South French Alps Snow Conditions

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Stuart J Woodward
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:09 pm

We await confirmation but it would seem that some rivers in the Haute Alps will be open tomorrow.

However for the moment these are only the Durance and Drac.
Many of the other rivers are being checked for debris left after the incredible high water this region received last week.

We hope that many more rivers will be open by the weekend.

Every year the classic runs, that are rafted, are cleared of trees/debris etc by the rafting companies before the season starts. This as yet has not been possible. A lot of debris is still going to be in or on the banks of many of the regions rivers. Please be very care full and if possible get local advice.

We are having a period of mixed but warm sunny days. But we have returned to colder nights and mornings. At around 2000m snow has been re-frozen thus helping to lower river levels further. Fine weather is expected to continue. However please do not think that levels are like the last few years. These river may have lost some two metes + but are still running at the high snow melt level, that I have been predicting all this year. At the moment the sun is still somewhat weak, also the rain has brought down lots of low snow. However it really is quite difficult to anticipate what will happen over the next couple of weeks if we get some very hot sun?

Will give more information as soon as I receive it.

All the best.

Stuart.
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Janson
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Post by Janson » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:33 am

we are in the massif central at the moment and all the rivers are huge following a big rainfall. The Allier at Langeac is running at 140000+ cumecs, and all the wiers in the region are pretty deadly with some glissiers totally underwater. the river is massive, fast and brown, running through the trees. The local raft co reckon that it may be safe to paddle by Sat. It is dropping slowly. Photos to follow if I can get wifi. We are not boating, mainly due to the wiers, stay safe.

Sam

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Stuart J Woodward
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:00 pm

Today there was a meeting between the local Perfecture and the Rafting/White Water Activitiy Providers for the Haute Alps.

Only some very short sections of the rivers have been opened.

These are the Durance only from St. Clement to Embrun.

The Lower section of the Drac only from St. Bonnet to La
Guinguetette.

I have no info on the L'Agenteire Slalom course?

There will be another meeting tomorrow to review river conditions.

Lots of rivers have a great deal of debris. We have to hope this mixed weather continues for the next few days. Small amounts of rain and a weak sun.

All the best.

Stuart
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Post by Fluidskills.com » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:14 pm

As of 4pm French time the following is now allowed in the French Alps in the 05 department.this information is from an official source.

1, The Durance - free for watersports the slalom race course in l`argentiere la besse, but only the slalom course!!
2. The Durance - free for watersports the section from St. Clement just up to Embrun, including the Rabioux.
3. The Drac - free for watersports the section from St. Bonnet just up to La
Guinguetette.

Please keep safe on these rivers as the other rivers and section are still full of trees and would be very unsafe untill the rivers have been cleaned and opened. For more information contact SND-KAYAK-SHOP 0033 687118549.

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Post by bankes » Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:49 pm

For those who read French the officula document

http://www.hautes-alpes.pref.gouv.fr/08 ... iction.pdf

If you want the official update keep looking here
http://www.hautes-alpes.pref.gouv.fr/
Mark Bankes

Accommodation and multi activities for paddlers in the French Alps
www.hautes-alpes.biz or www.alpineplayground.com

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Post by Johnsonthenet » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:30 pm

Hello Everyone.

Thanks Stuart, fluidskills and mark for the info.

I have a group of intrepid friends who boldly set forth to the Massif Central for some gentle paddling with more sun and less midges.

They are, as you will probably sympathise, not having much luck in finding the said paddling conditions.

This is essentially a begging call for recomendations of any paddleable gd 2-3 rivers/artificial courses/ditches or playspots that are within reach of the Alliers area.

Thanks in advance (and for highjackin the thread.)
John

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Post by Little Joe » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:41 pm

The Isere Slalom Site at Bourg St Maurice...dam released so you could phone them and find out about levels before driving that way...we stopped there last week on the way home, levels were to high but may/should have dropped by now! Great camping facilities and a lovely area if nothing where you are now.

Hope this helps,

Joe

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Post by Ed Lefley » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:59 pm

St Pierre De Bouefnear Lyon? Bit more here

Might be a bit far, but it's just off of the Autoroute de Soleil.

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Post by cathalferris » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:16 pm

Take care on the slalom site on the Isere in Bourg-st-Maurice.

Last year I was speaking with a local paddler from the area who won't let his kids paddle on the course unless there is rescue on every point on the course.

Apparently when the original Olympic course got damaged in floods not long after its original construction, the rebuilt portions of the course had 'pressure relieving' features built into the promontories that make up the eddy creators. These features are holes through the bank and act as little siphons and can fit a limb or possibly a head into them and are something that you really don't want to be swimming near in a decent flow.

