I was a guide at Browns Royal Gorge in summer of 1984/85. Don't know where this film footage is today. But, my training guides ran it in 1983 approx 7500 - 8000 cfs and was filmed by a TV Show called PM magazine.
Back then we ran 10' X 24" pontoon tubes with custom frames. Before catarafts were even built. I know that at that flow, its big/fast and flippy. The 3 boats went into Sunshine (before Ft Carson pulled the rock over and made it easier) some boats submerged to where the only the tops of their helmets could be seen, other boats just flipped. They hung onto the flipped boat, went into Sledge, flipped boat back over, climbed in. I think they flipped at bottom at "the keeper" hole.
The next year Sunshine and the submerged raft was the cover shot for a calendar called "The Boaters Calendar" Mikey K was the boatman, don't remember the rest. But, those were some brave souls back then, with some serious "kahunas" when everyone else feared the Gorge above 2000 cfs.
A brief history that I remember, I spent two years rowing the Ark, each year it peaked somewhere between 7000 and 8000 cfs. 1 flip, 3 almosts... "Puppy" rapid
So, stop all your crying at 5000 cfs and get out there and run some stuff...
Before you get to old and have to work and be a family man......
We did it at 5500 last weekend. I would call it class 4, maybe 4+ in difficulty. All the rocks were covered and there were few if any holes that would hold you, but it was really fast and the waves were huge. A swim in the narrows would be really dangerous and a swim anywhere could result in losing all of your gear. A bit over an hour per lap. It was really fun and I would highly recommend it to any solid kayaker. Very unique to paddle this kind of relatively friendly and warm big water in CO.
As for lines (since you probably won't be stopping to scout).
Sunshine- start center over the huge green wave, then head right.
Sledgehammer- go left (pretty easy move)
Narrows- don't get tossed into either wall.
Boat eater- go right (also pretty easy move)
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