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Floating the Escalante River

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tim Hoover, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover

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    I've been intrigued by the idea of floating the Escalante from Boulder down to the lake. Has anyone done this? Does it seem doable/worthwhile? Any suggestions or comments would be welcomed.

    Thanks.

    Tim Hoover
  2. bhunte2

    bhunte2

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    Location:
    Taylorsville, Utah
    I did it two years ago from Fence Canyon to Coyote Gulch exited the crack AKA 40-mile Ridge. It was approximately 40 miles. (4 days)We opted out to Lake Powell exit cuz we didn't want a 20-mile + paddle.My understanding is some people do it from the bridge ( Highway 12) in Escalante to Lake Powell. ( approximately 90 miles). The main issue you have is a lack of water, we did it with 2.1 cubic feet per second and we scraped bottom the whole way. I've seen more water on my kitchen floor then on Escalante River! The other issue that you're run into the higher you do it more obnoxious the Russian Olives are! We rented pack -a-rafts from an outfit here in SLC. I'll see if I can find the link.

    Brandon
    Ram likes this.
  3. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover

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    Thanks for the reply Brandon. I was hoping that the heavier precipitation this year would allow for an early spring trip. What gauge did you use for the 2cfs measurement? Do you have any idea how much water the river loses between the Hwy 12 bridge and the lake? It would be nice if I could get an idea of the conditions from Hwy 12 rather than finding out much later that all the water disappears a few miles downstream.
  4. bhunte2

    bhunte2

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    That is the challenge of running this tributary. I am not exactly sure where the meter is. Here is the link. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ut/nwis/...065,00060,72020,00010,00095,00400,00300,00045 I know there are a few tributaries that are above and below it however they do not have meters and this is your only source. To help you can look snow pack levels to gage on runnability of Henry Mountain's.We did in the first week of May of 2015. We lucked out with the weather, next time I would take a wetsuit! It easily could of been miserable. Here is the outfit we rented the pack-a-rafts from. http://packraftamerica.com

    Good luck
    Brandon
  5. Ram

    Ram

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    Tim

    The water that comes in from Boulder/Deer Creek adds a lot of water. The Gulch often does too, so that below the highway gets better as you go, BUT......The big BUT...... is I don't believe the Russian Olive has been cleared from down there. Above and a little below the highway, largely yes. Below Choprock Canyon, certainly. In between could be nightmarish at times. Maybe go in Fence, out Crack in the Wall and do some canyons along the way
    :wavespin:

    Didn't you slam your tailbone floating one Christmas Day? :):tongue:
  6. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    What gauge did you use for the 2cfs measurement? Do you have any idea how much water the river loses between the Hwy 12 bridge and the lake? It would be nice if I could get an idea of the conditions from Hwy 12 rather than finding out much later that all the water disappears a few miles downstream.

    As Ram indicated the flow in the Escalante increases down canyon, rather than decreases. Most of the water comes from tributaries. Unfortunately, the gauge readings won't do you any good because of this.

    It is difficult to get all the way to Lake Powell because of log jams. Most people come out Crack in the Wall at Coyote Gulch.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Going in Harris I think is shorter/easier than going in Fence.

    Tom
  8. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Do you mean the route that access Harris from the south rim of that canyon? Going down the standard route of Harris is quite a bit longer than going down Fence.
  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    But it is flat, and navigation is easy. I am suggesting it is worth looking at.

    t
  10. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    10.7 miles one way though. I haven't been for several years and can't confirm, but MK says that the hike is turning into a bushwhack.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  11. bucky

    bucky

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  12. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I'm not sure flat is better than downhill!
  13. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    Nice trip report, also funny it's posted on splitboard.com/ I am on that site also, but it has been dead the last couple of years....
  14. carol

    carol

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    I have set up a shuttle down the hole in the rock road and floated the Escalante out the lake to hole in the rock A bit of effort hiking up to the car. And we were lucky on the lake. No winds. The log jam at the beginning of the lake was not a big deal for us. Carol
    EvergreenDean and Ram like this.
  15. trackrunner

    trackrunner

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    People are floating the river this season. Here is a news story about SAR on the river. Helicopter spotted the wrong party they were called out for. The family had their boats and oars swept away. They still had plenty of food. SAR likely would have been called when they missed their check in time two or three days away. The original kayaker they were called out for missed the exit point and floated to the lake.

    http://www.ksl.com/?sid=43738980&nid=148

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  16. Ram

    Ram

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  17. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    The family had their boats and oars swept away. They still had plenty of food.

    Couldn't they (or at least one person) just walk out? With the possible exception of after hitting Lake Powell, there aren't any long sections of the Escalante where you can't walk out a side canyon or other route to a road.
  18. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Fair bit of footage from the family which aired on some news channels.

    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/04/04/jay-vonesh-bailey-kayaking-rescue-utah/



    I'd be curious to know the specific location where they were "stranded"...

    Crazy story...they seemed very well provisioned once out of the boats. Had food and shelter and plenty of clothing. They must have had some experience.

    Definitely a trip I'd like to do someday. How to avoid their situation?
  19. bucky

    bucky

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    If that still photo in the youtube video showing trapped packrafts is in fact their trapped boats, then that is almost certainly the "boulder jam mandatory portage" at approx rivermile 64.5. In "normal" spring flow conditions it is a trivial portage, easy to safely eddy out with plenty of comfort margin. In higher flows though apparently it is not trivial. I'll keep my thoughts on the power of prayer vs the power of Search and Rescue (and the power of paddling hard soon enough) to myself - just glad they all got out safe.

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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
    EvergreenDean, Deagol and Erik like this.
  20. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    What geologic feature is nearby and/or how do I find this location on a map? Can you post a map with the area circled?
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