Monday, May 29, 2006

Climbing and Rafting in the Moab Area - Part 2

Adventure Report: Nathan Smith, Ambassador and general climbing bum/student raves about southern Utah. This is part two of two posts from his recent trip.

Running the Colorado River

Six days were spent rafting the 80+ mile stretch of the Colorado River that includes Cataract Canyon. It was absolutely amazing to run it during this time of the year as it was running around 25,000 CFS (cubic feet pet second). Most trips run it around 5,000 to– 10,000 CFS.

The first three days included two days motoring into Spanish Bottom, a lay over day at Lower Brown Betty beach just below rapid number one, and a beautiful hike up to the Dollhouse of Canyonlands National Park.

Days four and five were our rapid days. With the water levels as high was they were, a good portion of the rapids were washed out. Big drops one, two, and three were huge. We scouted out one and two. One went great. Two was the largest of all three. After watching two boats make it through two alright, I got ready to take mine through. As I approached the rapid, one of our 18 foot cat-a-rafts was stood up vertical like an office building and flipped over.

At this point we were committed. Trying to t-up with ledgemere wave, I hit it diagonal and we went overboard. I've never been ejected out of a raft in such rough water. I felt like I was in a washer machine on heavy spin. I surfaced, got a hold of the boat, and worked my way atop of it. Once on top, I made eye contact with the other passenger and then again, got thrown off the boat by a wave. I felt a strong force pulling me aside and away from my boat. The eddy had gotten a hold of us, but our boat was headed for Big Drop 3 still upside down alone.

Three of our seven boats flipped in the Big Drops. After all the rapids, we pulled over on a beach to have lunch and piece back together all our gear. We spent the rest of the day motoring to Dark Canyon.

From Dark Canyon, you typically motor out the remaining twenty miles. One of the other friends on the trip was up for leaving early during the morning and rowing this portion of the flat water to the take out. We did so in a light down pour. Great way to end an awesome trip.

I learned a lot during these trips. Best of all, I had fun! Bottom line: Get out to play and play hard!



Blogger Monte said...

Sounds like a great trip. I've spent a great deal of time hiking a lot of the country on the east side of the Colorado River on the Plateau. As a result I started a custom mapping company and I produce water & Tear resistant maps of anywhere and for any activity. But my love is seatheastern Utah because that is where I spend my time. So I have over forty different topographical trail maps for the four-corners area. Our maps work great for river trips because they are waterproof. Check them out at

6/30/2006 2:00 PM


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