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I want to keep paddling this winter but cant think of anything other than shoshone and Gore. Where else is there to go? I am a class IV-IV+ paddler.

When Gore gets as low as it does in the winter what is it like? What difficulty is it?

Thanks!
 

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Gore is solid class 4 at 1150 and under with gore rapid and tunnel being 5ish.

I do not want to call it easy paddling, but its not hard mans class 5. It is mostly class 4 and bumps up to 4+ 5- at gore/tunnel. sure im not the best guy to awnser this, i have less than a dozen laps in there all at 1k and under, lowest was 750, still fun and no push.

once it drops under 600 it is more creeky, i hear.

but, based on what youve run this year, dowd chutes and gillman gorge, i would think you would dig gore and it would be comfortable for you.

lines are straight forward, very new age class 4, not a lot of moving around, minus gore and kirshbaums.

kirsh's is the last rapid, and the only of the inbetween id call 4+ everything else seems 4ish minus gore and tunel.

we are going friday if you want to jump in. we like to scout and take photos

bob
 

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I have done Gore many times between 400 and 600 cfs.
It's a lot of fun. Creeky and tight, but not pushy and not very fast.
You have to run the meat line at Gore - Sneak doesn't go - and I would call the meat line 4-plus at low flow.
Tunnel actually gets much worse; the hole above the lip tends to screw you and the hole at the bottom is way stickier than at normal flows - really seems like Class 5 difficulty and swims are common at 450 cfs in Tunnel, but at the same time the swim is USUALLY no big deal and most people seem to prefer to swim it than portage it at low flow.
 

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Also, Numbers and Royal Gorge are often paddleable in the winter. Not really IV territory, but nice to get wet. Numbers is particularly nice because of the (limited) flatwater. Keep an eye on flows because it's not unusual to see some winter-time reservoir releases in the 400 cfs range.
 

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Yeah, Royal Gorge is still fun at 300 cfs and it generally doesn't get much lower than that. You can run it into December most years. You stop running it when it freezes over; not because of low flow. Same with Gore.
 

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It's also worth setting up USGS (or riverbrain) flow alerts on Bailey and the Big Thompson -- both are subject to dam control, and both can give up unexpected goods at odd times during the season.
 

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Also, Numbers and Royal Gorge are often paddleable in the winter. Not really IV territory, but nice to get wet. Numbers is particularly nice because of the (limited) flatwater. Keep an eye on flows because it's not unusual to see some winter-time reservoir releases in the 400 cfs range.
I'm expecting to see winter releases in the 400 range again this winter. They have dropped the releases to bone zone even though the reservoir are quite full and there is more rain forecast. Timing will be the issue. I hope they wait until March to start moving water, but its more likely it will be in January or Feb. They will at least wait until the browns finish spawning (December).
 

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Colorado is definitely pretty miserable for wintertime paddling. Gore is by far the best for a IV-IV+ paddler. The main rapids are pretty fun even down to 400 cfs with a creeky class IV feel and deep channels. The entrance to tunnel changed this year, so maybe it won't be as bad at low water, but who knows. It tends to be pretty locked down from mid-Nov to mid-Mar though (depending on how cold the weather is) and I guess that would be winter.

So get really friendly with Shoshone.
 
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