South French Alps Snow Conditions

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thetangoman
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Post by thetangoman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:28 pm

Scumbag_Scout wrote:Nope it's normally where the first stopper is, check my comparison images from last week.
That is higher than I thought then. I assumed that rock on river left was the rock that is usually just upstream of the Rab.

Apologies,

Andy

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Stuart J Woodward
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:24 pm

GREAT NEWS ALL THE RIVERS IN DEPARTMENT HAUTE ALPS IS OPEN AS FROM TOMORROW.

HAVE A GREAT DAY BUT PLEASE PADDLE WITH CARE.

ALL THE BEST.

STUART.
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Post by Fluidskills.com » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:38 am

Great news about the rivers being open , just remember that just because they are open does not mean that they have been cleared!

the lower guisane will need a bull dozer to clear one of the sections so maybe miss this one out for the moment.But the locals will sort it out but there is alot of work for them to catch up with.

the sun is out this morning and i see loads of equipment all out in the sun drying for the Day on the river, Have fun and stay safe

enjoy

Darren

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Post by bankes » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:22 am

The ban has been partially lifted, http://www.hautes-alpes.pref.gouv.fr/ the only section still banned is the Durance below the barrage as presumably they need the freedom to release water to ease the lake levels. So to all intents and purposes you can paddle where you want in the Hautes-Alpes. The ban does say you must inspect rivers before paddling them and this is good advice you would be foolish to ignore. Who knows what has happened to the rivers with all that water coming down. Many rivers have good tracks at the side so its time to saddle up your mountain bike!
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Post by aislingd » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:55 am

Can anyone who has been out paddling this morning or today please let us know what the conditions are like. Is the Guil still completely unrunable? Any word on the Racecourse levels or the Gyr? What 4/ 4+ rivers are running at good/runnable levels? What gorges are good to go? Thanks a million!

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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:07 am

The whole atmosphere at our base changed last night when we had the news that the Perfecture had signed the paper. All the paddles staying with us had a few beers, and there were lots of happy faces. I must say with clients on site and just about used up most of our paddling option I was very happy as well.

Our contacts in the Canoe/Kayak Federation France have signed copies of the lifting of the ban. All the rivers in Department Haute Alps are open (except the section of the Durance below the barrage of Lac Poncon) however; please remember that the Ubaye is in Department Haute Alps Provence and as far as I know the restrictions there still apply? I will have more info on this later today. Many of the professional guides are out on the rivers today taking out trees etc. One of our groups have set off this morning from our base down the Gyronde and then out onto the Durance.

This morning we have a fantastic wall to wall blue sky with a few scattered clouds and a warm sun. Its great that at last we seem to be returning to what is normal for this area.

Have a great on the river, when I have finished my paper work I will be there as well.

All the best but please paddle with lots of care.

Stuart.
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Post by pwilkinson » Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:12 am

Just a quick thanks to some of the leeds uni lot currently out there for giving the slalom site webcam a bit of a wipe. Much clearer for procrastination now!

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Post by Simon Westgarth » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:53 pm

Mr Matt Tidy and I paddled the Durance Gorge section this afternoon. 11 on the gauge at the putin. The style of the run is more like a slow Oetz at that level, with wide lines to avoid the occasional pour over and lateral hole.

Points of interest, are that there are a few changes on the section. A large tree blocks the only significant rapid on the way down the main portage, the portage trail has seen some significant damage, and there has been a reasonable sized landslide at slot and drop, blocking the inspection trail. The rest is nice and simple.

Enjoy

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Post by Fluidskills.com » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:02 pm

We had two great runs on sections of the Guil today using the upper gorge and the middle section of the Guil. great levels and great moves to be had, have fun and safe safe.

cheers
Darren

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Post by adtidd » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:20 pm

aislingd wrote:Can anyone who has been out paddling this morning or today please let us know what the conditions are like. Is the Guil still completely unrunable? Any word on the Racecourse levels or the Gyr? What 4/ 4+ rivers are running at good/runnable levels? What gorges are good to go? Thanks a million!
Mon :
Bachelard
None of our group had paddled this before. Despite the guidebook describing it as a "dirty ditch that only runs for a month a year" we found it to be at a good level, crystal clear and great fun if you are looking for some grade 4 with a little grade 3.

