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Question...With my first season done and only running the Poudre (everything but the narrows) and being comfortable/playing on all runs. What is the recommended first class v a person should attempt (for next year)? Or are there some traditional big class iv testers to attempt before moving up? I never got down to the #s but would like to hit it early next season. So suggestions on other class iv's or beginner class v's?
 

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no tengo
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I think you need more IVs first but hey its up to you. royal gorge and numbers are logical progressions. if those bore you to tears try the upper animas or gore.
 

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I'd shoot for bailey.

It'll probably (hopfully) be one of the first things to run in the spring, and it offers up mostly class IV-IV+, with a couple V's=V'ish's. Everything is scoutable/walkable/beautiful, and even though a good chunk of the trail along the river is private property, if you get completely tooled and don't want to finish the run, it's not ridiculous to walk yourself out.
 

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Definately hit up the Numbers, Royal Gorge, Upper and Lower Clear Creek for IV's. Middle Tenmile is good too. As far as first V's, I'd say running Pine Creek rapid at different levels is a good test to see if you're ready for the step up. Gore at moderate levels is IV without Gore Rapid and Tunnel, which are both good ones to step up to. Blackrock at low water might be a good one, too. I haven't done it but I've heard Clear Creek of the Ark is a good intro V.

Check out this thread: http://www.mountainbuzz.com/viewtopic.php?t=9826&highlight=beginning+creeking

COUNT
 

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Ah, yes, the excitement of getting into kayaking and getting good fast. It's a blast.

I think you got it all wrong. First, you have fun from the river, not the classification. Second, you aren't ready for class V until you've been scared on the river or at least been in a tricky spot. Third, take swift water rescue before doing a class V. Fourth, learn to make a class IV run into a class V run by doing things a bit more tricky, like running a rapid backwards, taking harder lines, etc. Fifth, find some good buddies you can trust.
 

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Get super solid on the level that is before whatever level you want to run. So, for class 5... Get to where you can make every move on class 4 and do it with confidence and precision. Don't jump into class 5 before you are very comfortable on class 4.

As was said earlier, the middle-narrows section offers excellent training for class 5. There are some moves that are difficult and require a lot of boat control. What's great about this is that you can get your skills solid with less of a beating if you miss the line.

Scott
 

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Dont underestimate running something backwards, its not always a good feeling. i.e. waterslide on escalante sucks backwards, same with running tunnel sideways.

Aim for a low water 350ish bailey run next spring. That is perfect, is prefered prior to running gore (for some). I would stay away from pine creek, unless at flows under 900, that rapid is a hell of a beatdown. Parts of the Big Tompson when it flows, the middle narrows for sure, lower N. Saint vrain with ppl that have run it before. Start running class -IV - IV in your playboat - it gives everything a totally different feeling.

Use the other post as well, good things on there.
- eddy hoping (especialy micro eddies) will always help, working on boofing, controling your boat, getting into stickier holes than your used too and working your way out. If your on the Poudre, then you can do all of these things without problems.

Just dont rush into class V, so then your not on a run looking back wishing you had spent a few more years preping yourself.

Getting a group is most crucial. If they are comfy taking you down something more technical and dont mind scouting/portaging (or watching you do it), then its a perfect group.

just my thoughts
 

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I agree completely about making sure you've put in the time on the IV's and are ready to step up. There's nothing worse than being on the river and realizing you're in over your head (no pun intended). Especially if you've only been boating for a year, the experience makes a big difference, especially when it comes to beat downs. I've paddled with inexperienced paddlers who had the technical skills to paddle V- but freaked out after a III+ working because they weren't used to being off-line. They could have gotten out fine but the it was a new experience for them and they bailed after the second attempt didn't get them out. The suggestions given here are all based on the assumption that you actually are ready to start paddling IV+ to V- water. There's also something to be said about the different types of rivers you are used to paddling. Some people are more likely to be more comfortable trying something creeky like Bailey while others are better with bigger style river like Gore. The age old dilemma of "Class V creeking or Big Water Class V." It's very much a matter of style and what you're used to.

COUNT
 

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This past year was my first year boating and I did boat some class V's. I ran pretty much everything on the Ark headwaters before moving on. The only things I missed were Clear creek and Grape creek. After running Pine Creek at flows between 900 and 500 numerous times I moved up to a class V. My suggestion about a good class V to begin on is Elevenmile canyon. If you start just below the top class V, by time you get to the bottom you will know if your ready for the bottom class V. All the III's and IV's in between get you prepared and if your comfortable and have the support.....There's a video on the PPWC web site if you want to take a look. Dont hold my line agianst me. The run I was able to video was my worst run. Fell off line after the top drop.
 

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I like the suggestion about middle narrows. Since you're comfortable on the Poudre, it's a natural progression. Running the middle at various levels is an excellent test with some challenging moves. At higher water (above 3.5 on the rock) it gets pretty pushy. Lower Narrows at lower water is a great way to step up as well. I started running lower btwn. 1.5 and 2.0.....not too pushy, you learn the lines, and you're more confident when it gets above 2.5 (a significant difference on the Lower in my book). I think middle is a better test/warm-up than Pine Creek alone. 1.5 miles with various moves/challenges as apposed to 1 rapid with 1 move. Pine Creek + Numbers is a fantastic IV+ run though!! My .02
 

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Try some of the smaller class 4 creeks like Boulder canyon,Lefthand,or Tenmile to get a feel for tighter faster paced runs ,then graduate to Bear Creek. Bailey seems like a prerequisite for Gore.
If you move up to quick and really get your ass kicked it could harm your confidence/learning curve.
 

