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Old 04-04-2012   #1
Redcliff, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 46
Any Eyes in Idaho? - South Salmon

We're looking at a South Salmon trip in mid May, any thoughts on potential flows? Also looking for outfits/individuals who might provide shuttles these days. Thanks!


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Old 04-04-2012   #2
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Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
The South Fork of the Salmon will likely be at flows above six feet which makes the SFS Class 5 / 5+ kayaker-only whitewater.

If you are looking for a mellower trip look for flows below 5 feet. River flows can change in a hurry that time of year as well.

I'm hoping that sounds exciting to you, because it's one of the best / biggest / scariest whitewater runs in the world.

At mellower flows it's still challenging but you can enjoy the scenery, spend more time enjoying everything, and not get flushed into rapids you should scout.

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Old 04-05-2012   #3
Redcliff, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 46
Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. I've done the run above 6' but it has been several years, it does get pretty busy. Looks like it's running about 4' right now, with snow pack reports slightly below normal, from what I gather. Do you get the feeling everything is going to come off early this year? I know it's kind of tough to make a guess this far out, but I know that the core paddlers in Idaho have a good sense of what is going on.

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Old 04-05-2012   #4
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Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
With "snow pack reports slightly below normal" I still believe much of May that the SFS will be above six feet.

There's no indication of it coming off early. In fact, all the ski resorts still have plenty of snow and some are extending their season by a weekend or two. From my fifteen years of paying attention to snow melting in Idaho, I think it will likely run off as expected.

I think weather will be more of a factor on how flows will be. If it's raining heavily or above 80 degrees in the days prior to your trip, you can expect good flows. If it's 65 degrees, cooler, and dry, you can expect lower flows.
So I would say weather is the most significant factor on what flows will be. Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm going to guess it will be between 4.5 - 7 feet in mid-May.

-Micah Kneidl
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Old 04-05-2012   #5
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 184
Keep in touch if you make this trip go. Good chance that I will be in the area as well. Perhaps we can coordinate some shuttle logistics. There are a couple guys in Yellowpine that run this shuttle. Ask in the Yellowpine store. They may even have a phone so you can call them. My standard strategy is to invite some friends for a couple days of boating on the EFSF before putting on the South Salmon, then they drive your truck out of Yellowpine while you boat out.
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Old 04-05-2012   #6
Redcliff, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 46
Hey Micah,
I think your guess is a hell of a lot better than mine Sounds perfect in fact. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in.

Pear, check your PM

Charlie Ebel

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