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Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

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Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by riverstud222 on Wed 11 May 2011, 5:12 pm

The International scale of river difficulty is subjective. One person may look at a run and think it's class III, someone else might say class IV. That said, river ratings should be and are pretty standardized and agreed upon across the US and world. As a matter of safety and fun when someone who is comfortable on class IV travels from Idaho to Virginia and someone tells them about a class IV run they should be able to judge whether or not they should go on that run and whether or not it will be exciting for them. They should think that it's class IV. It's up to well traveled paddlers to keep things standardized across state lines.

In my experience and from talking with many other paddlers about runs in Utah the system here is... off.

A few examples come to mind.

The Spanish Fork
http://eddyflower.com/RunDetailstabs.aspx?RunId=1822#/home

is rated III- on eddy flower. The first time I ran it I hooked up with some eddyflower boaters who promised me an exciting run with big waves and surf. What I got was a run that I would have to be feeling VERY generous to rate class II. Coming from Washington and having paddled all over Idaho and several other states when someone tells me Class III- I think of something comparable to the Fall River in Idaho, the Middle middle of the snoqualmie, or some sections of the Skykomish. No one who has run both of these rivers would rate them the same.

Bridal Veil on the Provo
http://eddyflower.com/RunDetailstabs.aspx?RunId=348#/home

Class IV on eddyflower. I'd rate it Class III- to class III at a VERY high level. Class IV is my mind is the Green River gorge in Washington or Boulder drop on the Skykomish. Bridal veil is a fun run but does not compare to those other runs in difficulty at all.

There are a lot of rivers in Utah that I haven't run but this over-rating rivers by 1 to 1-1/2 levels is starting to seem like the standard. Maybe other people can chime in with examples.

I don't bring this up to sound pretentious but because I am genuinely concerned for people from other states who come here and feel gyped on the run they pick, people from here who don't go out and run things that are well-within their skill level because of a scary label, and people from here that go boat other places and find themselves out of their depth.

If people agree with me can we please change the river ratings on Eddy Flower and other sites to better represent the international standard of difficulty?

Thanks for listening

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Vertder Miff on Wed 11 May 2011, 6:24 pm

When I was first starting out, I stayed away from BV longer than necessary because it has the same rating on EddyFlower that the Ogden Narrows has.
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Guest on Wed 11 May 2011, 6:25 pm

I tend to agree. Almost all of this stems from the Nichols book. The ratings in that book were laid out at the end of fiberglass boats/dawn of plastic boats. Different world.

When I originally did the write up on BCC, I had rated it as a class IV. We ran it a couple years later and had a couple guys get injured based on"we're good on this, we run BV all the time". I think the rating was correct, but not here, and not by comparison.

Not sure how to get the changes made though.

All of the EF stuff is done by individuals. The current owners have no ties to anyone. I added some info to the BCC run and it completely deleted the description.

Nichols book will probably never be reprinted.

The Southwest Rockies book will probably be re run, but it is not at all encompassing of Utah.

Need some writer/paddler type to step up and put together a new guide.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by unattendedboat on Wed 11 May 2011, 6:42 pm

WELCOME TO UTAH!!! everyone already knows that we over rate things!
Everybody here likes to rate on pure consequence rather than water. or more like if you swam in BV you would feel like your legs are getting beat up in a 4 than a three minus...

this is just from what i see in my opinion.

OR maybe everyone else is rating too low in the nation :-)


Last edited by unattendedboat on Wed 11 May 2011, 6:48 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : your mom)
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Cap'n RedBeard on Wed 11 May 2011, 7:10 pm

Some of what your asking has been discussed before.
http://www.eddyflower.com/Forum.aspx?postid=17657&ForumId=2#/home

To be taken with a grain of salt
Spoiler:
But as far as ratings go, if you see a line go for it. Personally I don't care for them, on rocks or rivers. I enjoy rivers from the Spanish Fork class LXIX gnar! To running BV everyday. Same goes for rocks, I dont care if i climb 30 v0s in a day or a few v-double digis. Why do people care so much for classification? People should boat because they enjoy rivers and forget about "its not gnar so i wont do it."

Lets make a new rating system. This is for personal use, as your boating should be. Take the first letter of your first and last name and add 1, 2, 3, or 4 to the end of it. 1 stands for easy, i can do this backwards. 2 stands for, lil puckering but felt comfy. 3 being woah, gripped but i can still do it. 4 being "No way not for me".

Example
JR-1 BV 100-1500cfs
JR-2 O-town Narrows, Black Canyon of the Bear at 700cfs
JR-3 Satans Staircase at 1200cfs, BC of the B at 1400 cfs
JR-4 North Fork of Payette, Stikine

The ratings will be ever changing. Two years ago there were alot more JR-4s then there are now.