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walk before you swim

As Alice Cooper would say -- Welcome to the nightmare. I think you're going to like. As long as you don't die first. LOL! I'm just trying to put some fear in you. Attaining Class V is a worthy goal, but you must respect it. Don't rush into a questionable judgement. Many of the runs mentioned above have very abusive and sometimes life threatening consequences if you swim. I would highly recommend starting on the Upper Arkansas in the early season. Progressing on Pine Creek from 150 up to about 1200 would be great training. Definitely avoid it between 1500 and 2000. Certainly tackle the Numbers at all levels. Developing an always reliable battle roll is a necessity. This should be your training grounds until late June. Then, with several experienced Bailey veterans along, you could consider Bailey between 250 and 400. Again, a swim on Bailey could really hurt. At low levels it is bone-zone technical boating. As it gets cranking (usually in July), so does the action. In addition to Pine Creek and the Numbers, other great classics to drive to include the Upper Animas and Piedra. Eventually, and with great respect and a veteran guide, the Upper Taos Box is one of the best experiences you'll find. It offers a real expedition feel of adventure. Anyway, start early on Pine Creek, stay forward and aggressive, when in doubt...scout, and remember that the rivers will still be there to try another day if you're not feeling on top of your game. Cheers!
KV
 

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I don't think one year is enough experience to be paddling class V. You have to have more experience getting in and out of bad situations first. The penalty for messing up isn't so harsh in class IV so stick with that for at least a few more years. Class V is very unforgiving and if you swim in a true class V and don't get out immediately you are going to take the beating of your life and you could get killed.
 

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Good thread. Yea, try lots more different IV. nail the harder lines. And a few other thoughts: playboat a lot, gets you comfortable in holes and rolling quickly from all positions: also, as one of the boaters in the Dagger website mentioned, BOOF EVERYTHING! Full face helmet?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks everybody...Theres alot of good info. Yes I've taken the proper water rescue classes, had a few bad runs/gotten into trouble...had to swim out of a really bad hole gotten beat up....jumped back on the saddle. I spent about 2-4 days per week running the poudre every week this summer....(I don't have a summer job!!!!!) So kayaking and recovering was all I did. I also know don't float the class float the river, which is very good advice. I just am interested in more of a challenge. I look forward to hooking up next year and running #'s, bailey, mid narrows and such. I do tend to (overscout) runs...since I teach fluid mechanics which is a positive and negative but I insist on walking the whole thing unless I'm with a group thet really knows it and can explain. Anyway see you next year when it starts flowing!!!
 

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Bottom V on Elevenmile is a V+, not a V.

I agree that one year is not enough experience to be safely running class V. Running hard water is not just about strokes, but also about being intimately aware of what the water is doing and also having the experience and knowledge to know when the SHTF before it does to prevent it and having the presence of mind to deal with it if you can't stop it. Ease into it and you'll have a safer, and almost certainly more fun experience. FWIW
 

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I would try the Lake Fork too before you move up to class v's. Definitely hammer in the IV's and make them more difficult by taking harder or trickier lines.
 

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As someone who has moved up very quicky in kayaking ability, I'd really suggest that boating one year in Colorado does not qualify for class V experience. Maybe, I'm wrong, but having boated almost 90 days this year, I'd say no. You say that you tend to over scout rivers. Scouting is something that should always be done when in doubt, but part of being a strong class V boater is that you don't need to scout class IV and can run it on directions. The reason being that many V runs have miles of IV and it would be impossible to efficiently scout it all. This is another part of the experience factor. Also, running the same lines down the same stretchs that you know well doesn't provide nearly the experience that running different streches of river does. That being said, here's my suggestions. I think the lower narrows below 1.8 is a great class V-. Good eddies, boofs and consequences. The middle narrows is a great class IV section that can teach the skills. Boulder creek from four mile down at 200-400 cfs is great easier mank creek boating. Lefthand might also be a good step, but I haven't been there. The Piedra at 1500 would be good. The numbers at 2000 are excellent class IV and if you feel solid with few scouts and tons of eddy catching in the rapids, you might be ready. I would be hesitant to recommend Bailey/Gore/Upper A because unlike the other above stretchs, these are not roadside and could present major problems if you get trashed bad. I think the Upper Taos Box is a terrible idea for a beginning class V boater. It is filled with deadly sieves that a beginner may not recognize and it is semi wilderness. Make sure for any of these runs you bring a creek boat. Also, remember that on any run in Colorado, we tend to bring a sacrifical lamb for the river gods. It sucks being that guy. Finally, never take advice from someone who shows up at the Gore putin during october in shorts. Take your time moving up - it'll be there, just make sure to enjoy every day on the river.
Joe
 

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Gannon - Ton's of good info from the buzzards. I'm pretty much done with class V, with some exceptions. I'm getting older and have two kids whom I wish to see grow up. I've done some great V and V- runs and nothing, IMHO, beats the technical small volume creeks. The attraction and lure is a natural one. It sounds like you've prepared with the swift water courses - which can help if plan A and B are down the tubes. IMO, next you need to learn about creeking and class V etiquette. Talent unleashed without the proper structure could be dangerous for you and your fellow boaters. Hand signals, eddy scouting, reading rapids, reading geology, vision, instinct, etc. Class V is glamorized in this sport and shouldn't be entered into lightly. Just continue preparing, surround yourself with mentors and when you feel confident that you are ready, well you are the one and only one that'll probably determine your fate. Rescues in class V happen but they are risky and probably don't have the best of odds. Another thing, it is easy to feel superior confidence on a road side run that you've paddled many times. See other rivers, I guarantee the unknown lines will provide that extra challenge/rush you want. And my parting advice, I used the fun/consequences risk assessment to decide to run rapids.
 
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