The Baski


Looking upstream at H2 on House Creek. Baski flume in center, abandoned Parshall flume on left.  Suess Glacier and Peak 1882 in background.

Looking upstream at site H2 on House Creek. Baski flume in center. Suess Glacier and Peak 1882 in background.

The Baski would be a good name for a movie. But, the Baski is a cutthroat flume.  Hmmm…that’s not a bad name for a band.

The cutthroat flume was developed at Colorado State University by Gayloard Skogerboe in 1974. Other flumes consist of a v-shaped entry section, a “throat” with parallel sides, and a v-shaped exit section. A cutthroat flume is so called because it has no throat.  That’s kind of gruesome–winters can be harsh in Fort Collins. The biggest advantage of the cutthroat flume for us is that it has a flat bottom, so it is easy to set up on the frozen sandy bottom of a stream. And, because it’s flat, it passes sand and gravel easily and keeps itself clean.

Baski makes a portable, stainless steel cutthroat flume that we install in streams temporarily to measure low flows. Our Baski flumes can measure flows up to about 70 liters per second (about 2.4 cubic feet per second).

Yesterday Dimitri returned from a trip up Lake Hoare and Lake Chad (once separate lakes, but now merged) and reported that House Stream was flowing. He had a video, and I could clearly hear the water. So, I suited up, strapped the Baski to my pack, grabbed a shovel, and headed up the Lake. It’s about three miles up to House, which sits directly against the east flank of the Suess Glacier. I could have driven the ATV, but I’d been sitting on my behind all day and wanted some exercise.

House is steep, rocky stream. When I was here in 2003 we had a permanent gauge at a site designated as H2, but that gauge has since been abandoned because rocks falling off the lateral moraine would come down on the site. Still, our direction is, if it flows, measure it and take a water sample. So, I set up the Baski at the H2 site. I was lucky to find spot where I could get it level and get almost all the streamflow through it.

Looking downstream at the Baski flume.

Looking downstream at the Baski flume.  Remains of the control for H2 in the streambed in the foreground.


Side view of Baski, torpedo level on top. The flume must be level on both axes. I was very lucky to find an easy location for the setup, since everything is frozen.

I moved a little gravel and sand to “seal” leaks (harder than it sounds, as the streambed is frozen solid.) I estimate I was capturing 95% of the flow.

Looking downstream into the flume.

Looking downstream into the flume.

I estimated the flow to be about one liter per second (about 15 gpm). The Baski rating curve says it is about 2.2 liters per second. I’ll work on my estimating.

Yesterday at about 4:00 p.m. when I made that reading the skies were clear and sun was falling on the east flank of the Suess Glacier that feeds House Stream. I left the flume in place last night, hoping to get another reading today.   But, today there is a heavy overcast and when I returned to the flume I found no flow.  I’ll take another look tomorrow morning before we return to F6.  I hope the Baski will not be frozen into the streambed.


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