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Old 06-09-2010   #31
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
Originally Posted by whip View Post
Was in the Glenwood/Littleton/Boulder firefighter/ski patrol group. Our first two flips were in Murph's less than a mile into the trip. We had 10 rafts/dory and 3 kayaks. Our trip leader Harlin rocked we reviewed the run daily before putting on. We ran in tight formation evenly spaced. Every boat had line to secure in the eddies and lines to throw. One kayaker sagely attached to a raft on day 3. Our two safety kayakers rocked and ran ahead signalling the runs and rescuing swimmers. The flatwater was
big with huge holes and waves in places. It was an epic bigwater trip for many including myself who ran it for the first time. I have to say the guidebooks were of little use because most rapids at 8' + beared little resemblance to what we were looking at. We were saddened to hear of the fatality on the way home but weren't overly surprized as we helped some groups including commercials that seemed a bit unprepared for such big water.
Glad you had a good trip Whip. Murphs can be a real ass whipper at that flow and the darn thing is almost invisible with all the class 2 above it.
Curious where your other flips were. Shoot we had three at 5 feet, but I think a couple of those were because they just wanted to go swimming......

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Old 06-09-2010   #32
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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Originally Posted by carvedog View Post
Glad you had a good trip Whip. Murphs can be a real ass whipper at that flow and the darn thing is almost invisible with all the class 2 above it.
Curious where your other flips were. Shoot we had three at 5 feet, but I think a couple of those were because they just wanted to go swimming......
Fruit Salad

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 06-09-2010   #33
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Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1
I was with one of the Summit County groups as well,(same as palidog) apparently both trips had a shredder. I chose to shred every day when the water rose. We easily skirted everything, never flipped it, and where able to chase swimmers with it. I am glad I did, I felt safer there than anywhere else. What a trip that was, I feel extremely lucky to have been on the middle fork that week and be safe at home now. Irregular is the perfect word.
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Old 06-10-2010   #34
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 79
MF Salmon high water trip

I was part of another group on the MF during this time. We put on Thursday, June 3rd at about 3:30pm. Our group was made up of people from Portland, Durango, Eagle River (Alaska), and Wisconsin. We had two guys who brought open boats from Wisconsin but they didn't have a chance to take any strokes. The level was 5.3 when we put on and it quickly went up due to all the rain. Our first flip was in Murph's Hole but the raft thankfully stuck in the eddy immediately below it on river right. That was our only flip of the trip thankfully. Our cat made the sneak on river left at Velvet and the other two rafts punched it. One oarsman got knocked out and was recovered a ways downstream in good shape.

Day two all was really good until pistol. One of our kayakers got flipped in the big boiling eddy on the left and swam. Rescue was good and paddler was reunited with boat about 3/4 mile downstream. During this time the river just kept coming up. We camped at Indian Creek which was cranking. One day 3 two of our group decided to fly out so our group became eight. As we watched huge ponderosa pines cruise down the river we decided to do a second night at Indian, which was a good decision. While we rested we saw a cooler, oars and ultimately a flipped raft go cruising past. We had heard about a group who flipped in Murph's Hole on Saturday shortly after putting on and we figured this was the raft. We ended up passing this same raft stuck on a wood island at mile 45.

On day three the level had dropped from its peak and from here on out we had a blast. We had several guide books which at this point really didn't help with any specifics. Huge reactionary breaking waves were the norm and holes were an exception, at least those described by the books. Our MO was to put the two kayakers in the lead and find the most straightforward route for the rafts. There were few eddies to stop and scout.

