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Old 06-24-2011   #11
funkins's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 438
Originally Posted by BarryDingle View Post
My brain hurts everytime I see these....I bet this has never been discussed. Ever.

Does it ever occur to someone to do a search? There's TWO threads on this from YESTERDAY,on page 2.
This thread has become informative but remember we are hurting barry's brain every time this gets bumped to the top.

Drew J.
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Old 06-24-2011   #12
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
Sorry if I offended anyone with my last post. I'm just a little annoyed when people dismiss questions about runs that are normally class III. I believe the last Main Salmon post was about running it at 30-40 K. I've always heard the Main referenced to Whitebird, so 75 to 80 K seems like it deserves a different response. Or for that matter, so what if someone asks about Westwater at 15K, or how they should tie their damn cooler down. If you're not interested, don't read it... we're all boaters here.... especially since someone has to carry my damn beer down the river.

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Old 06-24-2011   #13
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
Here's another resource you can use:

Page 2 is the flows for the last 5 years for the Corn Creek gauge. The flow at Corn Creek today (6/24) is currently over 40,000. From my uneducated perspective, it looks like the flows on the Middle and Main Salmon are about 2 weeks behind the "normal" schedule. Both rivers will eventually peak and likely drop fast (due to extended high water period) - but when they will drop, and how fast they will drop remain to be seen.

Here's a good TR of the Main at high water:

Main Salmon Beta~30-40K
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Old 06-24-2011   #14
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 9
I'm in the same boat - we are launching on the 29th. Sounds like it could be over 40K at Corn Creek by next week.
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Old 06-24-2011   #15
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
Buckoff is spot on....i have never heard of anyone (other than outlaw) use the Whitebird gauge for the Main Salmon (corn creek run). The whitebird gauge is normally almost twice as much water as you'll see in this section of river.

CopyFrank- if you are a competent Class 3-4 oarsmen and you daughter is a normal (strong) swimmer you will be fine. Whiplash, Chittam and Elkhorn are the only 3 major rapids of significance. The rapids are SO spreadout a swim/flip is not gonna ruin your trip (like it could in the Middle Fork)

I would not consider 40,000 cfs (as Buckoff measures) to be huge water...just a little burly

SOME MORE INFO HERE (on 30K - 40K runs and beaches)

Main Salmon-Musts
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Old 06-24-2011   #16
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Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
Right on EOM - - "burly" is a good word for it, but I've never seen 40, only 27. Was lots of fun in a dory, but I definitely didn't play "high diddle down the middle" and skirted some holes in Elkhorn and pulled right at Chittam. But there is plenty of room to move and pull out of bigger wave trains, etc. if you want to. My uncle J, who was with me, called it an "angry river." But he's from Joisey so what does he know!!! (grin). For my money, at my age, and after 32 years of boating privately and commercially, moderate flows tend to be more fun anyway. Vaya con dios.
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Old 06-24-2011   #17
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Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 61
Copyfrank, The Main Salmon at high water wouldn't be a good idea for an inexperienced person of any age. When the Whitebird gauge approaches 50k then you're getting into some flows that even Jet boats quit running. Most rapids will flush out but some get much bigger. Notable rapids are Whiplash, worst at levels between 55k and 80k, above 90k it seems to smooth out a bit IMO. Elkhorn becomes a huge hole but can be cheated easily. Chittam becomes very big but can be missed by going far right over a very intimidating glassy wave. Camps are mostly covered but the bench camps are all in play. You won't need many anyway, at levels in the current range you can easily do this as an overnighter. Hope this helps a little. My experience is limited to about 50 trips ranging from very low to 96k at the Whitebird gauge. Have fun.
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Old 06-24-2011   #18
Louisville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 33
I've just got to say "Thanks" to all you helpful fellow boaters out here. Outlaw, EOM, Buckcoff,etc and even my brain-hurting friend BarryDingle. I'd say this is the most informative thread out here for sure.

I'll be going with McGow13 on the June 29th trip, and there are some weak knees starting in our group as we've got 23 people, and 7 of those are under 17, including my 12 yr old daughter.

However, I'm feeling much better with most of your information, and will be very cautious, and hike out/Scout whiplash. I am seeing the forecast is that we will crest today/tomorrow, and be back down to 61,000 (whitebird) by our launch (according to the NWS).. we'll see how accurate they are.

We ran the main salmon at 30K 2 years ago from Corn Creek, and it was a fun ride, but nothing terribly frightening. Big/Fast water and my 13 yr old son at the time did Ducky the whole thing... and swam often.

Thanks for all your assistance, and your information is valuable.
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Old 06-24-2011   #19
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 651
I ran it in '06. It was 92,000 cfs at Whitebird when we launched. The Main at that level was HUGE. The gauge on the ramp (brass numbers embedded in the ramp) at Corn Crk. was at 11 ft. The sign at the put-in that explains river levels says that 8ft = 32,189 cfs and is rated "extreme". The sign doesn't even list water levels above 8ft. At 11ft we estimated the water to be running 52,000 cfs at the put-in. The water was scary because it was so big, fast and cold. But even scarier were the trees - not logs - trees that were floating down the river. We had 3 18' oar rigs and 3 17' dories. We also had two safety boaters in creek boats. We made huge miles very, very quickly. We'd average 25 miles in 2 hours. I had a GPS with me and according to it we hit 22 mph in one rapid on the second day. The boils, eddies and seams were nuts. Much more so than any of the rapids. I'd never seen literal eddy 'fences', which were tough to deal with. One of the hardest things to do each day was to break the eddyline to get into camp. The biggest rapids were Killum, Big Mallard, Elk Horn and Whiplash (huge). There were other big ones but these stand out in my mind. A lot of the rapids were washed out, like Salmon Falls. The waves were huge and the holes were the biggest I'd ever seen. We hit some waves that the 18' rigs barely made it over. You'd almost crest, think you were not going to make it, then the front of the raft would creep over the top of the wave and you fly down the backside. It was awesome. One of the guys on the trip is a Grand Canyon guide (has been for 30 yrs) and he was even surprised by some of the rapids and their size and power. The camping was interesting since there were no beaches. We camped in forest every night. In fact, I don't even remember seeing any sand the whole trip. It was definitely an expert run at that level. Not so much because of the rapids but because if you had a problem, a flipped raft, swimmers, etc. The speed and temp of the water would have made rescue very, very difficult. Fortunately, we didn't have any incidents. All in all, it was an amazing experience. Some of the biggest water Idaho had seen in the previous 10 years and it was great to be on it.
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Old 06-24-2011   #20
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 488

Whiplash tries to eat my friend. He managed to (somehow!) get right back in and row out of that mess. It was THE rapid that week, hands down.

Never get out of the boat
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