Last edited by Cap'n RedBeard on Thu 12 May 2011, 6:59 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by brightonb on Wed 11 May 2011, 8:10 pm

You re-opened a can of worms, and the worms might get unruly. Many runs here were rated by old school standards or more recently by more inexperienced boaters. The Spanish Fork rating is silly. The Moab Daily is rated higher than Westwater. There are others. BV is a little trickier. It's been discussed for the 25 years I've boated. It's a class three run. At higher water, when wood is almost always stacked up at the bottom of BV rapid (center/right), things change. For those of us that are that are used to class IV, moving left is simple. For a class III boater, the move has a class IV quality (my opinion). There's a smattering of F/U rocks in there. If that move was higher up in the rapid, I think there would be more agreement. We often forget what it's like to be a class III boater once running class IV and V becomes the objective.


Last edited by brightonb on Thu 26 May 2011, 2:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Jeff Young on Wed 11 May 2011, 9:05 pm

Ratings are over rated. If you are simply using someone elses rating to initially decide if you are capable of paddling a new river then you have a lot to learn. I talk to people I trust, look at pics and vids if available and scout when I can.

Our ratings in UT are overstated but look at the majority of paddlers,...and the open source flavor a run desc takes on once you publish it. Ref SF, and my III- rating on the EF desc I authored, there are certain flow windows where two good size holes form in the narrow (but short) channel that can "swamp an open canoe" per the official rating system that is then followed by a slighty ouchy swim. There was an almost riverwide permi-sweeper in there too. I did not feel comfortable putting a class II on it and having someone search it out online
and just go run it with those things in mind.

Welcome to Utah....
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by afaust on Wed 11 May 2011, 9:35 pm

http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:internation_scale_of_river_difficulty

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by LarryS on Wed 11 May 2011, 9:44 pm

Ratings are very flow dependent. A river might be a III- at one level and a IV at another. Also, a lot of people will raise the rating 1/2 level for high consequences. The end result is you need to look at a river yourself and make up your own mind.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by LarryS on Wed 11 May 2011, 10:33 pm

American Whitewater defined the scale that most people in North America use. They also have a set of rated rapids for people to use for comparison purposes. Check out:
http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:internation_scale_of_river_difficulty

I agree with the ratings they have of the rapids I know about except the rapids on Alpine Canyon on the Snake and Skull Rapid in Westwater. They rated them higher than I would have. I'm guessing the people who set up these ratings aren't used to big water. I also tend to agree with most of the ratings of the Utah rivers at certain flows.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by brianteats on Wed 11 May 2011, 11:59 pm

I second, or third, or whatever, the 'subjective' comments. BV a class IV? maybe Class III+. Is Rainbow Gardens a Class III+? More like III-, but the consequenses for a swim could be IV. Same goes with 6th water- Unborn Soul, (III- moves, IV+ consequences) Point is, Eddyflower sucks. I suppose people(including myself) made run descriptions with the mindset of, "What class is this if someone swam?" Is Spanish fork a bad swim? I've heard it is. I've also heard of people down-rating runs the better they get. Flows are a big part of it too, I suppose you'd have to run a described section all low, optimal, and high water before you have a clear understanding of what it rates.

I still consider myself a new paddler going into my fourth season but this is what I've learned over the last four years:
No rapids: Class I
Ripples and easy-punch waves: Class II
Highly suggested moves: Class III
Must make moves: Class IV
Expert only: Class V
Make sure you have a will: Class VI
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Jeff Young on Thu 12 May 2011, 12:09 am

Buddy of mine came up with this system. I like it.

I have a three rating system.



#1. "No problem"

#2. "Dang... wish me luck"

#3. "I hope no one see's me quickly sneaking down the portage trail."

Other than that, everyone is just arguing about what a lemon tastes like. Go boat.
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Is it class 1+ or 2-?

Post by Guest on Thu 12 May 2011, 7:17 pm

That's the dilemma I face every time I get in my boat. I tend to like to think it's 2- unless the water is heading upstream.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Flying_Spaghetti_Monster on Thu 12 May 2011, 11:00 pm

Utah does tend to overrate runs that is a given. I would like to touch on Brian's point of down grading runs the better you get. I find myself down-rating runs based on my skill level. I am also cautious about over rating so I tend to under rate which has worse consquences that over rating. I would say many runs at the flow they are normally ran are over rated. Ogden Narrows for instance I would say it is 3+ at flows from 300cfs to 450 or so cfs, but there are solid boaters that have been beaten down in there at lower flows, and swims would feel like Class IV. Then in the rare case like this year. Flows over 700 to 900 seem to be Class IV upright, IV+ upside down, and Class V if you are swimming.
Ratings should and are in most cases based on a standard, but there is some flukes in the systems. Like how a run can be Class V+ then when it floods it is said to be two magnitudes harder. So what is it then? Example North Fork of the Payette ( A run that I am obsessed with, but have not ran at prime flows.)
This is how I rate rivers.

