Rafters gearing up for what could be an ‘epic’ rafting season

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From the Aspen Daily News (Dorothy M. Atkins):

The cold temperatures and large amounts of precipitation that have been plaguing Aspenites through the off-season have assured many rafters that the Roaring Fork River will have plenty of snowpack to pull from to maintain river flow well into the summer…

The Fork is fueled by snowmelt from snowpack located up Independence Pass. The gauging station located on Independence Pass is reporting 21.6 inches, — 159 percent of average snowpack — according to the Roaring Fork Conservancy…

This year with more snowpack and colder temperatures, the hope is that the Fork will remain navigable through August…

“I hate to say I have any expectations, because who knows what will happen,” said raft guide Casey Vandenbroek. “I would be so stoked to be on Slaughterhouse until mid August, and I feel like we have enough snow if we just get a nice steady melt.”

A nice steady melt is what everyone is hoping for this year.

From The Greeley Tribune (Dan England):

This season, boaters expect water levels may even surpass that 1983 record of just under 6,000 cubic feet per second. Those are water levels that bring elation from experienced boaters, concern from law enforcement and rescue personnel and a mix of the two from rafting companies…

The only thing for certain is the water should be higher than it’s been in years, and it will probably be a few weeks before boaters really see it. Even if it does warm up in a hurry, said Bell, a kayaker and atmospheric scientist, it takes a while to start the melt with such a deep snowpack, which could mean a peak later in June.

More whitewater coverage here.

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