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Discussion Starter #1
My sons (3) and I have non-commercial ticket for GC in July 2016, group size 8. We have completed 6 day raft guide school (oars) on Klamath. I live in Louisville and would like to partner w more experience oar rafter on WVa, TN, NC rivers. for next 12 months. Share expenses, time flexible.
 

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Good luck, it's the trip of a lifetime. Awesome to see you wanting to get prepared and hope you find some folks. This is a primarily western states forum but we do have some east coasters, you might try BoaterTalk as well for more local views.
 

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You could try West Virginia whitewater forum as well.
 

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Not very familiar with eastern rivers, but colorado plateau boating is a different animal than most of what I hear about back there. Any Time on the oars will benefit you, but try to locate some similar conditions like big single drops and very strong headwinds in slow current.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just completed west guide school, lower and upper Klamath, plan on western river guide school next spring (??middle salmon in Idaho??) also doing Gauley in WVa at high release in Sept but only as commercial trip. Supposed to be the closest to Colorado in US. What river do you think prepares best for GC?
 

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Having done the Grand 11 times (Kayak and raft), I think Cataract Canyon is the closest. In high water Cataract is bigger than the Grand.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cataract Canyon

Thanks for the suggestion. Checking out Cataract canyon. Thus far only commercial trips there. Would need guide school as we would not have the wherewithal to do it with out instructors.
 

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Not sure about your timing but Cataract is very doable in the late summer or early fall. If you put in at Mineral Bottom you will have over 50 miles of flat water to get warmed up on . Cataract gets much less pushy in the fall and a little more technical but it is a really great trip. The bad part is all the flat water to get the take out. Most people carry a very small out board motor or arrange a tow out.

Deso-Grey is another suggestion. It is much easier than Cataract but it is a big class II-III desert river trip. Really great trip to warm up on and it does not require a lot of skill to do it. You can easily rent a complete raft from River Runners in Vernal UT. They also do shuttles.

Also look at the main Salmon in ID. Can be big bouncy Class III and a lot of fun.
 

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Hi,

I'll second the idea of Cat and Deso, if you can get out there. The Cat permits are essentially walk-ins, so that's the easier permit to get. As has been said, Cat gives you lots of flatwater on both ends of a day of GC-like whitewater. You can get ferocious winds on the bottom end, which is why you saw motors being mentioned. And it's a long shuttle.

Fall Cat levels are likely to be reasonably low. But one October I did a Sand Wash to Hite, and was cold and rained hard every day before we got to the rapids. That brought it up rather smartly -- maybe 18-20k cfs, IIRC. The good news is that even at those levels, it's possible to scout the most challenging drops, if you feel OK about your water-reading skills.

While your river ability will generally translate, there are some things about long desert river trips that you won't get in those nicely wooded hills and valleys in Appalachia. You might want to take a look over at the Utah Rafters and GCPBA Facebook pages, and the GCPBA listserv -- https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gcpba/info -- post there for folks who could act as "consultants" for you.

Hope this helps.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #10
tanks for the suggestions. looking at GCBPA




Hi,

I'll second the idea of Cat and Deso, if you can get out there. The Cat permits are essentially walk-ins, so that's the easier permit to get. As has been said, Cat gives you lots of flatwater on both ends of a day of GC-like whitewater. You can get ferocious winds on the bottom end, which is why you saw motors being mentioned. And it's a long shuttle.

Fall Cat levels are likely to be reasonably low. But one October I did a Sand Wash to Hite, and was cold and rained hard every day before we got to the rapids. That brought it up rather smartly -- maybe 18-20k cfs, IIRC. The good news is that even at those levels, it's possible to scout the most challenging drops, if you feel OK about your water-reading skills.

While your river ability will generally translate, there are some things about long desert river trips that you won't get in those nicely wooded hills and valleys in Appalachia. You might want to take a look over at the Utah Rafters and GCPBA Facebook pages, and the GCPBA listserv -- https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gcpba/info -- post there for folks who could act as "consultants" for you.

Hope this helps.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the suggestions. Have looked into Desolation Canyon and Cataract Canyon. Green reive might be a good choice. Looking into raft rental. also GCBPA. If we can do Desolation canyon ourselves, are we ready for GC?
 

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If we can do Desolation canyon ourselves, are we ready for GC?
Welcome to the Buzz and congratulations on getting a permit for the Grand Canyon!

From a technical whitewater perspective, running Desolation Canyon to prepare for a Grand trip will be kind of like going straight from being a freshman in college to grad school. It's still a good experience to be in a beautiful canyon for about a week, the whitewater will be mostly easy and fun, and you'll be amazed at the campsites and some of the hikes you can go on there.

