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Colorado Diving & Spearfishing

Discussion in 'Rocky Mountain Region' started by Smokin, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. Smokin

    Smokin Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Houston, TX
    28
    0
    1
    Hi All,

    Just moved to Colorado (Lone Tree) and would like to do some diving and spearfishing. I'm cave and trimix certified, closing on a 1000 dives, and have all my gear; just need some high altitude divers!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Cert1967

    Cert1967 Let's Go Skiing

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Vail, Colorado
    239
    155
    43
    Hmmm - diving in Colorado? Pool in the backyard or a big jacuzzi?

    We got caves in Colorado - well lots of old mining shafts, many of which are filled with nasty water. Trimix, not a readily available commodity in our State.

    Two types of diving in Colorado
    1. High Altitude Lakes. Cold, mostly shallow, lousy viz most of the time. Access - pretty hard, for the most part. Fish?
    2. Warm water reservoirs, shallow, lousy viz, might see a bass swim by, perhaps a walleye. Not sure CDW is too keen on UW hunting. Passable fishing at Chatfield and Cherry Creek Rez - big crowds.
    During the winter, viz is better in the reservoirs, high altitude lakes too. Gets pretty cold in the mountains during winter and the water gets really hard.

    This dive shop has a pond in their backyard

    It just isn't worth it to dive in Colorado, not enough bang for the time, cost, and effort. But some do, not many. Check out the Colorado section of this board and you'll find a few folks into the local diving scene.

    The local LDS, in the main, take their students for check out dives to either,
    1. Chatfield Reservoir, where the viz should dictate 1 to 1, student/instructor. Most seem to have a higher ratio.
      1. Colorado Parks & Wildlife - Chatfield
    2. Homestead Crater, Utah. Where the water is ~95f, lousy viz and ratio should be 1 to 2, student/instructor
      1. Homestead Crater | The Crater Utah | Crater Midway Utah
    3. Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, NM. Cold, drysuit or 7mm. There is an adjoining hole that is deeper for tech training. 400 miles and about 5+ hours with a lunch stop from Denver. And high altitude passes to cross, some return sucking on their O2 bottles. Lovely town, folks come for the local nightlife, culture, resorts and wonderful food.
      1. Santa Rosa Blue Hole
    4. Or a warm water trip. The LDS community in Colorado has developed a big travel market for divers.
    What's Chatfield like? Fill a bucket with mud, swirl it around and stick your head in. Some will disagree.

    Homestead/TheCrater? You won't believe it when you see it. Run by nice folks, it is near Deer Valley and Park City. You can combo it with a Utah ski trip. The crater is fed by a warm hot spring and is part of a resort. Pretty dark green water and a few platforms to keep divers/students off the mud/silt bottom. Big student numbers - a local LDS has a bus set up to bring students and equipment to the crater. At least one local shop tags each student with an LED blinker. Everyone should go once, but that's it. You book a time slot, wait outside while gearing up, walk up the stairs, through the tunnel, hop in, and hop out ~55 mins later. Soakers on top, floating around. Watch your stuff on the deck.

    On this board, @boulderjohn, frequents the Santa Rosa, NM holes for tech training.

    Best Alternatives
    1. Playa del Carmen / Tulum, cenotes. RT to CUN $260-$400 depending, nonstop. 4hours. Once in a while the price is ~$200.
    2. Florida - Keys and Gold Coast. RT to Miami is frequently less than $200. Frontier for Sept has $100 RT fares, as of today. Cave country, harder and more expensive travel.
    3. Cozumel, RT - $400-450, sometimes less, often more. No non-stops. Frontier used to have a DEN-CZM nonstop, lousy airline, but a easy trip when it operated.

    While Colorado is reputed to have a high per capita diver rate, we have almost no divers who dive locally.

