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Yes, this is another "Am I good enough to run the Upper A" thread. I ran the Piedra this year around 1500 (walked Eye of the Needle) and thought it was a big step up from the Numbers. So, how does the Upper A compare to the Piedra, aside from the V's? Also, is it reasonable to run in a Jackson Fun? (I can stay comfortable in the boat for 25 miles) I'm considering a run this weekend if anyone can comment on flows too. Thanks!

josh
 

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Upper A. is an entirely different ball game IMO. And no, I wouldn't take a playboat, some might disagree, atleast not right now. It's still running pretty good. I think a reasonable comparison would be Numbers 1 through 4 stacked together continuously for about 1-3 miles per stretch. Ten Mile, No name....LONG after the "crux" of each respective drop, and not much down time in between. It's just big......it may say 1000 or 1200 or whatever at the Silverton guage, but it sure feels A LOT bigger and pushier than that. I ran the Piedra this year too at about 1500 or 1600 and at that level I don't really think it compares to the UA....even when UA is at 1100.

Absolutely unbelievable though....one of my favorite all time runs. As long as you're with peeps that know it you should be good to go.
 

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Don't take the Fun, go with someone who knows it and make sure you can paddle ALL day and then hike your ass off or run boxed in class V and then hike your ass off a little less. Bring the pogies, a dry suit and more layers than you need.
 

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I know I am in the minority, but I didn't see the Upper A as a big step up from the Piedra. I ran the Upper A at about 1000 cfs and the Piedra at about 2000 cfs. I found the "in between stuff" on the Upper Animas to be more fun read and run than "big". Granted the "in between" on the upper is more difficult than the "in between" on the Piedra, but I found the Piedra more committed and harder to read and run (lower box).

Probably just my wierd brain and what I am comfortable with vs. what kind of worries me, but I thought I would throw it out there as a different opinion from the rest.
 

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I also think the Upper A (minus Rockwood) is only a small step up from the Piedra, as long as you're with someone who knows it so you don't have to worry about every horizon line.
And I ran Upper A with a guy who was in a Wavesport EZ, and he did just fine. The Creeker is preferrable, but if you ran the Piedra in the Fun, you can run Upper A in the Fun.
 

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I dont think it would be a problem to run the upper A in a fun or any playboat, but its kind of pointless. There is not really any play and the water is really really cold so flipping sucks, and most people tend to flip a lot less in a down river type boat.
 

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To pushy for a playboat

Leave the play boat at home. The upper A is WICKED!!!!
 

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Limited experience (think I've run each 3-4 times).
Upper A (excluding Rockwood Gorge):
  • water and air temps typically a lot cooler.
  • more continuous overall
  • a swim could get to be a pretty big deal, esp. re: hypothermia
  • beautiful, at times stunning.
  • Long. Find a friend to ride the train w/ your camping gear and food and turn it into a sweet over-nighter.
Piedra:
  • Boxed-in stuff seemed tougher than No Name.
  • No train track (has its +/-'s)
So I would say, most things being equal or comparable, Upper A is a step up from Piedra, but not a big stretch.
 

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okay this is the way it is. the upper a is dramatically different at high vs med vs low flow. right now its medium and fairly forgiving and fun. I am up there more than not right now and its great. high water this season was insane going 13 miles an hour on class IV+ with no eddys is pretty wild. if you have done it at med to low and you think you know it at high you are wrong, but high water is over for this season.

ps. its also warm and sunny now which makes a big difference from snowing.
 

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Upper at high vs low flow

okay this is the way it is. the upper a is dramatically different at high vs med vs low flow. right now its medium and fairly forgiving and fun. I am up there more than not right now and its great. high water this season was insane going 13 miles an hour on class IV+ with no eddys is pretty wild. if you have done it at med to low and you think you know it at high you are wrong, but high water is over for this season.

ps. its also warm and sunny now which makes a big difference from snowing.
Agreed.
 

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Upper Animas compared to other runs?

Could anyone make some comparisons between the upper A and some other runs in the class IV range in CO? Ive never done the Piedra but have been eyeing the upper A as an overnighter walking the 3 big drops as I love continuous class IV, and wilderness.

If you were to walk the 3 V's how would you say it compares to the numbers, clear creek runs (dumont?), poudre runs, big thompson runs, etc?

Also, is it recommended to go with someone who's been there before to identify the V's if you plan on walking them? Or if you're taking your time and scouting most bigger looking horizon lines will it be obvious?

Thanks!
 

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Distinguishing the 3 class Vs on the Upper A

Ten Mile is hard to identify without knowing the river pretty well. It doesn't have a super obvious horizon line, and is just after another right hand corner. At medium to lower flow in a kayak it can be a class IV+ read and run, but I still really recommend scouting it (river right). It gets harder as it goes down with two distinct halves. Correct me if I'm wrong Mania, but I think this has the hole on it that killed at least 1 person back in 2005 (in the lower half of the rapid).

No-name. Rather obvious horizon line though it comes up quickly. The river gets really narrow (relatively speaking), the rock walls albeit only ~8ft high are steep. Pulling out can be tricky. At medium to higher flows this rapid alone, if I didn't know the run, would be cause for me to go with someone who knows where to get out to scout/portage. The train tracks are about 20-30ft from the river w/ no vegetation in the way, making the portage and/or scout very convenient and simple. Don't swim- still continuous after this rapid.

Broken Bridge- Rather obvious. As soon as you come around a corner to the right and you see the right side of the bridge is broken, it's time to get out and scout. The rapid starts immediately at the bridge. Here's the catch though- the scout is non-obvious on the left side of the river (walk away from the river, hit a trail, follow the trail downstream 100yards, etc.). One can also get out on river right and hike up a small (40ft) hill up to the train tracks to portage. Thus, the better scout is on the left, and the far better portage is more on the right. It can be scouted on the right okay I suppose- I've never scouted it from the right.

Broken Bridge is an easy class IV read and run at low and possibly medium flows- lots of time between features. At high water it becomes a solid class V. Don't swim, as it's rather continuous class IV for the next 2 miles or so after the rapid.

Cheers,
Dave

Cheers
 

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I think the Upper A isn't really comparable to the Poudre (my backyard river), Clear Creek (either one), or the Big T. More like the Numbers at high water, but much longer, more continuous (really!), and bit more difficult, and I think No-Name (at medium flows) is a lot scarier than Pine Creek. I'm calling about 1200 at Silverton and 2800 or so at Durango a medium level.

I've run it twice, last year and about 20 yrs ago. Both runs with one other person and the only knowledge we had of the river was (very poor) memories and the guidebook. We carried No-name, scouted another drop (slide?) and carried around one hole, and scouted broken bridge. We thought it might have been a good idea to have looked at one other drop (20:20 hindsight) but we managed to hit a critical slot anyway.

_If_ you're experienced, I don't think you need a guide. at least at low to medium levels. But you really want to stay in your boat, and there's _lots_ of read and run, and many holes that I sure wanted to avoid. We recovered a boat several miles below No-name from someone that swam at No-name. No-name was _HUGE_. The swimmer eventually walked out to Silverton, but there was major search effort in the meantime. It's a long way out, I don't recall a single pool, and I'd guess a yard sale almost always results in lost gear.

Good advice on the left-side scout at broken bridge - we didn't know this but lucked out. Our line included a far-left move that would have been very difficult or impossible to see from river right.

It's a classic run. Get it if you can.

johng
 
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