If you’ve spent any time in Colorado you know that the weather can be unpredictable, changing at a moments notice. The saying goes something like, “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado wait 15 minutes, it’ll change.” We like to joke that in the high country it’s more like 15 seconds.
We’ve been on the river in sunshine, rain, and snow all in the same afternoon. It’s always best to be prepared. We have another saying, “It’s easier to cool off than to warm up.” This means you should be prepared and even dressed for the cold. If it turns out to be too warm you can always shed layers. Even on a sunny warm spring day the river water can be a cool 40 degrees fahrenheit 9or less!) splashing you all over.
Where you are from can affect your comfort level as well. A person from Florida is going to feel more chilled by cooler air and water temperatures than someone from Alaska. Its all about what your body has been acclimated to.
A wetsuit goes a long way to helping you retain some of that precious body heat. Layering up with fleece jacket and pants, wool socks, and even a beanie can extend that heat retention. Splash or rain gear can add a layer to help keep most of the water off, and more importantly the wind. Wind can chill you significantly when you’re wet.
Any piece of cotton is going to get wet and stay wet until you get back home. Cotton takes forever to dry. So no t-shirts, save those for afterwards when you’ll appreciate that soft warmth.
In the summer the air temperature has increased and the water warms up slightly as most of the snowpack has melted and the river level drops. Especially on the lower sections like Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Royal Gorge where it’s more of a high desert climate. However the monsoon season starts late summer so afternoon rainstorms are pretty common.
Here at Monumental Expeditions we rent wetsuits and splash jackets. They are highly recommended in the springtime when the runoff is high. Especially on The Numbers and Browns Canyon as they are much closer to all that melting snow and higher in elevation. Summertime comes a little later to the high country.
In Colorado it’s always best to be prepared for all four seasons, regardless of time of year. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact us.
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