Most folks that run the Grand Canyon have at least a few years of boating under their belts, if they're not life long boaters who are passionate about the lifestyle. That said, there are lots of folks whose first boating experience was a Grand trip and did just fine.

You may be able to get on a Deso trip with a group that has room on a permit. Start looking now and you may be able to get together with a group that's doing a multiday trip either there, or on another great river like the Main Salmon, San Juan, or elsewhere. Another alternative would be to float from Grand Junction to Moab on the Colorado. Whatever you do, you'll be able to rent gear and get lots more experience on the oars. Boating season in the Southwestern desert country can be a wonderful experience through October and starts up again in March.

Also, you've been awarded a "permit" for your trip, not a "ticket." You have gained access to a highly-sought opportunity to experience an amazing place with a long and fascinating geologic, biologic, cultural, and political history. For many this is the dream of a lifetime. If you go on a Deso or other trip and realize you don't enjoy the experience, you should really reconsider whether you should go on the Grand.

Enjoy your planning and preparation!

-AH
 

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Just completed west guide school, lower and upper Klamath, plan on western river guide school next spring (??middle salmon in Idaho??) also doing Gauley in WVa at high release in Sept but only as commercial trip. Supposed to be the closest to Colorado in US. What river do you think prepares best for GC?
The Main Salmon would be more like the Grand than the Middle Fork. I love them both, but there are only a couple horizon line rapids on the Middle Fork. It is mostly technical read and run class 3 and some 4 = 6-9 or so on the GC rating scale.

The Main will has mostly spitting horizon lines that you come up on.

I know of at least one guy who went on a 'training' trip in late April. He ran his own raft and helped out around camp. He still had to pay but it didn't seem like it was too bad since they weren't setting up tents and stuff they do on normal guided trips.
 

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Lower salmon is a decent 2/3 scale approximation IMO. No lottery permits either!

Main salmon is good practice if you get a lottery permit or go before June 20

Have fun training. I put of a trip to the GC for a long time to build my skills. In the end the camping and first aid skills were more important than the boating skills.
 

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Few rivers prepare people for the GC. The sheer size of the hydraulics dwarf anything in the East. Maybe the main Salmon or Snake at really high flows would come close. I have only been down once, but my raft has been 3 times. Cataract Cyn is a good answer to the question.
 

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Few rivers prepare people for the GC. The sheer size of the hydraulics dwarf anything in the East. Maybe the main Salmon or Snake at really high flows would come close. I have only been down once, but my raft has been 3 times. Cataract Cyn is a good answer to the question.
While this is true, Grand Canyon can also provide a very forgiving rowing experience for someone who can read water and pay attention at all times. It is only a <10 ft/mile gradient over the stretch, but those 10 ft kinda come in big chunks with a lot of flat between drops. The drops usually come in nice clean tongues with an occasional hydraulic feature you must account for, but there are at least a half dozen occurrences with consequences that will have your full attention.

The more significant challenges in a GC trip include finding and staying in the current in flat water (especially in windy conditions), the effects that lots of very cold water in a hot desert environment have on your body, getting along with a closed group of people for 3 weeks, keeping your head during an incident with your group or one you may encounter, and your re-entry into civilization afterwards.

You are only a year out, I don't know how many opportunities you will have to get on Colorado plateau rivers. Guide school is good, but there is no substitute for time on the oars. Just get as much time in on the sticks as you can to try to make rowing second nature. But those factors I mentioned will influence your experience more than the actual rowing the boat.

You and your three sons make up half the group. The other half of the group will be a critical component to the trip. You should seek someone with some kind of combination of expedition experience with some whitewater skills. How old and experienced are your sons? I would think it important that your sons know and trust at least some of the others.

This is a very coveted opportunity, Get half of all this right and you will have the experience of your lifetime. Best of luck on your adventure!
 

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On water experience

Hey fletcherul..congrats on the permit..

The Big South Fork is running 28,000 right now..ive got a cat and a raft if y'all want to come down and run it...

Ran it last weekend at 7900...took my 79 yr old dad and my brother..

the boats are a 14' cat..can carry two people and a 15'6" wire raft..can carry it all.

Im in Nashville
 

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Discussion Starter #19
sounds good. I have rafting scheduled this week end in NC. may be available first week of August. how do I contact you?
 

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...how do I contact you?
Click on his name next to his post, and select the "send a private message to..." option. Then you can exchange information offline.

Have a great time,

-AH
 
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