I'll just add that not only is Vallecito much more committing, it's also a lot more dangerous in terms of sieves than Big South is. So difficulty aside, it's an awful lot less forgiving than Big South.

I think that the average difficulty of Vallecito rapids is higher than BS without FF, CW, MD, & DT. Vallecito is a much less tiring day, though - although the exertion of the walk up is not trivial.

Leland
 

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The most important thing to remember on Valle is the whistle. Like most gorged class V, if you blow your whistle loud enough, someone will help you out. If they don't, then the only choice is to get someone to call the cops. As far as guides go, Grif is an experienced boater and has been known to really help some people out. He also has a mean turkey leg recipe and generally will float a cooler down tied to his rear grab loop for some coool schlitz mid canyon. He'll take you through as long as you agree to do the cookin and cleanin at the camp. Good luck!!
This whole "Griff", "turkey leg", "whistle", and "schlitz" crap is waaay overplayed...well passed the point of annoying.
 

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So, you have a more sophisticated sense of humor than myself. I still find it right in line with a good Texan joke.

I'll try a bit more serious response. Run Lake Creek. It is alot easier access for a front ranger, and much more scoutable. When you can hit it up without a portage, probably good to go. Everything else has already been said. Having a guide, is imperative in my mind. The comment on sieves is dead on.

I can't compare to Big South, as I have not run it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the responses. Most of the rapids do look very clean and in my mind, that is what makes the creek good to go. I have been wanting to get on Lake Creek, but will not run every rapid on that section. If I can find a good guide on a lower flow day and I am feeling on my game with some of my buddies to boot, i would be down for a run. I'll just have to make that call if I get the chance. There are definitely tons of good clean water out there that I don't need to run Vallecito, but it sure would be fun and one less runs to check off. Surely, I should have run this creek when i was paddling most everyday rather than now when paddling is more like a vacation to me. But hell, if Steven ran it, then WTF>
 

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The BV crew has been going up to Lake Creek quite a few nights the past few weeks. We're going tonight as well. It's still running on the low side of good and was actually up to 350 (a perfect flow) the other day. The only problem is trying to time the flow spikes, which are due to some guy who controls a valve for the fry-pan project.

For example: Right now it says 135 or so, but in about 3 hours or so it will be about 240ish. We can only hope that we time it right. If we don't we will just park n huck the cauldron. Running from the Brains down to the Cauldron is well worth it as low as 200ish. Anything below that is only worth park n hucking

Send me a PM if you need a guide and Lake is still in.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Marko. I am heading to Seattle tomorrow and will be back on Monday. After that, I will try to hit you up if it is still a go.
 

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I would recommend being comfortable or at least willing to run everything in Big South before dropping into Vallecito. The first time I ran Big South we ran everything and had a great day and wished I had gone in years earlier. The first time I ran Valle I was gripped. Maybe it was just one of those days, I don't know. When I saw Trash Can I thought the line looked like the shit I try to avoid in most rapids. A bomber roll is mandatory. I ended up subluxing a shoulder and a guy in the group behind us dislocated his. I'd like to go back and see if it was just one of those days or if it really is that difficult, but after hearing about some of the close calls and disasters that have happened in there and having kids now, I think my Valle days are over with. If you go, I recommend scouting entrance falls. I didn't and it's a difficult boof with death potential.
 

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I would recommend being comfortable or at least willing to run everything in Big South before dropping into Vallecito. The first time I ran Big South we ran everything and had a great day and wished I had gone in years earlier. The first time I ran Valle I was gripped. Maybe it was just one of those days, I don't know. When I saw Trash Can I thought the line looked like the shit I try to avoid in most rapids. A bomber roll is mandatory . . . If you go, I recommend scouting entrance falls. I didn't and it's a difficult boof with death potential.
I agree with this ^

Valle is not another run to check off the list. It is a must do for expert creekers. But don't go until you are sure you're ready. If your doubting, then you're prolly not ready. That's different than pre-run jitters/nerves. I think that you should definitely be firing up Double Trouble at lowish flows if you are thinking about dropping into Valle.
 

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I took a year off vallecito after the accident and evaluated if it is worth running anymore (I have 2 kids).
I dropped back in this year with a good guide at 2.2 (the perfect level imo). I was wigged out about a new entrance hole/drop right at the lip of Entrance. With good guidance by Scott Japhett a 4 corners young buck, I nailed the line. Went back in the next day at about 2.4 and it still felt great.
The place is surreal and the water is Idaho clear blue, just a beautiful place to be in. Besides Entrance and trash can the river is very manageable V, paddle bitch usually flips me, but there is time before No Way Out. If you know the lines in Entrance and TC, I would say that is class V.
If you go in, have a good guide, don't go over 2.2 for 1st time, know your line in entrance. PM me if you want to know mine.
On a side note I did a couple low water laps this year a few at 170 and even one at 150, it was a hoot, you still need a guide, but it is way slower, bigger pools and the lines are still about the same, just smaller seams.



Steve.
 
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