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Discussion Starter #1
anyone run westy lately?

any ice dams yet?

thinking of rafting it this weekend since its gonna be sunny and i'm fiending. however, i dont want to do the wall portage around any ice dams with a raft. any info greatly appreciated and anyone lookin to spend a couple days in there is welcome.....if it happens. thanks, zach
 

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I just called Westwater and the ranger said no one has been in the Canyon since November and she wasn't sure if there where any ice bridges. The flow is at 2600 cfs, so that is good to go. I'm in. Do you have room on your permit? What dates are you planning and are we staying overnight or just running it in a day? Does anyone from Durango what to ride with me?

Thanks :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i got the same info when i got the permit. i am definitley not going in without absolute confirmation of a clear run . portaging or losing my raft to a dam above skull doesnt sound relaxing. i am more inclined to float the upper section (loma) if i have to deal with dams. i have spent all my resource tickets on red tail aviation, sherry griffith, and a couple of outfitters in moab. no one has flown it as far as they know. no one knows for sure. some guys ran it ten days ago (poached it i gues, dont know why you would) but it's been cold since. i am going to try and get ahold of someone in junction and a buddy is trying to talk his pilot friend into flying it manana for fun. when i am rich i'll charter a plane over the canyon when anyone wants to run it. i have a couple others interested in a trip and i will rum whatever trip shows the most interest. as far as launch, i am planning to spend 2 nights sat night and sun night wherever i may be, blackrocks or lil d. i am just lookin for some time to chill after finals, drop back a few and make sure i am good and "safe". the rio seems to be just the place to do it.....even if it is 20. floating or rapids, its all the same to me this time of year. permit is for 10 so there is plenty of room,on the permit and obviously room on loma as well.
zach 303 956 5722
 

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I've been down the canyon every month of the year (besides January) and I've never seen an ice dam jam up the river. That being said, I'm sure they could happen, but I would suspect only after a significant cold stretch in the canyon and above. I'd bet it's clear.

The temp history looks pretty good- cold temps in the beginning of the month but mild for the last week.

Have a good trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
you have been lucky. i am not willing to bet my raft or life. chances are it is iced. i just talked to my buddys dad who got back from moab 2 days ago and he said the river was iced completly over in some and, (below westy) even sunny spots, the rest had floating chunks. he said he imagined it was a dim outlook. he also lost a raft in the canyon some years back to an ice dam, not something i am looking to do. i am inclined to listen to him as he has 40 yrs running rivers. sunny spots frozen in moab would seem to correlate to frozen spots in shady westwater. there is at least one story about a crew that had to do an epic portage just last year on this forum. not something i am looking to do...especially with a raft. hoping to hear from someone who KNOWS!!! otherwise its flat flat flatwater.
 

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Loma?!! :x I'm out! I am alergic to flat water.

If westy gets back in the plans let me know, if not I'm going skiing and testing my new boat on the Animas. It has been teasing me in my living room for almost a week now, I just sit in it to watch kayak porn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i know i know!! rapids would be nice but the portage wouldnt. all i need is an all signs clear and westy it is. its all the same when you are as safe a boater as i. got a hold of the GJ airport and transferred to some guy who is flying it manana. says he will call me when he gets back. z
 

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Yeah, I've only been boating for 20 years and I've only done Westwater about 70 times, so I guess I should keep my trap shut. Thanks for setting me straight. :D

Ice does not form well in moving water. Molecules hitting each other at greater speed generate kinetic energy, which makes it harder for them to bond to one another in the freezing process. Also, minerals, chemicals and dissolved solids create more bonding problems in moving water. The reason why it freezes down near Moab because the slack water in the spots where there isn't any gradient creates a better opportunity for water molecules to bond.

So, by examining our little physics theory, it's more likely that there will be ice forming in the stretches above and below the canyon (all things being equal; average temps, etc). Erring on the side of caution (in this case) may in fact put your raft in a little more jeopardy than a canyon run. If you were planning a mid-winter descent instead, I would agree that rafting that stretch without confirmation wouldn't be prudent. But it hasn't been that cold on the Western Slope this fall, and I have been down the canyon 2-3 times in December, so I still believe that it would be clear for boaters.

I recall there being ice on the sides of the riverbanks in February 1995 in the canyon, and seeing the river iced over near Moab as I drove home to Durango. Granted, I was kayaking the river that time, so we had a somewhat easier option if we encountered problems.

Hope you were able to get on the river.
 

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Last year on Dec 23 I was in the canyon and there was a 100yrd long ice bridge completely accross the river below the first set of rapids, but above skull. I believe it was two or three small rapids below little D. The bridge was in a spot where the walls are tall on both sides, which kept out the sun. To make an epic story short, we climbed completely out of the canyon and then back in which required approximately 2.5 hours with kayaks. I've also run it about 4 times previously in both Dec and January without incident. Good luck!
 

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I ran a two-day trip about 7 years ago January 3-4. It was cold and beautiful. Wouldn't trade it for the world. There is a flight school in Rangely where you can find boaters to fly over the canyon and give you the beta you seek. That's how we got ours. Call them our email them and you will have your beta. Nothing better than being the first trip of the year...or the last. Might see Hayduke. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
didnt make it. anyone know about the hike?

didnt make it. still interested come a sunny spell and confirmation of no ice. some guy from the moab office called me the other day for info. said he called because i had the permit. i told him i had come up short on info as well, so he said he would keep trying and let me know. havent heard back. i guess there is a hike to scout it. i dont know where it is, or how long it is but would be interested in that as well. anyone know or done it??
 
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