    My suggestion for local fun - get a ski pass. Best value in the whole wide world is the Epic Pass (I am biased, I live in Vail);

    Colorado - hiking, fishing, skiing, bicycling, wilderness, four-wheeling, pro-sports, college-sports, sports, local brews, local distilleries, Red Rocks, lots of music, Vail/Aspen/Telluride/Others music and dance scene, Mesa Verda, Black Canyon, Medicine Bow, Canyons of the Ancients, Maroon Bells, RMNP, sand dunes, flattops, fourteeneers, hunting, exploring old mines, back-country, eastern plains, ice climbing, rafting ... hope you have lots of time off, there is a lot to do and Colorado is a big state.

    Lets not forget our state's newest and fastest growing industry, local and export, - Recreational Marijuana, 21+.

    Welcome to Colorado and good luck
     
  3. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,080
    113
    If you want to do trimix diving while based in Colorado, you will need to go to Rock Lake in New Mexico. I will be there this coming weekend, and if you are ready for a serious dive, so am I. We were supposed to dive there last weekend and then this weekend, but some frustrating issues stopped us. As a consequence, all my gear is ready for a deep dive, and when we go next weekend, I will have no one with the necessary certifications to dive with me.

    The plan was to explore the west wall of Rock Lake. There is a descent line there, but none of us has ever taken it. We recently found some old maps that are a little uncertain in what they think is there, but they have it marked to 300 feet. We had previously thought that the deepest point was only 285 feet, so we were quite anxious to check it out. That means my tanks are filled for a dive to 300 feet, and I will be very frustrated if I have to use them in shallow depths and waste all that helium.

    I currently have enough helium and oxygen in supply bottles in my van to take care of you if you are ready to go. I can also get more at any time.

    There are a number of other things we found in those old maps that we are anxious to explore. The inlets for the lake are vents in the bottom, opening up through the debris piles from past collapses. The water coming out of those vents is very warm, indicating they come from some deep thermal spring. We are hoping to check out some of them, maybe move some rocks, etc. The old maps assume there is significant cave below the bottom; it would be nice to find one.

    As far as other caves are concerned, there is one at the bottom of the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is 85 feet at the very bottom, where the cave begins, and the cave goes nearly straight down from there. I have been in it to only about 160 feet deep, where a tight restriction makes for a rare diver who can get past it. Those who have gotten past (only two) got only to about 200 feet deep before it walled out. The cave entrance is blocked, though, so there is no point in even thinking about it. The city will not open it up again, because it is just a narrow, silty tube to nowhere that would require extreme skills just to get to that nowhere.

    Now, if we can find a cave opening at the bottom of Rock lake, that might be interesting.

    If this sounds like something you would like to be involved with, just send me your email address via the private message system on ScubaBoard, and i will give you some details.
     
  4. KevinNM

    KevinNM DIR Practitioner

    2,891
    1,385
    113
    In the wall of rock lake would be more interesting, caves that start at 90 meters are really damn serious dives. Good luck.
     
  5. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,080
    113
    They are, but my information in the last post was incomplete. The floor of Rock Lake ranges from 180 feet to 285 and maybe 300. Some of the vents are at about the 185 foot depth. Yes, that is still a very serious dive, but it is not 90 meters.
     
  6. Smokin

    Smokin Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Houston, TX
    28
    0
    1
    Thanks for the reply and I appreciate the information. I'm wanting to dive some of the recommended sites with good vis; Jefferson Lake and Officer's Gulch are two at the top, but I'm sure there are others. Don't know what to expect so I was hoping someone had done it.
     
  7. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    25,635
    17,080
    113
    I just sent a PM with a description of my one experience at Jefferson Lake. The lake is at 10,685 feet, and I felt every foot of that elevation. I geared up in my LP 108 doubles, which weigh 1.75 tons, and I walked across the parking lot to the water's edge, reaching it in a state of total exhaustion as I realized I had left my fins on the picnic table. I almost cried. The visibility was maybe 3-4 feet that day. I would guess it is better on other days, but I have not been sufficiently motivated to find out.
     
    Birddog1911 likes this.
  8. smokeydm1

    smokeydm1 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Colorado
    1
    0
    1
    Did you get in any spear fishing trips? Just joined scuba board, was searching any threads on spear fishing
     

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