Parunaweap Safety - River Levels?
- Here is an exchange with a ZAC customer that some people might be interested in:
The information we usually provide for Parunaweap is in the context of the 3/8 mile traverse from the end of Misery Canyon to the Powell Plaque exit, for canyoneers. I understand the Powell Plaque exit is easier to see and easier to land on than in previous years. Canyoneers would be wearing wetsuits or drysuits, and helmets, and would likely swim this with some trepidation but not very much difficulty.
As a backpacker, hiking the Barracks is an entirely different matter. The canyon is half the size in the East Fork, so yes, the numbers as you lay out are a reasonable evaluation. At 100 cfs it may just be possible to stand in the stream, but very difficult to make progress without swimming. Packraft??
Hiking The Barracks, you would be in the water for several hours at a time. It would be a technical canyoneering adventure.
However, once this spell of rain finally stops, the East Fork should come down rather quickly. The area feeding the East Fork is not as high as nor as big as the area feeding the North Fork. You can visit Mt Carmel Junction and see and walk in the river there, and then decide if the hike would be something you want to do.
> I will forward this to Tom. There were a few people who did Fat Man's Misery recently which exits out into the East Fork. They both blew their dry bags up in their packs and floated part of the river. I don't think it was ideal for hiking at 100 cfs. This is all based out of assumption of the meaning from the information I have gotten. Physically it is possible to hike in the Narrows at 180cfs even though it is closed. It would be quite challenging but if that is the case I imagine you could hike the East fork at 90.
> We'll see what Tom says.
> Zion Adventure Company
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> On May 18, 2011, at 11:25 AM, GW wrote:
>> This message is for Tom Jones or another knowledgeable member of ZAC staff:
>> Hi Tom,
>> I've been combing through various forums and websites looking for info on safe water levels for the East Fork. Three of us are planning a hike from Mt. Carmel Junction down the East Fork through the Barracks and out the Checkerboard Mesa exit to Rt. 9, from June 3rd - June 6th (we are the ones with the custom ZAC shuttle reserved for the 3rd). The planned hike is similar to the one described on Joe Braun's site.
>> I came across one of your posts on the Yahoo Zion_National_Park_Hiking
>> group from 2009:
>> "It is most likely that the Narrows will be melted out by the end of May, so I would plan on it. The water will be relatively high and
>> cold, so be prepared. Water levels: 60cfs and below: EZ. 60-100:
>> challenging. 100-130: difficult. Above 130 cfs: Park does not
>> issue through-hiking permits. I would expect it to be around 100.
>> Parunaweap (East Fork) is a smaller canyon than the Narrows (North
>> Fork). I would halve the numbers above, but the distance is quite a
>> bit shorter, so a more difficult level is easier to manage."
>> When you say you would halve your Narrows numbers for Parunuweap, do you mean:
>> < 30 cfs EZ
>> 30-50 challenging
>> 50-65 difficult
>> > 65 don't do it?
>> Right now (May 18th) the East Fork USGS water gauge is at 110 cfs. How far does it need to come down before we can consider it safe to backpack? There's such a wide range of numbers floating around out on the web that it's not at all clear.
>> The three of us are experienced backpackers, but have no experience
>> canyoneering. Thanks for your time,
>> Columbia, MD