Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-17-2010   #1
SimpleMan's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 394
Anybody Run Middle Fork in Early May?

I'm wondering about historic flows on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in early May, like May 1st. If it's anything like the Poudre, the big runoff doesn't start until Mid to late May, and from stories I've heard, I don't really want to run it during high water. If your'e interested in an early May trip, PM me.

Thanks friends; we're one day closer.....


SimpleMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #2
Horserump, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 458
Middle Fork in May rocks. Putin on Marsh Crk. as you float down every trib that comes in is the same volumn as the one you are on. Pretty soon things are bopping all the way down to Dagger Falls. We carried it. You can also fly in. Watch trees and have fun.

yak1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #3
mgpaddler's Avatar
Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 61
You will likely encounter 4 to 6 feet of snow at the put-in to Marsh creek. This has also been made more difficult with the addition of guardrails so plan a pretty good drag to the creek. Very low flows and ice bridges in addition to avalanches and trees may make portages necessary. Usually people shuttle by snowmobile to Boundary prior to May 1st. You can see pics of Boundary put ins during April on the Idaho whitewater (yahoo groups) page. There is a small group that does this regularly so more info is available if the logistics haven't changed your mind. Check in at the Idaho group site to get local info.
mgpaddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #4
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 51
While I have not floated that early, it will (as others have indicated) require a float down Marsh Creek unless you snowmobile in or Fly in. I think it was two years ago someone rigged an 'over the snow' vehicle intended to provide a service similar to the Selway - access prior to road opening. As I recall, they booked reservations but the rig failed to serve (for one reason or another). Anyway, the Middle Fork usually has two flow peaks. One about May 15th and the other around June 1.

I would highly suggest joining a group that has gone before. Often folks will fly Marsh Creek first as there can be log jams, snow bridges, and other obstructions. This is a 'Creek' with lots of bends and drops quickly. For the volume of people that float it (compared with the Middle Fork itself), I believe there to be a higher incident factor of damaged boats, swims, and fatalities than on the main river (my opinion). Then you reach Dagger Falls!

Anyway, a trip I have always wanted to do. Most I know do it in Cat's rather than rafts. Preparation is the key to a great trip on a great river!
lyhfamily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #5
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 280
Did Marsh Creek May 2010. I have done it many times before with no problems. 2010 was wrought with problems. The rigging took forever because of the guard rails.
Two flips and three swims. It was an eventful day. Lost and found rafts. Made it to Dagger just before dark.

Very, very cold. Be prepared.
sarahkonamojo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #6
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 51
Dave Gonzales (Canyon Whitewater in Idaho Falls) and several of his cataraft group have done this regularly. You may want to contact or hook up with them. Check out Jed's opinions and trips at live now or see if you can find anything from Blake McMurtrey (all in Idaho Falls).
lyhfamily is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #7
hullflyer's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 187
I ran this with a big group in Mid-May 2005. We put in on Marsh Creek. While Rigging, a Local Idaho group pulled up to the bridge with their loaded mini-cats. They slid them down on the snow bridge into the water and were gone in a matter of minutes. Their shuttle drove away. We were pretty impressed. We rigged the rest of the day with full size Avons and Hysides. Next day we put on and had a pretty eventful day of tuggin big rafts off rocks and logs. The creek got bigger as said above but more pushy and another difficult but fun day. We camped above Dagger Falls. The whole group ran the falls at around 5.5 ft. The rest of the Middle Fork went great and we had it all to ourselves with no Rangers to be seen. At Loon Creek we met the only other boaters of the trip. They had flown into Big Creek (?) with Kayaks and kept pushing downstream.
If you have the right raft set-up and people willing for a real adventure I would say go for it. Marsh Creek is a very tough raft run for someone used to pushing rubber on a "normal" river. That said I'd go again and run a smallish cat down Marsh creek. Something around 12-14 ft. would be good. I would not recommend running a 16' Raft on Marsh unless you're good at riverside raft repair Sarahkonamojo's right it can be downright bitter cold and you had better have a drysuit! Think Upper Animas in April. Once on the MF everythings groovy.

hullflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2010   #8
mgpaddler's Avatar
Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 61
You are getting a lot of advise on the run from mid May on on up. Pay attention to the fact that the weather plays a huge role in whether or not the creek is runnable. Some years it opens up in late April, others not until the first melt pushes through the snow. This could be after mid May. At any rate, bring a drysuit and be prepared for huge water if it gets warm in a hurry. Marsh creek causes a lot of problems for people not used to the speed and technical aspect when it comes up. Have fun.
mgpaddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2010   #9
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
I gone down Marsh twice in mid to late May before the road opened. The first time we had nearly perfect conditions for the launch - no snow on the banks of the put in creek - which let us camp in the trees on the rivers bank and rig riverside. Warm weather meant Marsh was fairly high and we had kayakers with radio's scouting out in front of my massively loaded raft and a much lighter cat. We easily got through Dagger and made miles downstream the first day.

Last May I went again, this time there was considerable snow on the banks of the creek and we camped at a FS campground a few miles away. We threw gear over the guardrail on the river right side of the creek and rigged there. We launched much later and had lower water (low side of medium) than the previous trip. Three rafts this time and all got stuck fairly well at least once if not several times and all got stuck minorly many times.

Camped at Dagger and ran it the next day - I got three runs in, the first was good, the second was near perfection, and then I ran my own raft down. After pulling the first two runs I decided to push forgetting that my own raft was significantly heavier than the other two boats I had ran through. I had a very ugly line that could have ended in disaster. I tried to make a bit of a right to left move at the entrance that ended up in a brief surf and making the line, but a few feet further right would have made for a very ill advised right side run. When in doubt go further left at Dagger.

Marsh at low water in early May is going to be technical boulder garden with blind corners and the strong possibility of strainers, logs, and ice/snow bridges. Marsh at high water which is also possible though much less likely in early May is fast heads up big water in a little creek and the home of many, many epics. Flips, punctured rafts, broken frames, people waiting for low water and ending their trips at Dagger while waiting for rescue, taking two or three days just to get down Marsh Creek. <- This isn't a joke or an exaggeration, it was May of 2009. That said, other groups came through without incident and had great trips.

I've always heard that Marsh is a Class III creek, but at high water with the fast current, logs both on the banks and in the river, numerous blind corners, heavy rafts with multiday gear and food, and rowers often on their first trip of the season/year it can be a beast. For early May I would go with light boats, dry-suits and people rowing/padding that can read and run class IV water with confidence. If you monitor the Idaho Whitewater yahoo group they usually have great early season beta and trip reports. Making sure that Marsh is free of major obstructions is huge for launching May 1st.

raftus is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Early Poudre run tomorrow 6/26? MattC Kayaking | Trip Planner 0 06-25-2008 02:17 PM
anyone seen the middle fork lately? beach Whitewater Kayaking 7 05-22-2008 12:38 AM
Early morning Eagle run 6/11? stumpster Kayaking | Trip Planner 0 06-10-2007 09:04 PM
Middle Fork rwhyman Whitewater Kayaking 6 02-24-2006 01:24 PM
Yough R. contact for early July run? juls Whitewater Kayaking 1 05-30-2004 12:29 AM

» Classified Ads
Used Pyranha 9R...

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


Fluid Flirt (med)

posted by dlanci

Medium Fluid Flirt. Bought brand new in 2007. Great river...


posted by jordanfrank7

I am selling my kayak to get ready for the winter season. ...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:39 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.