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Hello everyone. Brand new to forum and rafting. I would like to ask you guys about Westwater Canyon. But first I will tell you about myself. I have recently bought a Outlaw Assault raft. It is a single man 9' raft. Open in the front so it could be used as a kick boat. It has oars, 6' I think. Very durable material. I took it down the Gunnison Gorge for it's first trip. This was also my first trip. I couldn't find any body I know to come with me, so I went alone. Little bit intimidating but very fun. Flow was somewhere around 1300-1400 at the time. Nice trip. But I am looking at going down Westwater. My brother and friend may go with me. He has a larger raft. But he too is not experienced. How is it? I have been checking out the rapid list. Is it a ok trip for beginners to do alone, no guide? Compared to Gunnison Gorge what is the difficulty like? how many hours does it take with flow around 4900? I think that's what I read. If you have any links other than Westwater Canyon Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the Colorado River in Utah - Whitewater Kayak & Canoe Westwater Canyon - Westwater Canyon Whitewater Kayak & Canoe Trip please post. Thank you for all your help, and hopefully I will be able to meet and float with some of you.
 

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Not a beginner run, the canyon is completely committed once you get out of the flat water - there is no escape or retreat to the road in case shit hits the fan.

Don't choose Westwater for a beginner run, you need to know what you are doing and know river safety first.

Start with the upper Colorado or Lower Blue and work your way up to WW
 

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Plus you need a permit to go down Westwater, check out the BLM website for details. You should always try to boat with other people especially since you are new to the sport. What are you going to do if you flip your raft? With nobody to help you can kiss your gear goodbye. I definately wouldn't call Westwater a beginner run, it was the first river I ever rowed but I had people who knew the lines and were there to help, plus I have years of kayaking experience and understand how to read whitewater. If you get a permit and post on here I bet you could get someone to show you down and be there for support if you need it.
 

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We are running an overnight Thur & Fri and have room on a permit. We could show you the lines and help if you have issues. If you decide you can join us please do a little homework as to what you are getting into. We are meeting at the Dinasour Museam parking lot in Fruita at 8 am. Give me a call if you have any questions.
-Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I appreciate yours guys concerns and comments. I did know about the permit. But thanks again for the replies.
 

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Yea, beginner on a 9' boat down Westwater... not a good idea.

Take someone like Stonewalker up on their offer. I would recommend doing it on a bigger raft before attempting it on your own. In fact, I think the BLM requirements are that you have to have experience with someone that has been on it before you can go as a leader.

I'm not saying a 9' won't work... but as others have said, Westwater is not a beginners or even a low class river. I've been doing it for 6 years now and I wouldn't dare take my smaller (14') raft down it unless the flow as like it is now in the 5k range.

If you don't get on it this year, we will be going on it a few times next year and if you watch here we usually have openings and I throw the invite out for people to join us.

Go look through the posts and you'll see videos from me and a few others on here of our floats down Westwater this year. Or search on YouTube, there are a bunch on there.

River Use Stipulations - Westwater Canyon lists all the requirements you have to meet to pass the ranger's inspection.

All of that said, its a damn fun piece of river and I love it. I would go every weekend if I could.

DanCan
 

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It's not the size of the boat but the skill of the boater

I've been doing it for 6 years now and I wouldn't dare take my smaller (14') raft down it unless the flow as like it is now in the 5k range. DanCan
Large boats are overrated. They are great for hauling gear/people and thats about it. Many people, myself included, have run WW at a multitude of flows above 5k in 9', 12', 14' boats and it's a blast!

Bottom line is, like others have said, WW is not a beginner run. Go with someone who knows the run.

Good luck and be safe
 

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Not a beginner run, the canyon is completely committed once you get out of the flat water - there is no escape or retreat to the road in case shit hits the fan.

Don't choose Westwater for a beginner run, you need to know what you are doing and know river safety first.

Start with the upper Colorado or Lower Blue and work your way up to WW
+1 on this advice. I have always called Westwater the "luge run." Picture the winter olympic sport of luge.....you launch yourself down a narrow, winding track, going very fast, with no way out until you're done. That's what Westwater is like. Fun, yes. But one screw-up, and you may be in for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. If you go, go with a group who has experience and can show you the ropes. Be safe.
KJ
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We are running an overnight Thur & Fri and have room on a permit. We could show you the lines and help if you have issues. If you decide you can join us please do a little homework as to what you are getting into. We are meeting at the Dinasour Museam parking lot in Fruita at 8 am. Give me a call if you have any questions.
-Bill
Thank you very much for the invitation. Very cool of you. I unfortunately am out of town right now and will not be back by then. But again, so cool of you for the invite, thanks.
 

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Yea, beginner on a 9' boat down Westwater... not a good idea.

Take someone like Stonewalker up on their offer. I would recommend doing it on a bigger raft before attempting it on your own. In fact, I think the BLM requirements are that you have to have experience with someone that has been on it before you can go as a leader.

I'm not saying a 9' won't work... but as others have said, Westwater is not a beginners or even a low class river. I've been doing it for 6 years now and I wouldn't dare take my smaller (14') raft down it unless the flow as like it is now in the 5k range.

If you don't get on it this year, we will be going on it a few times next year and if you watch here we usually have openings and I throw the invite out for people to join us.

Go look through the posts and you'll see videos from me and a few others on here of our floats down Westwater this year. Or search on YouTube, there are a bunch on there.

River Use Stipulations - Westwater Canyon lists all the requirements you have to meet to pass the ranger's inspection.

All of that said, its a damn fun piece of river and I love it. I would go every weekend if I could.

DanCan
Thanks for the advice. Hopefully I could take you up on your offer next season. I have watched some of the videos. Looks like a great trip.
 

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Schenker, I like the big boat because I scare easy. :)

Large boats are overrated. They are great for hauling gear/people and thats about it. Many people, myself included, have run WW at a multitude of flows above 5k in 9', 12', 14' boats and it's a blast!

Bottom line is, like others have said, WW is not a beginner run. Go with someone who knows the run.

Good luck and be safe
 

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DanCan, fair enough. to each his own. just as long as you are out there enjoying the river, that's the important part.

Cheers
SYOTR
 

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Thanks for the advice. Hopefully I could take you up on your offer next season. I have watched some of the videos. Looks like a great trip.
If you end up doing Westwater this fall, just understand that you almost certainly will swim in this stretch of water whether you have a guide or not. There are more than a couple of rapids that can easily flip a 9' boat. Boating this stretch alone may result in a very long swim without your boat, and you will probably get separated from your boat on a pile of rocks at the bottom of a sheer cliff.

It's not too dangerous if you have a good crew; it's done by commercial duckies all the time. BUT- they have guides with experience and rescue gear. So go with a crew, and never be outside of a throw rope's distance of your partner boat while you're in the canyon proper. And bring a legit whitewater PFD, and make sure it's cinched down really tight. There was a drowning of Westwater this year due to a PFD not being tight. Unfortunately, there are drownings on WW most years. Anything above 5K and there's a risk of flush drowning with a PFD,
 

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I have never rafted this run, but yea man, a beginner, going alone, on a stretch you have never done doesn't sound like a good mix. Safety first is how I roll, just saying. Good luck if you go for it, let us all know how it goes.
 
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