Yesterday :
3 of our group ran Ubaye Racecourse and had a great time.
Levels were high enough to put 3 of us off paddling.
But those that paddled said lines were obvious around some large features.

Today :
Gyronde
Same dark colour as the Ubaye Racecourse.
Good fun but no significant dangers, nor eddies for that matter - looked worse than it actually was.
Weir after gorge section can be run through the middle but we took the less herioc line on extreme right.

Upper Guisane :
Not as high as we had expected - water running clear and freezing cold as always.
One Portage due to strainers.
There were raft guides removing trees downstream of this and it is possible that this had been cleared after we had passed through.
S bends seemed a lot easier than in recent years - not many rocks showing above the water line (although the University Group behind us did manage to have a few swimmers)

Anyone else got any updates so we can decide what to paddle tomorrow - it was almost easier when we had fewer rivers to choose from!

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Post by Simon Westgarth » Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:25 pm

Did the full Middle Guil trip today, good water, a little pushy, but in the most volume Class III+. The staircase has changed considerably, and so too the rapid below on the bend. Most of the major rapids in low water were insignificant, where as the more boulder garden rapids gave us the sport. Some large pourovers and the alike to boof and S turn through, all boat scoutable, if a little busy at times.

We saw no other group on the water, strange as its very excellent right now.

Enjoy

Simon

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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:26 pm

A really great day in the French Alps, blue sky and very warm at times.

The Claree and then the Briancon Gorge.

However our group put on below the barrage just above the Briancon Gorge.

This put in can be accessed from a track/path on river right.

The Gyronde rose some this evening off the days melt. A side stream of the Onde is still washing in lots of silty dark gray water.

Tomorrow there are a number of local rafting assessments on the Gyronde past our base. Be care full as there will be many mobile under cuts moving down the river.

Hope you all had a good day.

Stuart
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:27 pm

After the rain and ban the weather (except Mon/Tues) today has become wall to wall blue and very warm. The forecast is saying this sunny weather is staying like this for the next few days and perhaps for two weeks. The rivers have settled, but on some levels are still quite high. At the moment most rivers and sections of rivers are running on their grades. However there are know lots of rivers and sections of rivers for paddlers of all abilities. We have been out and around on many of the regions rivers, has long as we get the sun happy days.

There are lots of reserve of snow high in the Ecrin Mountains and others as the sun gets warmer, this will find its way into many of the areas rivers. We should have good levels for much of the summer.

Lots of trees on the middle Claree. Today was our first trip on the Claree for a week, as the water has settled there are many trees lodged in the main routes. In some places these trees do need portaging. But the water levels was good and water was very clear.

The section of the Durance from Briancon to Prelles was perfect today for the less able boater. No real tree issues take out 100m above the barrage at Prelles river left.

Tomorrow parts of the Guisane.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart.
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Update

Post by Martyn Read » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:00 pm

Just had an update from some guys out there.

They continue to report some high levels. The play wave at Embrun on the Durance is apparently washed out.

They paddled the Ubaye today and report that Fresquaire was high and had an extremely difficult section of grade 5 in the middle. (they walked this).

Upon getting out they were informed by a local raft guide that kayaking Fresq and the gorge is still banned. I thought the ban had been lifted on all rivers? This may not be the case and with a 1000 euro fine worth checking before you paddle?

Cheers
Martyn

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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:01 am

Martyn Read wrote:Just had an update from some guys out there.

They continue to report some high levels. The play wave at Embrun on the Durance is apparently washed out.

They paddled the Ubaye today and report that Fresquaire was high and had an extremely difficult section of grade 5 in the middle. (they walked this).

Upon getting out they were informed by a local raft guide that kayaking Fresq and the gorge is still banned. I thought the ban had been lifted on all rivers? This may not be the case and with a 1000 euro fine worth checking before you paddle?

Cheers
Martyn

The wave at Embrun is not so much washed out, as we think its not there anymore, because rocks that formed the wave have gone.

As mentioned in many previous postings. The Ubaye is in Department Hautes Alps Provence not Department Hautes Alps. All the restrictions in the Hautes Alps have been removed. But many of the restrictions in Hautes Alps Provence still apply including the Ubaye.

Hopefully we will be able to clarify the situation later today.

All the best.

Stuart.

