Crystal Rapid

Crystal undoubtedly is one of the most anticipated rapids on any river trip – and for good reason.  The main hole in Crystal is in the center of the rapid, a couple hundred feet below the top of the entrance tongue. It is possible to run left or right of the main hole. A standard right run involves entering the rapid to the right of the tongue and pulling to stay as close to shore as possible. The current will try to bring you towards the huge holes in the middle of the rapid. Once you have cleared the holes, continue your pull to the right to avoid the rock garden in the center of the bottom of the rapid. A left run is a bit more dynamic. To run left, push down the left side of the tongue and punch through a couple of laterals that can surf a boat towards the main hole. Going left is a balance. If you go too far left, there is a sharp pourover against the left wall that is approximately in-line with the Crystal Hole. Ideally, a left run splits the difference between the pour-over on the left and the Crystal Hole. Stay off of the left-wall below the hole, as many boats have flipped beneath the main action. It is easiest to stay left of the rock garden at the bottom if you go left of the main hole.

This video shows a number of crafts running Crystal Rapid at around 20,000 CFS. You can see how much current is pushing towards the Crystal Hole.

The main feature to avoid in Crystal Rapid is the notorious Crystal Hole. This hole has flipped numerous boats, so you’ll want to avoid this feature…