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Discussion Starter #1
does colorado have any "high volume" creeks? i've been looking at creek boat reviews and wondering where (volume wise) "high volume" creeks start. is the black canyon a "high volume" creek? please name a quintessential "high volume" creek in the u.s. or elsewhere. i've always thought that "creek" and "low volume" were synonymous.
-dan
 

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Imo-A creek is a high gradient bed(trib to main rivers) that exposes paddlers to dangers associated with a creek..Pins,sieves,not clear cut routes through rapids(different slots,chutes)..I do believe high volume creeks would be managable a high flows for the particular bed..Black canyon,icicle creek,clear creek,boulder,south yuba ect..I would consider these high volume creeks...Low volume--cheeseman,eldo,dream canyon,nsv,little nasty,big kimsho,little white ect...Thats how I seem to gage it...High in the thousand/s low in the 500's?
Gary
 

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Well, are you eastern or western? Out east, higher volume starts closer to 300 or 350cfs. Out here, I'd tend to agree with Gary, folks seem to think you need a lot more before it gets to be high volume. In fact, I think of creeks as always steep and always low-volume. If it's steep and high volume, to me that's hair!

I think a whole lot depends on the nature of the streambed. 225cfs is a great number for the Green, but it's bone-dry for some of the runs out here. Gotta consider the river you're on. There is stuff in Cali that I've seen video of friends running that would make your skin crawl - super steep, continuous and loads of water, like the Upper Poudre Narrows for a few continuous miles, by the look of it.

I recall an instructor at NOC saying in 1999 that "we easterners" think we run all this steep stuff - and we do. But we run it with 200-350 cfs. She went on to say that out west, they run stuff just as steep, but with 1500cfs.

Personally, I prefer to dodge rocks and boof rather than tango with monster holes; I like the technical stuff, so I love southeastern creeking. Colorado seems to have plenty of both in any good snow year, though, so you're covered either way.

FWIW
 

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lmao

Caspian,you're killing me,lmao...God the eastern boaters crack me up...Just give me 1000 fpm and wet rock,and get the hell out of the way...Think you're being a little modest about eastern boaters,as I feel they are the best paddlers out there...I know I can scare the hell out of them if I put in a little effort,yet everytime I go out there,they do it without effort..
Happy holidays
Gary
 

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Lake Creek of the Ark might be considered a high volume creek. Though it is unaturally high volume due to the Fry-Pan project.

It's quite the sight to see when it is pumping 1500+CFS. I looked at it when it was 1800CFS and the only line I saw down the Paralyzer was a for sure trip to death.
 

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Well as a former southeastern boater, I wouldn't call 350 cfs high volume. Although, most of the southeastern creeks would definitely be considered low flow by western standards. A medium level for Watagua is 300-350. The green at 350 cfs would be high flow (on a low volume creek). I think 100% is somewhere around 130-150 cfs.

I think the distinction would be in the volume considered minimum. I don't have a number, but if the minimum runnable level is 500? 750? 1000? A creek with a minimum flow of 1000 cfs would have to be high volume. In the southeast a minimum 500 would most likely be considered high volume.

The distinction between creek and river is pretty blurry, maybe gradient versus volume.
 

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bowen, have you hit any high volume creeks in CHILE?... are you headed home soon? catch the PALGUIN at high water? PUESCO? the puesco rips huh?!!!! i found it to be fun and scarey at the same time....we got it high though.....hope all is well.....peace
 

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100% on the Green is about 216 cfs +/- depending on whether you have a summer 100 or winter 100. With 350 those slides would get sticky. I watched a friend swim out of Scream Machine at 150% once. Nies' Pieces just about broke his tailbone.

I think Alan got it pretty close when he said it's gradient vs. volume. I'd add the size of the streambed to that, as well. Rivers can be funny - the Watauga (greatest creek ever, maybe) is really more of a river - it's really wide, but every single move is a boof, there must be 200 boofs on that run, and it's almost all wider than the Numbers - yet it's definitely a creek run. If you can't boof, you're gonna pin for sure. Go figure. Few eddies or big-water features and it's high volume. But if there are big-water features, how can it really be a creek....?

In 2002 I saw Lake Creek at those levels too. Scariest thing I've seen yet in Colorado. That was serious high volume!
 

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Yeah, 216 cfs sounds right for 100% on the green. I think the guy that led me down the first time told me those lower numbers, but most people say 220ish. I couldn't remember which one was right last night.

I agree Watauga is a classic. Maybe my favorite, too. It is super fun with more water. Hydro can get a little nasty though.
 

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continuous creeks vs high volume

I am a comfortable boating the green upto about 150-170%. 200% is a a full on river. I got on it last friday at 240%, highest I been on it, and was scared. No more using water to bounce off of rocks just alot of water. Gore at low flows under 900 is creekier river and more of what I would consider a high volume semi creekish thing. At higher flows it is more a river in my mind. I thingk of high vs low volumes creek that changes character is big creek in tn. Still continous no matter what level but either technical under 3' or a steep, high volume river at 3'5" or more. Same with Upper south boulder at like 350ish cfs and Big south on some of the rapids had more of a high volume feeling to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
thanks 'yall,

lake creek at 1500 gives me a pretty good answer to my question. you wouldn't take a riot sniper in there at that level. just as you might not want a salto on the upper most reaches of the clear creek. this also clears up some confusion on gore; around 900 it transitions from a high volume creek to a river. so it seems that gradient over 150 fpm combined with 500+ cfs equals a high volume creek or river. such that something with that gradient and volume loses its creek feel. might the upper yough be a high volume creek?

what is the gradient on lake creek and how high does it get run?

-johnny, where is hard and hazard creek and the little salmon? sounds like oregon?
 

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It seems as if you need supplemental flows to get a “high volume” creek. Lake up here on the Ark can be a high volume creek (when they are pumping) – or a low volume one (right marco :D ) – the best days up there are at 500 – 800 cfs. This would make it a “high volume” creek for Colorado.

Off the topic anyone know who has run Lake at the highest level? Not just the upper stuff or a couple of the drops but the entire enchilada. Old war stories told around the camp fire are of 1300 – 1500 cfs runs. The highest that I have seen it in a boat is about 800 or so. Some of us went up there a few years ago with boats when it was about 1800 - 2200 cfs. One look and we all were beer drinking – not boating.
 

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Hard creek runs into Hazard creek which runs into the little Salmon which runs into the Main Salmon in Riggins ID. The creeks are a little north of McCall ID.
 

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Lake is not that steep until you get down to the Brains to Caldron section. The upper stuff – from above Tombstone to about NIMBY is super fun at 1200 – 1500 cfs. The scariest looking rapid at those levels is Kiss Me just below the Paralyzer and may have to be run in the same sitting. I love to think about a run on lake at these levels. Especially in December :D . Not sure if I will have the same feelings in June.
 

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Milo, Most of the flows Ive seen out here have been very manageable. We had some high water on the Laja and Llancahue early in the game but most stuff like the Palguin has stabilized to a normal summer flow. Lots of fun and were going to Puesco manana. Any runs on the Chukar Narrows this winter?
 
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