Alarm Clock Rapid, East Glacial River

IV-

Rapid Rating

3.5

River Kilometer

About Alarm Clock Rapid

Alarm Clock marks the entrance to the continuous Class IV gorge section of the East. There is not an easy way to scout from the river, but this is one of the few rapids visible from the road as you drive in. The river makes a left turn with a fun and powerful wave train on the right that finishes through a narrow gap. At 30-50 m³/s the waves are just fun. Once you get into the 60-120 m³/s range the waves become impressive haystacks. As long as you hit them straight with momentum, rafts and kayaks will punch through. At nearly all flows, a sneak line for kayakers is available all the way left. You will still need to hit the edges of the waves, but it brings you away from the meat of the rapid. The sneak line is not recommended for rafts as the lack of momentum becomes an issue.

Just above Alarm Clock is a large, boiling pool where you can boat scout much of the rapid. The boils in this pool are tricky, especially at medium/high water. Try not to get pushed too far left as the entrance to this rapid is on the right.

The boat flipping feature on this rapid is the river right wall above the narrowest section at the bottom. If you slide off the waves to the right, you can broadside and flip. Avoiding the wall and prepping your crew for a right highside mitigates flipping a great deal. The other hazard would be starting the rapid too far right. The water is fast, but quite shallow. Ending up here would cause you to get stuck, and re-enter the rapid with less control and speed.

How to run Alarm Clock

For rafts and kayaks, the standard line is to enter the boiling pool above Alarm Clock with left to right momentum. Stay along the right shore and take a few moments to boat scout. Thirty meters above the first wave, build right to left momentum. Straighten the boat out to hit the series of three waves. After the third wave, be aware the river likes to push boats into the right wall. Turn the boat to the left and drive away from the wall, hit it straight on and bounce off, or broadside it with a highside command. Flips are uncommon here, but they do happen! Small, unstable eddies exist below the narrowest part of the rapid where you can set up safety.

Dropping into the wave train at medium water.

The Crystal Hole in the Grand Canyon

Hitting the first big wave in Alarm Clock Rapid at medium water.

The upstream boat is to river left of the boat flipping wall. High water Alarm Clock Rapid. Photo by Mirto Menghetti.

A view of Alarm Clock Rapid at high water

Middle boat entering the massive wave train in high water Alarm Clock Rapid. Photo by Mirto Menghetti