Having had a really bad swim on this course at 45cumec on the gauge on the national section I'd suggest against using this area as a training area. The run downriver from the end of the slalom course to the gravel lake is really nice, and the Aime rapids are a good run in most water. Not much else in the valley for beginners other than the sections of Isere below the slalom course.

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Stuart J Woodward
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:30 pm

The news on the street is that most the rivers in French Haute Alps could be open on Monday/Tuesday.

Over this week-end a big river inspection will be carried out, as long as this is positive and the predicted improvement in the weather comes through the ban will hopefully be lifted?

The French Canoe/Kayak Federation have been pushing hard to get the ban lifted all week.

This information has come from the top end local guides who are members and trainers for the French Canoe/Kayak Federation.

A good sign is most rivers flowing off the Ecrin are dropping, however the Guil is holding a very high level. I have no report on the Ubaye, one thing to note is the Ubaye is in Haute Provence not Haute Alps and may not be opened, even if we get the ok on the other rivers.. The only river I know is open in Haute Provence is the Var.

Lets hope for clear skies and warm sunshine.

All the best.

Stuart.
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Stuart J Woodward
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:33 pm

Great news most of the rivers in Haute Provence are open.

Var, Verdon, Vesubie, Esteron, Bachelard and sections of the Ubaye.

Ubaye sections are open this week-end La Condamine to Jausiers (upper), Le Martinet to Le Lauzet (Race Course)

Haute Alps. On Monday we will have news if more rivers in the Haute Alps will be open however; the outlook is very positive.

All the best.

Stuart.
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scampi
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Post by scampi » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:05 pm

We got back on Monday after a very depressing week. Still I guess our week was not as depressing as those whose businesses / lives have been affected.

We decamped during our time to Isle de la serre (I think that is what it was called). It is a fantastic little slalom course in Sault Brenaz slightly north east of Lyon. There is camping on site with good showers and a man made slalom course that kept us all happy despite our self pity and general state of fed-up ness.

Well worth a look.

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Post by scampi » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:07 pm

Their website address is

http://www.espaceeauvive.fr/news-actual ... nement.htm

Hope this helps.

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Post by pwilkinson » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:15 pm

Got a call from a friend at argentiere this morning who was after some more detailed weather forecasts. He said at the moment it's raining hard. The current weather forecast is rain until about thursday too, across most of central europe.

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Stuart J Woodward
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:50 pm

Raining this morning. Over lunch the sun came out for around 2 hours.

However light rain at the moment with the sun trying to break through. It looks better down the Valley toward Embrun.

The Gyronde rose a very little with the night and mornings rain.

Just hope the whole ban is lifted tomorrow.

All the best.

Stuart.
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:20 pm

After lunch drove up the Onde, to check out levels etc. The Onde does seem to have cleaned itself out.

Both the Onde and Gyr were Ok levels not high or low. Then the clouds parted, the sun came out revealing the fantastic snow clad mountain at the head of the valley.

Back the the slalom site at L'Agentiere the water had risen very slightly, after last nights and this mornings rain. However most of the rivers running off the Ecrin mountains continue to drop. Even the Romanche has gone from dark slate gray to blue gray.

All this afternoon in the Durance catchment we have been bathed in very warm (at time hot) sunshine. We continue to soak up the sun this evening.

Despite some forecasts, the over all weather picture for this week is one of improvement?

Hopefully the powers to be will lift the ban tomorrow. I really cannot see they can keep all the rivers closed (in Haute Alps) any longer.

All the best.

Stuart.
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French River Updates

Post by tomas » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:06 pm

Hi Stuart
Just a word of thanks for the regular updates you have been posting, I am in a group travelling over from Ireland this coming Thursday. Your information has been great in helping us make a decision on our travel plans.
Thanks again, hope buisness is good this year.
Tom

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Post by Fluidskills.com » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:57 pm

After loads of word on the street about things changing about the Ban.The area has decided to have the ban stay in place for tonight!

the outcome from todays meeting will be announced between 8am - 9am on Tuesday 10th June.

I am sure updates will flow as we have more to give.

regards
Darren Joy

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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 8:51 am

Bad news there will not be any change to river access today.

The local Pefecture will not sign the peice of paper to open the rest of the rivers.

All the local Guides and rafting companies are looking to organise a big demonstration in Gap.

I will post any more news as we get it.

We are all very fed up with the situation, but please do not make it worse by paddling any closed rivers.

Hopefully it will be resolved at the end of today.

All the best and be safe.

Stuart
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Post by Unstabler » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:41 am

Thats what I love about the French. There has to be a good protest before anything gets done.

