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Discussion Starter #1
On Sunday that flood on the northfork (bailey) reached Waterton. I looked at the lower portion of the run in horror and didn't jump in. However, it's a completely legit piece of big water Class V at current levels. If you're itching for something new and have the marbles...go take a look. Pretty impressive.

Notable rapids:
Green Bridge river center hole. Sneak right or take the massive wave to hole on left.
Avalanche: massive near river-wide center hole. Crazy. There's thin lines on left or right. A hole ride would be terrifying.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice. Been wondering what that looked like.
At current levels, you could run Foxton Boulder Garden to the confluence in about 2 hours. At the current 600 - 800 cfs range, it's pretty much flooded Class III/IVish, with some very serious wood. (Note....log in one of the slots in the boulder garden as of Sunday).

As others have noted, Foxton has terrific wave surfing above 650 or so.

Finish Foxton with Waterton! Eddies are scarce and the current is swift on the banks of Waterton. You'd want to scout the bottom of Waterton after the first rapid that runs into that big house rock. If you didn't scout your lines on Waterton, it could very well kill you. No joke whitewater in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice! That left line on Avalanche looked awfully clean. I wonder what the flow was when I was there (gage was offline)?
 

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Would you really consider that class V big water? The difficulty didn't seem terribly high, but maybe if you're considering the consequences - terminal holes, not-roadside, etc. etc. I could see your point. Definitely 3-4 big water difficulty. Note: not trying to start another ratings debate, just wondering since the video seems like its totally do-able, and fun. But big water class 5, to me, is totally NOT doable and NOT fun.

Nice! That left line on Avalanche looked awfully clean. I wonder what the flow was when I was there (gage was offline)?
Didn't the gage read "E" - for epic flow...? So when you were in there the flow was EPIC. So epic it couldn't be measured.
 

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We called it IV+. I don't think any of the holes are keepers. The one at the bottom of the "S turn" on the right got punched and so did the one in avalanche. Both without issue. A swim in the top rapid would be pretty bad though. Biggest risk IMO is flush drowning.
 

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It looks a hell of a lot rowdier than the vid at 2400 we were debating,and I am sure that vid did not do justice to how pushy and powerful it felt/was...since when does Waterton have a bunch of laterals everywhere...sweet
 

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Go pro makes everything look easy.

Our single rating system doesn't do well categorizing really high water. Its common for a run to be a half grade easier at low water and a half grade higher at high water. Stomping high near flood stage is a whole different beast though.

Corran had a rating scale that judged technical difficulty, consequnces and remoteness separately. When thinking about it in those terms... a lot of big water is not technically difficult, but has class V consequences due to flush drowning potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Looking at gage height, I think it was about a half foot higher when I saw it on Sunday. That would be about 800 cfs more than today. The hole in Avalanche was brutal..you'd flush, but only after being beaten badly and then washing through the rapid below. Maybe Class V is pushing it, but there's plenty of "Class V" that I'll give a go to and Waterton on Sunday was not that.
 

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Is it still a class 5 when there's a lake less than 50 yards below the hole and no obstacles between the two?

Dan, are you saying that when you saw it was pushing 5 grand and the gauge just didn't read it?

Nick/streetdoctor/beaterboater/grovergrover, didn't you just post something somewhere about Waterton never being more than a class 3, easier than Foxton and the rapids washing out at high flows (your posts are pretty definitive in nature).
 

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Discussion Starter #13


See that gap in the data...that's when I was there. The gap is when Sunday's 1500 spike on Bailey made it to Waterton. There's a similar gap in the data for the "below strontia" gage.

Your point about it not being Class V because of the reservoir is fair, but I'd liken it to Tunnel falls on Gore. I'll run Tunnel (in part due to the big friendly pool of ego collection), but I sure as shit was not going to run what I was looking at in Waterton. To be fair, I've been known to walk Tunnel, but that's just because I'm an enormous pussy.

I've paddled Waterton in the high teens and would say, at that level, it's pretty straight forward and super high quality. Maybe not an "easy III," but for sure in that III/easy IV sort of range.
 

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Old Waterton

Look up the old waterton run before the Res was built. I think you can find it on Floater Guide. Can you image the quality of that run at these flows. Often think of the loss of that canyon and wish I could have done it.
 

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Is it still a class 5 when there's a lake less than 50 yards below the hole and no obstacles between the two?

Dan, are you saying that when you saw it was pushing 5 grand and the gauge just didn't read it?

Nick/streetdoctor/beaterboater/grovergrover, didn't you just post something somewhere about Waterton never being more than a class 3, easier than Foxton and the rapids washing out at high flows (your posts are pretty definitive in nature).
for sure, and I was wrong. I also never saw waterton over 2,000. At 1700 I thought it was washed out. For example vertical blender is gone at that flow but obviously back in play at 4000. Also not sure what hole you're talking about that has a lake under it? VB is of no consequence. River left is a nasty tree sieve at the wave/hole just above VB though. It has a nasty "corner" pocket hole with a bunch of big wood jammed in it. Really hard to get there though. Avalanche and Green bridge are shorter but with some minor consequence. S turn is of most significance because of it's length with a hole at the top on the right and two in the center towards the bottom. IMO the top rapid is what gives it a IV+ rating in my mind. I never called it class V.

You forgot a couple other names as well BTW.
 

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How many deaths on class 3 rivers in Colorado does it take for people to realize that class 3 rivers become more dangerous than 'class 3' at high water? You don't see this number of deaths on a normal water year on the 'class 3 runs'. This really isn't rocket science folks!


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