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Old 02-23-2006   #1
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 14
Bruneau river beta?/Jarbidge

Anyone out there paddled the Bruneau-main,east,or west forks- or the Jarbidge. I'm looking into it for a possible late March self support kayak trip. Any info would be much appreciated.

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Old 02-24-2006   #2
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
i am interested in this trip also. check out 'idaho the whitwater state' and 'western whitewater'

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Old 02-24-2006   #3
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 14
Yeah, I've read up on it in both my Western Whitewater book and Grant Amaral's whitewater guide for Idaho. I know this area is small volume, technical, woody, and remote-but any first hand accounts would be helpful and info about potential flows in late March.- Also, any info on the shuttle too, I've heard it's a bitch.
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Old 02-24-2006   #4
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 80
Bruneau - Jarbidge

I've paddle some of the the tribs in the Bruneau. First -- don;t bother with the East Fork (Clover Creek) it's full of willows and a miserable experience. (The same is true for Mary's Creek entrance to Sheep Creek).

Pervious years, I;ve done the Jardige to the Bruneau in 3 days. It's a beautiful, unstressful trip. Last year, we did Sheep Creek which absoultely blew my mind. Imagine paddling through the Zion Narrows, except the walls a ryolite extending 800-ft above you and riddled with caves and arches.

The shuttle into sheep is the easiest, followed by the West Fork. The horror story that people recount is actually to the put-in on the Bruneau. Self supporters should do one of the three tribs (Sheep, West Fork, or Jarbide) for a start. You can probably hire a reasonable shuttle in Bruneau for these. Last we checked, the recommended driver charged upwards of $200.

There's a gage on the West Fork in Nevada. Late March is probably on the early side, but may work. Last year, we were in there in May with a similar snowpack to this season (The jardige Raqnge in northern NV is aorund 12,000 ft). Sheep contains about 3 class IV+/ V- drops that are easily portaged at the flows we had (1800-2000 on the Brunea gage near Bruneau, ID -- note the NOAA nwrfc forecasts this point with pretty good accuracy.) It is intersperesed with a few class II-III drops. There was very little wood in the river. Once you hit the bruneau, the rapids are big water feeling class III+ (to IV+ if you fall in a hole) with class V+ poinson ivy along the banks.

The jarbidge is straightforward and well documented on the internet and in guide books.

A friend soloed the West Fork with a portage at Julie Wilson Falls. He speaks highly of it.

Feel free to PM with specific questions. It's a beautiful, remote region in which travels are always reminded of the fragility of man. Definately a great trip to undertake.
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Old 02-24-2006   #5
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 380
The West Fork is a gem if you can catch it. Serioulsy weird run-off patterns. I haven't been lucky enough. If you can't get it, the Upper Owyhee above 10,000 cfs is a sweet run. Two days, two Class Vs, a bunch of big IVs and some sick surf waves if you have a planing hull........
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Old 02-24-2006   #6
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5

I've never run it but have several friends that have. I used to live in Montana and could never get away when the flow was right. Are you looking for anyone to run it with??
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Old 02-24-2006   #7
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 15
Bruneau River info

The best way to catch any of these rivers is to plan a few weks to be available and then jump in your car and go as soon as the lever is what you want. The Bruneau is about the most amazing long overnight/or 3 day trip around. Rafts are fine as long as they have a pretty good clue in IV water. Make sure it is not too high as Mile long rapid can get a little hectic at high flows. I grew up in Colorado but moved to Boise 10 years ago to follow the rivers. The Bruneau is one of my favorites when it has water.
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Old 02-24-2006   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Yeah -- the Bruneau was my first overnighter and it is stellar.
But yes, the shuttle for the main is a bear -- everybody in our caravan had something break on their vehicle except mine (It's a Jeep - unfair advantage

This is not Ford Explorer country.
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Old 02-24-2006   #9
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Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365

We ran last year on the 4th of july, self-support in IKs. Bruneau was at 500 -- minimum flow. Rumor has it a pair of guys did all 70 miles of the J/B run the day we took off.

I've also run just the main B a little under 1000 over memorial day in a raft.

I'm hoping to explore some of the other tribs this year, sheep or WFB depending on flows. prolly in may.
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Old 02-25-2006   #10
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 155

I've done it and it was an amazing 3 days, 2 night Class III-IV experience. The shuttle is not bad as long as the roads are dry- desert soils muck up when wet. There's a bar near the take out where you can get shuttles, but I think they wanted more the $200, and this was back in '96, plus I'm not sure I'd trust them with my car. The Bruneau put-in is supposed to be hairy. We did the run in June, but '96 was a big water year for Idaho. Watch out for the poison ivy, and I've heard of some complete hacks rafting it, but they had to deflate tubes to line between some rocks on the Jarbridge. That being said, a self-supporter who dislocated his shoulder sure seemed happy not to have to walk out.

I sure wouldn't raft it!

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