Watch: Historic high-water footage of Snaggletooth Rapid on the Dolores River

Vintage video of a lost whitewater classic

“So you think you’ve run all the big whitewater out West?” asked filmmakers Rig to Flip in a recent Facebook post. Not likely, unless you paddled the Dolores River in the early 1980s. On Wednesday, Rig to Flip released this rare video of Snaggletooth Rapid, the crux of southwest Colorado’s Dolores River, during the peak of the 1983 spring runoff. Enjoy 30 minutes of raw vintage footage from 26 different runs through the surging desert rapid, including fiberglass kayaks, Avon bucket boats, and plenty of carnage. According to Rig to Flip, the is the “highest water ever recorded on film of Snaggletooth Rapid.”

The Dolores was a multi-day classic until the construction of McPhee Dam in 1985 and was often compared to the Middle Fork of the Salmon or the Grand Canyon in terms of its quality. Since then, this section of the Dolores only runs in years with exceptionally high snowpack.

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