PS If you are in the Ubaye Vally why not just ask at one of the local Gendame Stations.
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South Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:19 pm

Ubaye. The restrictions still apply to the Ubaye as it is in Department Hautes Alps Provence. The only sections that are open are the Race course section. Also the upper sections from La Condamine to Jausiers. However hopefully by Monday all restrictions will be lifted?

On the lower section of the Gryonde there is a really nasty tree centre flow.
After our Gyronde base there is a small track bridge, the tree is well downstream of this and after a couple of bends. At the moment it is ok to pass river right. But please be care full as this is a very dangerous hazard.

Another fantastic day to day blue sky, a warm and at times a hot sun. River levels came up this afternoon with some strong melt. Expect this to happen again tomorrow with even warmer temps predicted.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:03 pm

Another wall to wall blue sky day. Very warm going into the 32/33c. This hot weather is expected to continue for some time.

We are know getting good late afternoon melt. All rivers are on very good levels, but not crazy as a week or two ago. There is now water for paddlers of most abilities to find. Many rivers are blue /green, except the Onde which is still putting gray silty water into the Gyronde from a landslide.

All sections of the Ubaye are open. There was some confusion the other day at the Race course section when, a raft guide said it was closed. It was closed but only to rafts as it was above the commercial rafting limit.



All the best and be safe.

Stuart
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Post by SarahB » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:32 pm

I believe the Racecourse is now open for rafting, unless it has risen again since thursday (we were the first group to raft it then, and it took a fair bit of persuasion for them to let us raft it).

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Post by Stuart J Woodward » Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:55 am

RIVER GUIL. DANGER REALLY BAD SYPHON IN l'ANGE GARDIAN GORGE.

Because of the recent high flows the river has scored the gravel off the riverbed exposing this old syphon.

The syphon is in the last main rapid before the end of the Gorge.

Description. As you kayak out of the last narrow gorge section, the gorge walls drop back to reveal just steep wooded ground. Normally you would pass down a shoot between two rocks on the right. Stop here take out on the left before this shoot, inspect the next rapid sections. The syphon is in the rapid where you once run left then right over a nice drop into a pool. Ninety percent of the river now flows to the right into a really horrible syphon that also has two trees in it. It would be wise to portage the rapids upstream (which are now much harder) as well as a swimmer will be taken into this syphon.

Paddlers who ran this gorge prior to the Guil flood of the year 2000, will remember this syphon. It is a great shame this has happened as it spoils a great section of this fantastic Gorge.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart.
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:58 am

Yet again another hot day here, blue skies and fluffy clouds.

Water levels on most rivers are know perfect.

One of our groups, with Will King and John Davies are on the Ubaye Race course. The other group with Lowri Davies and Nick Pearce are paddling the Mount Dauphin Gorge and then the Durance to Embrun.

The Guil has dropped, but the Gorge above Chateau-Queyras is still good. The middle sections are very nice. The Durance Gorge is on a very forgiving level pool drop class 3-4 (missing out the portage rapid) Upper and Lower Guisane are both giving great runs. There is still water on the Claree, this means the Briancon Gorge is good.

There has been a great deal of melt off our side of the Ecrin. The Onde has lost its muddy color is much cleaner and maintaining a good level. The Gyr has lots of melt late after noon. The Gyronde is running all day and has been carrying lots of water late afternoon.

The Fournel has dropped as per normal in late June, but it still comes up late afternoon.

The Biaisse has good water but is still for the harder boater. However after the hard stuff there is a lovely class two section down to the barrage. Really worth doing just to be able to paddle in a fantastic high Alpine Valley.

With these high tempretures expect the Romanche and the Veneon to be very high.

We will have a better report on the Ubaye later today.

There may be some thunderstorms this week however: paddlers out here for this week and coming out next week can expect some great boating.

Today I am stuck in the office with paperwork and paying bills. But at least its a great view from the window.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart.
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Post by Slaphappy » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:39 pm

Just returned from two weeks of great alpine paddling, loads of snow still on the higher peaks so level are probably going to be good for a bit.

Loads of rivers have changed slightly making it a whole new experiance so have fun out there and look forward to a new edition from slime.

Thanks to SnD Kayak shop for good coffee, cold beers and assistance after the odd cock up ;-)

Go paddling in the alps even if you have been before, great levels and new rivers!

