|Its not that different just a little more padding|
Well now that I found this little nest of forgotten footage I might as well keep going. Adriene and I got out on the river last winter at 16". I was testing out one of the early protos of the Stomper 80. It was a fun day just the two of us out there. We didn't see a soul.
To me the river is actually easier and more fun at this level, except Gorilla of course. The whole thing is just softer. The boney rocks and slides that beat you up daily at normal flows are well padded and the extra juice makes it more splashy and bouncy. Yes there are a few holes that become a bit more disconcerting but over all it makes the river easier. The best examples of that are Go Left, Zwicks, and Sunshine. At Go Left you can start to run down the entire left side of the whole rapid which makes it a direct line rather than having to paddle out on the dome and turn hard to run the slots at the bottom of the rapid. In this video I run the sneak and Adriene comes down the Left Left line. Just watch the log its pretty exposed at 16 and gets better as you go up. At Zwicks you can run right of the top hole which takes this one from being one of the tougher rapids to being one of the easier. You can't help but run out over the shallow slide. At Sunshine as the levels get over 16 inches you can just run straight off the middle and pretty much clear the center rock. Adriene ran straight and I ran the right line. I should have run the straight line because I did flip over. Gorilla is a beast and it gets really beastly as the water goes up. We walked it.
|Going Direct at Go Left|
The down side to the river being this high or higher is that when things do go wrong they go wrong really quickly and in a much worse way. Its going to be a long time before you can pull your boat out of the river if you swim and it may be a rapid or two before you can swim yourself to shore if you aren't aggressively swimming. So if you are thinking about running this river at higher flows make sure you know the lines well and know you can deal with the issues that can arise. If you have that covered this can be some of the best runs on the river you will ever have.
Oh and don't forget about Hammer Factor. When the water levels rise the bad ass paddlers that are on this river at hi flows aren't worried about Go Left or Sunshine. They are pinching a loaf about Hammer Factor. Its big, nasty, and it gives grown boys and girls nightmares.
|The Pit in Hammer Factor|
Here is the video from the day.