One of those eddies did come into play (as mentioned in an earlier post by another paddler) on day 5. We had read about the left sneak at Redside so as I approached the right corner I decided to eddy out as there was obviously big stuff going on. This was unfortunate for us. All three rafts eddied out on the left. After a look at the drop we came to the conclusion that the best option was to line the rafts to the drop of the eddy (which was very large) that ended at the Redside camp. It was 5:00pm and so we called home for the evening to further consider our options. The next day was day 6 our take out day and we had 18 miles to go. The level had come down a bit and the line through Redside actually looked better. The right line is still the way to go. So the two kayakers eddied out on the right below the big rock and waited for whatever was to come. Thankfully all three rafts were able to make the ferry and easily caught the far right line. It was a happy moment for all of us! The biggest lesson I learned was to definitely go for the right line at Redside

From here on out it was big water craziness and fun. I remember coming around the corner in Cliffside (a class II) and getting hit by a 15 foot standing wave. House sized boulders, according to the guide books, were absolutely gone and replaced by big waves.

My condolences go out to Michael's family and friends and I'm glad everyone else who is posting made it out safely.


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Old 06-11-2010   #35
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
Here's a summary news story:

The Challis Messenger - June 11, 2010
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Old 06-11-2010   #36
Missoula, Missoula, MT
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 23
Wow that is quite the story, is there any pics of this madness yet?
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Old 06-11-2010   #37
Missoula, Montana
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
Some pictures from our trip during the peak

We launched Last Friday with another party from Missoula. They had everybody but 2 from their party swim at Murph's hole. We helped them out and they flew out from Indian Creek. We proceeded without any major incidents the rest of the way. We did see quite a bit of trees, boats, groovers, coolers, bags, and other assorted gear float by. Here are some pictures of a raft in the Dolly Lake eddy, Pistol at 8.5 ft, and Sheepeater flooded out at the same level.
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Old 06-11-2010   #38
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4
Middle Fork, May 31-June 4

We put on the MF on the 31st, when the river was 3.8ft. We pushed out a day earlier than planned, taking out the 4th, when the river was about 7.5. We were a small group, 3 of us on one 16' cat and one 14' hyside. The first three days, the water stayed around 4 feet and then it just poured all night when we were camped near Hospital Bar. When we got the the Flying B, the river was at 6, with no forecast to go up, so we decided to push on. If it had been any higher, we were prepared to fly out. That night we camped at Wilson Creek on the tiny beach that was left and after more rain and an obvious rise in the river level overnight we decided to get out while the getting was 'good'. Weber was enormous; now I know why some people call it Corkscrew with that wave curling over from the left. Throughout the canyon we had to pull over to let logs go by and avoid them hitting our boats and impeding rowing.
Our trip was without incident but we sure saw a lot of accidents along the way. We helped the Montana group at the takeout after seeing the ghost boat float by an hour earlier...and to all them I again send my condolences.
To the Colorado group: we were worried about you guys! I'm glad to hear you're all alright, despite the boats.
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Old 06-11-2010   #39
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 8
We were worried about you guys too josi. Glad you guys made the decision to get out a day early. June 5th in Impassable Canyon is not something I want to experience again any time soon. We enjoyed sharing hotsprings with you guys. This is Franklin, the big guy, by the way.
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Old 06-12-2010   #40
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
Our party based out of Grand Junction was scheduled to put on the Middle Fork on June 5. After reviewing the forecast models for flow, we decided to go down the Main Salmon instead. On the afternoon of June 5 we arrived at the Middle Fork take out and found the Summit crew after their epic run. I think someone already mentioned it, but one of the guys had swam for about a half hour with only a drysuit on after loosing his pfd which had become entangled in a flipped oar rig!! I'M SO GLAD THAT YOU ALL MADE IT OUT RELATIVELY SAFELY! My condolences to the family of the heart attack victim. The mouth of the river was raging high on June 5, and appeared to drop substantially the next day. After camping and running the day section on the Main, we decided to not run the Main Wilderness section due to high water. Good decision looking back because a commercial crew decided to be evacuated from the Main Salmon that day near Whip Lash rapid @ ~90,0000 cfs. The Lochsa was a great alternative! I'd like to thank my crew for making the difficult decision to not run the Middle Fork!!! As for those of you who put on a few days earlier, the unfortunate fact is that you wouldn't have had any idea what was about to happen. Glad it wasn't worse than it was. Summit Crew: I hope you find your other rafts. It kind of sucks that we only found the oldest boat.


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