Extreme Engineer Meets Extreme River Rafting

Photo of Yampa River RiverboatsThe Engineering Specialties Group is known for their extreme engineering projects worldwide. What some may not know is that their need for the extreme carries over to their personal life outside of the office.

In May of 2011, the hydrologists said the snow pack in the Yampa basin was 250% of normal.  The river had risen to the second highest level in recorded history. Jamie Bunch unrolled his rubber boat and prepared to float the 74 miles of the Yampa and Green Rivers through Dinosaur National Monument.

Photo of Yampa RiverThe Yampa River begins as a little stream in the Flat Top Mountains in Northwest Colorado.  It wanders down the valleys through the ski resort town of Steamboat Springs, where it turns west toward Utah. Along the way, the Yampa gathers water from all of the other small streams that drain this part of Colorado.  As the Yampa nears Utah, it enters Dinosaur National Monument, where river rafters enjoy the wonderful colors of the canyons and the water as they flow together.

Jamie’s group went to set up camp, but the camp site was submerged!  They tied their boats to the information kiosk and sought dry land.

His group consisted of 9 rafts full of high water enthusiast eager to begin a 6 day journey. They came to float the high water – the highest since 1984!  The anticipation of the Warm Springs rapids was on everyone’s mind. These particular rapids were formed by a flash flood in 1965, and they are always a challenge to rafters.  The buzz of the Yampa’s is “Run right at Warm Springs”.  When they arrived to the Springs on June 11, the Yampa river gauge was indicating 26,200 cubic feet per second.


Chart of Yampa River Water Discharge Statistics

Warm springs lived up to a well-deserved reputation.  A commercial group ahead of Jamie’s group flipped 2 rafts out of 4. His group flipped 2 out of 9 rafts.  Six lucky members of his group got to join the 2011 Warm Springs swim team!


Photo of Jamie's Raft on Yampa River Rapids


Photo of Jamie's Raft Submerged in Yampa River Rapids

All are safe and dried out by now.  The trip was a great experience for all!

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