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And it doesn't look like it's going to get any better soon. From our local paper this morning...
63403
 

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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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You may suck at photography, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and those photos speak volumes. Thanks so much for this, the only thing that pops to mind is it's going to get worse before it gets better... add a couple of days to the trip and head for bullfrog!
 

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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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Certainly not good news. 31 ft lower you say! Wow... Looks like we're going to Halls this year...
 

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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...
 

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Naw, not in our lifetime. Headward erosion has to work it's way down. We're clearing gypsum now. There's still +100 ft of sediment at Dark. Wish it wasn't so but we're in for a long slow process even with a low lake.
 

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I have to agree, being up high on the lake, that's where most of the sediment started to build back in the day, and has done nothing but accumulate over the years. Would be cool to see though.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
At this rate, Dark Canyon, one of this biggest historical Cat rapids, will be reappearing someday, maybe soon.
Check out the link posted in the beginning of this thread... dark canyon is going to stay buried for sure if they don't correct the channel at the dirty devil confluence
 

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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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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
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).

"They" would have to be someone under the DOI umbrella... I personally would like to see further natural sediment removal in the lower canyon... if the current situation persists for a while there is a possibility of a waterfall upstream of the current take out... (not sure where I found this picture, but found it interesting)... a large waterfall situation like what is below clay hills is personally not a situation i would advocate for.

I have no problem bringing smaller rafts for cataract trips so the take out situation is easier. Or motoring down to another take out.

While some of us discuss the condition of the ramp or ramp etiquette, it is good to know that folks are worried about the condition of the river or if that ramp will even be accessible due to waterfalls upstream and down stream...

We will be launching from halls this trip because I will have to do some serious work for my snout trailer to be feasible at north wash. I think we could get my buddies snout in the water with his trailer and maybe 2 roller tubes... (I have trailer envy)
 

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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.
 

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Check out the link posted in the beginning of this thread... dark canyon is going to stay buried for sure if they don't correct the channel at the dirty devil confluence
Im the guy who posted the link.

There are 60’ high dirt walls below the last rapids right now. Between two years Imperial Rapid went from a ripple to huge waves with maybe 3-4 more rapids below it. It would only take a few high water springs to flush out the channel, leaving more dirt walls for more impossible-to-access campsites. The real issue is the lake prob will never drop that low as it would be well below the pen stocks.
 

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Im the guy who posted the link.
The real issue is the lake prob will never drop that low as it would be well below the pen stocks.
I don't think the runoff cares about the penstocks.. I as well rather doubt that the folks in AZ, NM, UT, CA et al have the ability to, or the willingness to cut their consumption to the levels that would maintain the lake if the current drought continues. I read an article last year, and I can't remember where, that stated that this isn't a drought, what we experienced from the 50s to 2000 was an above normal amount of precipitation, and that the current conditions are normal I remember thinking, I sure hope not.. I can always dream, ala "Seldom Seen Smith"...
 

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We did a trip last season with an engineer who worked in water storage and transport and he told us the 5 years they chose to use in determining the viability of the powell project were the 5 wettest years on record in the affected basins.

With municipal and agricultural growth in the west, the demand on the resource seems unrelenting.

I think dead pool is 3300-ish feet.
 

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200 feet to the river, woo hoo :) At 30+ feet a year, which likely will increase exponentially as the canyon narrows, unless some epic rainfall happens, ala Noah's Ark epic, I'm guessing this will be an issue for years to come.

3569 feet as of right this minute..

According to this 2018 article, It would reach “dead pool” at 3,370 feet

So, at this juncture, 199 feet till "Dead Pool"..
 

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Dark Canyon was apparently biggish, but the old timers used to say that the Big Drops were always the biggest. And most of the lower canyon rapids were largely wave-trains.
 

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Dark Canyon was apparently biggish, but the old timers used to say that the Big Drops were always the biggest. And most of the lower canyon rapids were largely wave-trains.
I was kind of sort of thinking the same thing, and while I'm not an old enough timer to remember dark canyon rapid, I have to tell you big drops too and three at 40, 000 were way more than enough to get my clear and undivided attention...
 

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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 "...like a little boy caught doing something you know you shouldn't 'oughta be..."
 
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