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North wash take out. rated M

15127 Views 99 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  tBatt
Howdy everyone, wondering if anyone has had eyes on the north wash take out in the last month or so. We are planning on launching 2 snout boats from there for a lake Powell trip to shakedown our snouts (northwash to page). Im aware that it is steep, but was curious if there was a giant mud flat between the channel and the ramp...

Thanks for the input
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Lake elevation 3570, looking pretty dismal... Supposedly even Bullfrog Main launch is not operational although I haven't called to see. Halls Crossing viable, it's just out of the way unless coming from south or east...

4100 cfs inflow markedly less than current release (Glen Canyon Damn), which means continued drop in lake elevation. Snowpack in both drainages is WAY below "normal." My gut - first ran Cat in '76 - tells me what runoff we'll get will be early and not much...
Water level was 7 feet higher when your photos were taken... If there's been no work on the ramp, it's only worse - and the only way to find out about ramp work is to contact Hite GCNRA ranger, or maybe Hite store (if it's open).
I had a look at North Wash yesterday (Sunday, March 7). Photos tomorrow - just got home - but a new ramp is being constructed about 15 yards upstream of the old one (which is unusable). Right now the new ramp is within 25 feet of the river and would be feasible for rafts and a tarp to tarp drag up to a trailer. Snouts, not so much... (maybe with roller tubes AND one heck of a winch.
If you used North Wash in last 3-4 years you may know the location of the new ramp as the furthest upstream point you could take out. It is now marked with one white metal fence post buried in the silt together with a green one. There is also a nice point bar just above that seems to be pretty much eliminating the gooey yuck. All in all, I was encouraged, especially since equipment is on site and work appears ongoing...
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Here's photos taken Sunday, March 7 - it was late afternoon and I had to shoot into the sun, particularly noticeable on the first few (upstream looking down). It's about 20-25 feet from the foot of the new ramp to the edge of the river... Last couple of photos are of old ramp - note sqrtsquirrel's earlier pix, the ledges are now 6 feet at least.

The new ramp is even narrower than the old, meaning ramp etiquette will be critical... if you're going to take out here, please note:
1) See the bridge in the background? That's about 10 minutes away, maybe 15 at lower water. You should have a plan by the time you go under the bridge...
2) Unless and until the ramp is extended, you're likely going to have to Sherpa loads off your raft to lighten it for the drag across the unimproved portion (currently only about 20-25 feet, but as river drops - reservoir elevation declines - it will get longer). So have your stuff untied and ready to unload/carry.
3) There's plenty of room above the takeout to pull over and hang while the ramp clears... leave some space, take your turn, and be patient. While the gooey yuck wasn't bad when I was there, it can reappear when the level drops or if it rains - be prepared to deal with it.
4) When it's your turn, go for it and don't stop until your boat and your stuff are out of the way!

Don't mean to rant but I have seen way too much clueless behavior at this ramp in past few years. It's not 4 lane like Cisco or 7 lanes like Split Mountain - it's a narrow, one boat/trailer/rig at a time in a wild setting where no one wants to watch you struggle. So don't... if you need motivation, go use the planet's grossest bathrooms in the upper parking lot - that will make you want to get outta' there!

Last two are the foot of the old ramp and the old ramp with new in background, car for perspective... as a photographer, I'm kinda' like having two good men call in sick...


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Talked to some power boaters who took out at Bullfrog and they said it's close to being shut down by GCNRA ranger... That leaves Halls Crossing, which is really scenic and about the same distance from Hite, but longer by road especially if coming from Salt Lake... Check reservoir level and call Bullfrog if in doubt. This webpage already says Bullfrog "unusable": Lake Powell Water Database

Note one year ago reservoir was 31 feet higher ! And by Sells' rule of thumb old takeout would have been usable... I know you folks went to Bullfrog last year Memorial Day weekend, so you have good gauge of time/effort/gasoline required.
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As for launching a snout, and having done so @ Mineral a few times including at least once where it took 14-15 folks to get the beast floating, I'd say the new takeout is on the border of feasible if you have enough crew to move it on dry land. Even more important is whether it gets rained on or flooded - no way the gooey yuck will let it go...
Who is this "they" of whom you speak? NPS? The outfitters who run Cat?
The Dirty Devil confluence is not the problem - the ramp is and always has been well downstream of that, and slightly upstream of North Wash. And to "...correct the channel..." is making an awful lot of assumptions without further study, as the report you cite makes clear. Also good luck on getting agreement on what is "correct"...

What is clear is that the river is dynamic, and it will take work and study to construct a solution that will last more than a few years. The river has shifted from its former channel, whether it maintains new course or goes back, who knows? Meanwhile, we can determine how deep the silt is at various points at the current takeout, construct a profile, and figure out probabilities. But a ramp where you can load directly onto a trailer isn't likely for the forseeable future, and maybe well past our lifetimes. And that's not necessarily a bad thing...

The HIte ramp was extended in a big (well over $1M) project back when I was out of the country, I think late 90's or early 2000's. And how long was it useable? Not a good ROI...

As of Sunday, 3/8, what I saw looked pretty good, sensible, and practical. You're not going to put a powerboat in there without a lot of effort, a snout would be epic (although with roller tubes and some assistance, feasible) - but rafts can take out with some help from your friends and good organization. All this can change in one good rainstorm or if the reservoir level rises (not likely this year but we could still get some good big storms that would help the snowpack).
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Yes, that trailer would work for launch on the ramp in current condition - pretty sure, 'tho I don't mess with snouts much anymore. Takeout, not so sure - even with rollers. Fill might not be compacted enough. If you absolutely had to launch at North Wash, could always put your snout on the ground, launch his, load yours, launch it... There's plenty of places right there where you could make gravity work for you...

The map from the study/report shows the DD "headwall" at 3670 feet elevation and it is well out now with the reservoir level 100 feet lower... and the location of possible "waterfall" (nick point) is BELOW the current takeout, not above. Which would make motoring on down to another takeout 'purt near impossible, if it looks like Paiute Falls... btw, somebody lost a boat that went over Paiute Fall a few years back - discussed here on the Buzz - not pretty.
Hardly anyone left who has run Dark Canyon... but the old timers I've known (Fred Eisemann, Jake Luck, Kenny Ross) put it right up there with the drops. The drops at 40k are still fun - at 60k they are terrifying. At 80k you feel " a little boy caught doing something you know you shouldn't 'oughta be..."
Two lanes of the North Ramp are now open at Bullfrog, according to latest info on NPS website.

It's 50 miles from North Wash to Bullfrog, you will be hard pressed to get there in "a few hours" regardless how much hp you use to push a barge. And the faster you go, the more wear and tear on your boats. Under ideal conditions, you MIGHT be able to average 6 mph pushing a barge, more realistic given wind and waves on "Lake" is around 5. Individual boats can go faster, but motoring is general is much harder on them than rowing. Hull speed is not what rafts are built for, although some are better than others (the more "cat-like" the faster, generally).

Unfortunately I don't think any solution for North Wash takeout is imminent, likely will take serious injury or some other disaster to focus attention...
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