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There are many that are going to get difficult and horn creek is one of the worst. Part of the problem is most of the current motor guides have never seen the old low-water.

There’s actually a run on Dubendorf that is doable. Waltenburg has a definite channel down the left side meeting up with the rocks at the bottom. Hance is going to be horrible and will beat up a lot of equipment. Having a good memory and some old school knowledge will keep people from beating up equipment or hurting others. Looks like the days of motorized trips down there are numbered!

Edit. upset will be another one that’ll get nasty! I have done several trips on the constant 8000 flow with no fluctuation for the entire trip and it is low but it does go! That was during the old survey flyovers they used to do in early May and the people with the knowledge of the old days beat up the least amount of equipment. I was not running the rig at the point.
 

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Careful what you wish for concerning motor rigs going away. That will put a bunch more commercial row trips down there that in my opinion are more likely to skunk you out of camps and crowd hikes. The motor boats are real predicable in where they will camp, and they dont hike their sports much. They come, they go, they're gone, you dont see the same trip twice. Not the case with 16 day row trips. If you communicate with them and dont act like a turd they give you ice. My last trip down I chatted with 6 motor trips. 5 gave us ice and I never asked once. They also brought us a new sat phone in when ours took a dump. I really don't get the hate for motor trips down there.
 

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I’m not wishing for anything I’ve worked for a company doing many rowing and motor trips but don’t see the viability going forward for the motor trips. Pretty much just stating the reality. Based on the time of day they were probably on pretty low water going in there and this is indicative of problems to come. We also have a snout in the family and have nothing against motors.
 

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I agree that the day there is a big flash out that side canyon by Bedrock, the days of big S-rigs and J-rigs may be over. But that doesn't mean that the outfitters can't adapt to run trips with other sized motor rigs, such as snouts.

The economics of trips based on snouts certainly would be different, and additional skilled motor operators/boatman would be required. But that would be a way to maintain the current eight to nine day trip schedule, which evidently has great appeal for their clientele and works well for their business model.
 

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I agree that the day there is a big flash out that side canyon by Bedrock, the days of big S-rigs and J-rigs may be over. But that doesn't mean that the outfitters can't adapt to run trips with other sized motor rigs, such as snouts.

The economics of trips based on snouts certainly would be different, and additional skilled motor operators/boatman would be required. But that would be a way to maintain the current eight to nine day trip schedule, which evidently has great appeal for their clientele and works well for their business model.
That is a good point in that I believe roughly 75% of the current commercial usage is via motorized craft. Unfortunately our vacation 'habits' in the US are terrible and many people can't or won't take that much time off for a 12 -14 day rowing trip. I enjoyed working both types but the motorized trips were way easier, better money and if the people sucked they were gone more quickly.

A big part of working down there is educating people on the outdoors and how to protect it. If we loose the motor trips we will also loose a big opportunity to educate people on the fragility of our environment and the choices they make. Some people could care less or won't change their habits, but for many it is an enlightening life changing experience that leads to better protection of our planet and resources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I agree that the day there is a big flash out that side canyon by Bedrock, the days of big S-rigs and J-rigs may be over. But that doesn't mean that the outfitters can't adapt to run trips with other sized motor rigs, such as snouts.

The economics of trips based on snouts certainly would be different, and additional skilled motor operators/boatman would be required. But that would be a way to maintain the current eight to nine day trip schedule, which evidently has great appeal for their clientele and works well for their business model.
I was on the river August 18 1989 when we got hit by a big thunderstorm and flash flood. We all ran the rapid then scattered to different spots on shore to wait out the storm. Stan Holister rip stayed above Bedrock and hiked up the canyon above the bed and took a couple of photos. Some USGS guys heard about this and got the photos and with them calculated the cfs down Bedrock Cyn at 10,000 cfs. The rapid became much tighter after that storm. That was also the year that 24 mile rapid changed and became significant enough to eventually be named Georgie’s Rapid.
I suspect a storm of that intensity could really screw up everybody’s logistics.
 

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I was on the river August 18 1989 when we got hit by a big thunderstorm and flash flood. We all ran the rapid then scattered to different spots on shore to wait out the storm. Stan Holister rip stayed above Bedrock and hiked up the canyon above the bed and took a couple of photos. Some USGS guys heard about this and got the photos and with them calculated the cfs down Bedrock Cyn at 10,000 cfs. The rapid became much tighter after that storm. That was also the year that 24 mile rapid changed and became significant enough to eventually be named Georgie’s Rapid.
I suspect a storm of that intensity could really screw up everybody’s logistics.
I appreciate you sharing that story I had heard bits and pieces of that. Hance is another rapid that has been dramatically changed by the flood that came in from red tail canyon on the left 10 or more years ago and made that more challenging as well. The old high water sneak is gone on the left.

I spent an afternoon at red wall cavern during an incredible storm and had quite the memorable show. The water had been clean and green and as we watched the chocolate milk roll in we scrambled to fill up every water container we had. 🙃
 

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The middle line?

In my meager 30 trips, I've run right or left dependent on the flows, like I'd guess everyone does. That's a consequential rapid. I'm down for some fun hits after the island but above that is not a place to be fucking around. I've seen enough bad carnage in the first half of that rapid to be conservative up top. That's safe and sensible boating, not really trying to end my trip or kill someone at mile 98....
 

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The middle line?

In my meager 30 trips, I've run right or left dependent on the flows, like I'd guess everyone does. That's a consequential rapid. I'm down for some fun hits after the island but above that is not a place to be fucking around. I've seen enough bad carnage in the first half of that rapid to be conservative up top. That's safe and sensible boating, not really trying to end my trip or kill someone at mile 98....
crystal is a pretty easy rapid at normal flows from 9-20k ... the only carnage i've ever seen in that rapid was folks trying to make the right sneak or a guy that celebrated and hit the wall at the bottom of slate creek. I've always called it the middle line, and it is a nice fun splashy ride with a couple good hits in it. enjoying the ride isn't "fucking around" and "A clean run is totally un-exciting" is definitely not how I view the middle or "left" run in crystal.

you could kill someone on day 2 if you put an old guy in the water at a rapid like Indian dick. the last couple deaths in the canyon if memory serves me have been elderly folks.
 

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All your points are so great and I don’t know what I was thinking. You’re so right. Thanks for all the clarification. I hope that someday I’ll know as much about that river as you do. I bet you’re amazing on the sticks.
 

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Gonna have to try harder than that to hurt my feelings. I didn’t say or indicate that Crystal was a hard rapid. And I’m glad you haven’t seen much carnage there. Not a place for it - that was my main point. The whole un-exciting statement was referring to Bedrock.
 
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