Class I : Flat, easy, and boring Smile
Class II: Slowly moving, or play wave could be fun, a waste of time, or a blast to squirt boat in hand paddles.
Class III: Starting to get fun, but still can be easily hand paddled. Fun to chat with friends through out the run no matter how much they get tired of hearing your southern accent (Example: Bridal Vail)
Class IV: Class Fun, have fun, but be safe because things can go wrong.
Class V: Planning a route is based on where I can swim to if something goes wrong. Taking shots to the helmet, and wanting to get a breath out weigh my fear of flush drowning or being dragged across sharp rocks.
Class VI: I will look at it pretend I see a line, but will not run it because I would rather do it in a Remix.
The last one was a joke, but the point is that many people look at rivers differently. What is fun for one is boring for another, and what is fun for one is scary for another. Of coarse this is okay because people should have fun, and not worry about class ratings. Take Larry's advice look at it first, and what Jeff said talk to people you can trust. If a friend says Class IV, and it is Class III don't listen to them in the future or better yet try to understand why they felt that way.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Jeff Young on Thu 12 May 2011, 11:05 pm

I'd rather be upset if someone says class 3 and it's really class 4 not the other way around.
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Compton Boater on Sat 14 May 2011, 4:20 pm

Everyone in Utgah is just so used to no water in the rivers. Now that we seen them with their real flow, they are rgiht on. Eggs and Narrows have been juicy class 5 on eggs and epic class 4-4+ on the Narrows. The ratings are'nt missing, the water is. It sure has'nt been hard to find parking at either of these runs all month, guess their overated.

All I know for sure is it epic out there. Narrows at perfect flows for 2 months, eggs huge and riverdale prime. I'm sure johnny & the elders are feeling it on bv. Castle dale and the swell are about to happen. Narrows was epic real deal every state n the union class 4 this morning. Fuck yeah.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Cap'n RedBeard on Fri 20 May 2011, 3:19 pm

RiverStud/Kyle, you started this... Do you have nothing to say about what has been said?

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by riverstud222 on Tue 24 May 2011, 3:49 am

Yah cap'n redbeard, sorry it took me so long to get back to this. If I could sum up what I think other people have said it's that we agree that rivers are over-rated in Utah. Other people commented on the subjective nature of ratings in general but didn't disagree. Only one person thought that the ratings were correct but only at the present once every 20 years flows.

This is all very informal and as a non Utah native I feel a little sheepish trying to head up a movement to change some river ratings without wider community approval. What other rivers do you all think are rated incorrectly and maybe we can get a poll going or something.

So if do we agree that the ratings aren't what they should be the answer is pretty simple. We should call them what they are and the first step is to get the ratings changed on the websites we use like eddyflower. Does anyone know how to get river descriptions changed on there?

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Guest on Tue 24 May 2011, 8:52 am

riverstud222 wrote: Does anyone know how to get river descriptions changed on there?
Don't think it can be done, but good luck!


Last edited by c-dub on Tue 24 May 2011, 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : poor writing skills.)

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by brianteats on Tue 24 May 2011, 10:47 am

You could try contacting the original author of the run, they have full power over the discriptions. Unfortunately, some don't list the author(including BV), or they won't reply to messages.
More specifically(and I hope I'm not being to privacy-invasive, here) on EF- if you see an author name, search for it in the forums section and you may find an e-mail, or something, on their profile page.
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Guest on Tue 24 May 2011, 5:49 pm

At Brian, the last editing I did deleted the entire run description when I hit save. Hopefully this has changed(notice no BCC park and ride description any longer).

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Vertder Miff on Tue 24 May 2011, 5:57 pm

c-dub wrote:At Brian, the last editing I did deleted the entire run description when I hit save. Hopefully this has changed(notice no BCC park and ride description any longer).

Actually, it looks like it's still there:

http://www.eddyflower.com/RunDetailstabs.aspx?RunId=457#/home
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Guest on Tue 24 May 2011, 6:09 pm

Weird. It disappeared for a while.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Vertder Miff on Tue 24 May 2011, 6:13 pm

One suggestion, though: I think you could've done a better job of demarcating both cruxes.
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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

Post by Guest on Tue 24 May 2011, 6:19 pm

Actually was more embarrassed by the use of the wrong their, but am afraid to touch it again to fix it. When I do get in there I will adjust it so that both cruxes are fairly represented. I heard there is also a limbo crux down stream just above Hog's wallow currently.

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Re: Can we have an open discussion about river ratings in Utah?

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