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Post by Westy » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:15 pm

I would echo that. We were out staying near Embrun last week, mostly a group of intermediate paddlers with a couple of very good paddlers. The Durance was fun; Rabioux seemed quite big with no eddy service but fun to run, Pont Neuf seemed flatter but waves elsewhere, Embrun wave was not there! Had a nice run down the Lower Claree early in the week (but watch out for lots of fallen trees), but it was bump and scrape by the end of the week in many places. Upper Guil was excellent, and did the Briancon Gorge for the first time. The two good paddlers did it earlier in the week and said it was a nice bimble, but the rest of us found it steep and quite challenging in the gorge section itself (although very enjoyable). Is it really only a grade 3 in the gorge itself?!?!

Have fun!

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Post by polarclimb » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:02 am

Hey Stu, im heading out to you guys at the weekend. Whats the forecast for paddling next week? I was out at the end of May when our favourite people closed the rivers so only got three days paddling rather than seven! Hoping for more this time :P Adam

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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:03 pm

polarclimb wrote:Hey Stu, im heading out to you guys at the weekend. Whats the forecast for paddling next week? I was out at the end of May when our favourite people closed the rivers so only got three days paddling rather than seven! Hoping for more this time :P Adam
Last week really nice levels. Start of this week a little rain, this made the temp a little cool so levels dropped. The last few days great weather very hot but with quite cool/fresh nights, this is holding some melt back. However today even hotter clear electric blue skies. If the nights get warmer this will increase and keep the melt going and put some more water into the rivers.

But the Onde is still just runnable and its nearly mid July.
However if you intend to run the Onde be-carefull of a digger working in the river.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart.
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:28 pm

A thunderstorm this past week-end has increased river levels on most rivers. The Durance Gorge is at a very good runnable level. The Gyronde past our campsite was very high last night and the Guisane has risen again. The Guil has good water on it, not high but clean lines,

The forecast is for hot weather for the next few days. This mixed with the warmer nights we are having should keep the melt going.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart
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Post by Stuart J Woodward » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:40 am

At present we are are having very hot sunny days however; the nights and mornings are very cool for this time of year.

Levels have dropped and this is one of the reasons why. The main reason however is the early season rain washed down huge amounts of snow. But at the moment we are still getting good runs on many of the trips we are running.

The Guil is still providing good paddling from Chateau-Queyras to Maison du Roy. The upper sections are know to low however; the Mount Dauphin Gorge is excellent for the progressing intro paddler.

The Race course and the main Gorge on the Ubaye are still offering good boating.

We were in the Durance Gorge two days ago and the run was fun. The last few years we have lost the Durance gorge by mid-late June.

The Romanche and Veneon have certainly good water.

The slalom course at lAgenteire la Bessee still has good water on it. The Durance from there to Embrun is providing a great training ground for developing boaters both in Kayak or Canoe.

This hot weather is due to continue, we just need to have warm nights to keep the high snow and glaciers flowing.

All the best and keep safe.

Stuart.
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Post by aleeivel » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:54 pm

Looks like the conditions must be really good out there, no one has time to update us on the conditions!!! Only 1 week to go and I'll be on my way :-)
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:56 am

aleeivel wrote:Looks like the conditions must be really good out there, no one has time to update us on the conditions!!! Only 1 week to go and I'll be on my way :-)
We have reached the time of the season when we loose water in the French Alps.

The effect of the early season rain is know beginning to show, in particular on the Guil. However rivers running off the Ecrin are at the moment OK.

The Guisane at present is running well not high but a good medium level. The lower section is know much cleaner and providing great Alpine boating.

The Romanche/Veneon are there for the harder boater. The lower sections of Ubaye are still good, in particular the Gorge which has really nice clean lines.

The middle and lower Durance has very good water which is really great for the intro and progressing boater, and fun can still be had on the Fournell steps.

Weather. As been great in the day but still some nights and days being somewhat cool. This does not help to maintain levels.

The Gyr is running well later afternoon and late afternoon runs can be made on the Gyronde past our base.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart
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Post by aleeivel » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:14 am

So nothing left in the Onde even late it the day? :-(
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:32 am

aleeivel wrote:So nothing left in the Onde even late it the day? :-(
The Onde kept going until mid July. Even with good snow the Onde is finished most years by the end of June. If we get a storm it may go again?

All the best.

Stuart.
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