Thanks for all the updates.
Paul (Un)Stabler

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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:28 am

At the moment no more river access but at least the sun has come out.

The weather in the Durance area at present is fantastic, a blue sky fluffy clouds and a warm sun, lets be grateful for that. The forecast for the next few days is mixed sun and showers, some storms? Then full on sun by Friday.

To take advantage of this, lets just hope that the Prefecture in Gap is receiving so much stick, that he will see sense later today.

If the ban does lift soon (hopefully tomorrow), the only two sections of river in the Durance catchment that could remain closed for awhile is the middle Guil and Lower Guisane.

The Guil at present is very high. It has in fact risen in the last couple of days, one of the reasons for this is, that very high in the valley it has just received a large amount of late snow.

On the Lower Guisane they are still working to clear the river of debris.

All the best.

Stuart.
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Post by Simon Westgarth » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:18 am

This situation on the whole, especially in the early days of very high floods, was a wise move given that the French Alps is such a magnet for intermediate paddlers. However since the levels have considerably abated, the lack or very little movement of the Department Prefecture is very worrying. What does this all mean for future large runoff events in Haute Alpes. With the future threat of high water, will the Prefecture simply close the rivers?

There is high water at present, yet its all reasonable to run.

For the one the spot update keep an eye on Haute Alpes Prefecture with updates in the "CRUES DU MOIS DE MAI DANS LES HAUTES-ALPES" column

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Post by newstylerocka » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:11 pm

Im gutted about the levels of the Guil and the Lower Guisane,

The Gardian Angel Gorge and Lower Guisane are my best rivers out there, we arrive in the alps on Saturday and our first paddling day will be Sunday staying till the following Saturday.

Do you think we might get at least one run down each towards the end of the week?

Dale

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Post by Simon Westgarth » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:23 pm

newstylerocka wrote:The Gardian Angel Gorge and Lower Guisane are my best rivers out there, we arrive in the alps on Saturday and our first paddling day will be Sunday staying till the following Saturday.

Do you think we might get at least one run down each towards the end of the week?
It is highly likely that the rivers will be open by this weekend, however we are hoping that they will open any time soon

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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 12:32 pm

At the moment levels are somewhat hypothetical as we cannot get on most of the rivers.

Many of the rivers are at present at perfect levels however; what will happen when the sun comes out? Most of the low snow has gone so we may not see super high melt levels.

But first this job's worth of a Prefecture as to open the rivers. We are in a crazy situation as many of the rivers flowing off the Ecrin feeding the Durance are around a med-low level. Its only the Guil and Guisane which are high. As we have seen in the Departments Haute Alps Provence and Department Alps Maratime nealy all rivers are fully open. Its only the Prefecture of Haute Alps based in Gap is dragging is feet.

The upper section of the Ubaye has suffered far more damage than the rivers of the Durance catchment. But parts of the Ubaye have opened up and it is running at very high level.

Lets hope for better news soon.

Stuart.
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South French Alps Snow Conditions

Post by Stuart J Woodward » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:42 pm

This week-end will see the traditional timber raft making their descent from L'Agentiere to Embrun. (this was the old way of getting logs to the ports on the Med)

This descent was canceled some two weeks ago.

It will be interesting to see the Prefectures attitude here?

Stuart.
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Post by DaveWortley » Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:38 pm

15.00 today (Tuesday)
http://www.hautes-alpes.net/kayak-rafti ... bioux.html

Nice to see some playboaters on Rab, even if it is the 2nd wave! Looks fun! if a bit flushy... Here's hoping for a return to a wave like Rab when it drops.

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Post by thetangoman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:42 pm

Scumbag_Scout wrote:15.00 today (Tuesday)
http://www.hautes-alpes.net/kayak-rafti ... bioux.html
Nice to see some playboaters on Rab, even if it is the 2nd wave
Dave,

The second wave there is what is normally the Rab.

Andy
Last edited by thetangoman on Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nutter
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Rivers are open again

Post by nutter » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:46 pm

Hi All,

It is good news, the ban on the rivers has been lifted. the document is here:
http://www.hautes-alpes.pref.gouv.fr/ac ... tielle.pdf

many thanks to the nice lady at Roche Du Rame campsite, who let me use her computer :)

[/url]

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Post by DaveWortley » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:54 pm

thetangoman wrote:
Scumbag_Scout wrote:15.00 today (Tuesday)
http://www.hautes-alpes.net/kayak-rafti ... bioux.html
Nice to see some playboaters on Rab, even if it is the 2nd wave
Dave,

The second wave there is what is normally the Rab.

Andy
Nope it's normally where the first stopper is, check my comparison images from last week.

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