If you guys haven't run this section before, you'll want to aim for a river level closer to 10' - 10.5'. That should be the upper limit for you if you haven't floated it before. I actually had to work my way up to that. I started floating the Sandy closer to 9' and I've only floated as high as 10.9'. I don't think I'll go much higher than that any time soon, but then again, I run the Sandy in an IK, so your mileage may vary.
If it doesn't start raining a bunch, which it looks like it won't this week, the water level should be just right.
The Pipeline (class III to III+) will be churning pretty good, and at this water level, most of the other notable rapids I would consider to be II+, at least. There is a nice hydraulic at the top of Blue Hole that every once in a while likes to churn me up and spit me out when the river is above 10.5', but I run it in an IK, so a toon will be a little easier I think. It's not that bad to avoid, either. You can usually steer clear to the right.
And remember, that water is collllllddddddddd, no matter what the temperature is outside. About 40 degrees or so lately. Dress warm and dry! This isn't a river to take lightly. It really is important that you float it with someone with experience for the first time. It's all too easy to get into trouble on this river. I hope I'm not coming OFF too preachy or sounding all "doom-and-gloom", but I just dread hearing people getting into trouble on the Sandy, which sadly happens every single year once it starts warming up.
I've seen a handful of people floating this section in the past 2 months, but haven't actually talked to anyone first-hand to ask about any new strainers since the flooding. Make sure to take your time and scout the rapids, and of course, avoid any strainers like the plague.
And if you can do all that, what the heck, have some fun! :lol:
thanks gordo. i appreciate the good advice.
don't suppose you know anyone who's planning to run it this weekend do ya? i'm thinkin sunday would be nice. i've seen a few yaks run threw the upper part of ox and a few toons that were surprisingly enough closer to 10-12ft that must have come threw from dodge but so far no one here has come forward that would be willing to make the run with me. i'm running a 14ft cat w/22in tubes so i'm pretty sure she'll handle it ok but its all about the rakers like you said.
and i don't want to bust an obvious left just to find out it's a death trap and i shoulda taken the not so obvious right.
if i can't find someone to run it then i'll have to go run barton-carver instead and while that won't exactly suck. meh...
i've been wanting to make this run for about 5yrs now so it'd kinda be cool to finally do it.
there's gotta be someone out there that's going down on suday...