The Perfect Runoff - 2011

Pineview Falls at a nice juicy flow

“47 foot snow drift reported by crew clearing Longdraw Road! We've requested pictures...”

Quadruple overhead. “That’s a damn BIG wall of snow isn’t it? It’s the end of May right?”

Summertime on Cameron Pass - photo Frenchy

Near the top of Cameron Pass the snow wasn’t just still double overhead, it had just been added to. Things were shaping up to be epic. The snow water equivalent (snowpack reading) was 209% of normal. Snow was still falling deep into May and there was already more snow than had ever before been recorded in the Poudre drainage. The talk was of how big and how soon. Six foot, seven foot, eight foot flood! Daylight come and me want a big flood.

Spencer Heights at a nice flow - photo Frenchy

If things got hot quickly the sand bags were gonna have to come out and some people were going to need to be evacuated. Which is kind of what we were hoping for. Nothing malicious but a fresh seven foot mark was painted on the old Pineview Gauge rock and everyone was grabbing their nuts in anticipation.

Louis Geltman in Super Collider with some juice! Narrows - photo Marty Bell

Austin Woody Rocket Launching - photo Frenchy

ES crossing in Cyclotron, Spencer Heights - photo Frenchy

Marty, ES and Austin in Boneyard, Spencer Heights - photo Frenchy

Marty Bell crushing Boneyard - photo Frenchy

And then it just stayed cold up high. The snow started to melt but not in one great flood. The dark roast coffee colored waters slowly, patiently, rose to meet the high water marks on the banks. The boating went from good to great, the fun rock was covered and EVERYTHING was in by June 2nd when the Poudre crossed the magical 3.75 mark. On June 5th it was 4.5 ft. On June 6th it was 4.9 ft and it didn’t fall below the 4.5 mark until July 20th!

Austin Woody styling it up on a Big Wave below Three Way

Spencer Mauk in the same high water only wave

ES rolling into Pineview Falls with the gauge rock visible in the background - photo Spencer Mauk

Austin Woody punching the big wave hole in Pineview - photo Spencer Mauk

Austin and ES finishing out Pineview - photo Spencer Mauk

Over six weeks of high water paddling on the Poudre. You just can’t beat that. Many years the Poudre barely crosses the 4 foot mark before descending back into the mediocrity of flows in the 3 foot range. The river never truly got out of control but it was high for sooooo long. It peaked on July 1st overnight at around 6 feet. Instead of an ultra high peak the river hung out in the 5 foot range for over a month! I would trade a few days of off the charts flooding for a month of high water any year, and 2011 was the year we got it. The perfect run-off.

Cutch on an early morning Fantasy Flight during a Poudre Source to Canyon Mouth run

Cutch sliding into a very soft Pin Cushion, Big South

ES nailing the Elevator Boof in Cyclotron, Spencer Heights - photo Frenchy

Cheers to another great season on your home river and go ahead, pray for the perfect runoff, because it’s out there, and if you believe, it might just visit you one year.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

About Us

We're a group of whitewater kayak, raft, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts committed to stocking the highest-quality gear and deliver it to you as quickly as possible.

Learn more about us

Don't Forget About These

What else are we up to?

View all
Down and Dirty: 9 Items You Need for Your Dry Suit Repair Kit

Down and Dirty: 9 Items You Need for Your Dry Suit Repair Kit

GearJonny Ortiz
Whitewater dry wear is the largest apparel investment any boater can make. For those who want to extend the life and use of their dry suit (or dry top), it's best to keep a dry suit repair kit on hand. Read our 9 recommendations for the best dry suit repair kit!
Whitewater Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Whitewater Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Jonny Ortiz
Choosing the right paddle for whitewater kayaking can be daunting with all the available paddle options to consider. We are here to help! ...
All Aboard the Love Boat!

All Aboard the Love Boat!

Benjamin Thornton

Have you ever had a tough time convincing your family that your black eye isn't that big of a deal? Or spent an hour explaining to your Tinder date the difference between "homeless" and "houseless," just so they would understand why you brought them back to a tent in the woods? 

If you answered yes to either of these things, hopefully this blog can help avoid some of those awkward conversations!