grand canyon whitewater

Feb 21st, 2002, 08:59 AM
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grand canyon whitewater

I'm thinking about doing a grand canyon whitewater trip--I assume it would be less dangerous later in the season. Has anyone done this? How dangerous woud it be? (I note it is designated a "5" --the most dangerous)--any providers you would recommend?
Feb 21st, 2002, 09:07 AM
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The colorado's flow is regulated by dam releases. The rainy season is July and August which can push the level up. You'll need to book months in advance for any level of raft trip. Good luck.
Feb 21st, 2002, 09:10 AM
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I haven't been whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon, but I have been in Maine. The first time I went on a river with class 3 and 4 rapids. The last (and the last time I'll ever go) time I went on a river with class 4 and 5 rapids. I enjoyed it alot until I "swam". I was very nervous the first time and I did some research. VERY few people get seriously injured or die. Most of the cases are heart attacks or people not following rules. Just make sure that you have a knowledgable guide. The last time I went, I got flipped out of the raft in a Class 5 rapid "Terminator". Not good. The rapids sucked me under the water (even though I had a life jacket on) for over 30 seconds and kept swirling me around underneath so I was disoriented. I got thrown into a rock and got sucked under again. Though I was choking for about an hour after that, I only had a couple of scrapes and bruises. It was very scary for me (even though I have fallen out before) and I don't think I'll do that again. It was great fun up until then. I just had a bad experience. Most of my friends go all the time and can't wait until the next trip.
Have fun!
Feb 21st, 2002, 12:56 PM
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I agree with Arnie. I've rafted class 5's many times. Just follow the guide's direction and be prepared to paddle. Have a great time.
Feb 21st, 2002, 01:25 PM
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I have floated the Grand Canyon using various craft (inflatable kayak, oar boat, paddle boat, motor raft). As noted, the water flow is less dependent on season than it is on beauraucratic decisions about how much water to release through Glen Canyon Dam. Also, as noted, you will need to reserve a place many months in advance, preferably a year. The number of river-running permits is restricted to prevent over-use. River runners on the Colorado use a completely different classification scheme (ratings from 1 - 10) than the standard Roman numerals that you see on most whitewater. While some rapids are indeed very large, if you run them with an experienced river guide in a big raft, then you are going to feel (and actually be) very safe. Large raft upsets are extremely rare, and among the top outfitters almost nonexistent. I felt much less safe hiking some of the nasty little trails in the lower Canyon than I did out on the River. I have to say that our two trips down the Grand Canyon stand out as highlights in our outdoor/travel experiences, and should not be missed (assuming you can afford it!). If you want to be very safe, go on one of the giant motorized rafts. You will be high above the water, the huge flexible pontoons can flex through almost anything, and the motor lets them power through trouble. A full-canyon trip takes about a week, and you can cut that time in half by doing only half the canyon (requires that you hike in/out from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch). An oar boat will take twice as long (2 weeks total, 1 week for upper or lower halves), but in my opinion, the experience is greatly enhanced by the lack of a droning outboard motor. Here is an excellent Web site, "The Unofficial Guide to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon" ( Here is a Web site listing all commercial outfitters licensed to run Grand Canyon trips (
Finally, I would highly recommend Canyon Explorations as a wonderful company. They run 'hybrid' trips, which include oar boats, paddle boats, and inflatable kayaks, so you can try different modes of transport on the same trip. I can also recommend Grand Canyon Expeditions for a great motorized raft trip.

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