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Old 05-09-2012   #11
BCJ's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
Thanks spm64. This has been a good thread, full of facts - - as Jack London once said "The facts man! The irrefragable facts!" The Iron Heel, Jack London, circa 1904.

Appears the level will not be over 6, but could be over 5, and the main issue is whether the road to Boundary Creek will be open for those who don't want to launch at Marsh Creek, like me, because I've never seen it.

Peace to everyone! Keep those cards and letters coming!

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Old 05-16-2012   #12
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 76
Middle Fork Salmon Update

Any updates on the snow conditions? Looks like it's been warm up there. Have to think that snow is melting off quickly?

I noticed there are reports of a log across the river by Velvet and also one in Pistol Creek. Anybody have more information on that?

Originally Posted by MountainMedic View Post
I was told today "by" 6/1.
Which doesn't calm my nerves much for our 5/28 put in. One of our group will be working up there this week & is going to take a look see.

Thats all I've got....

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Old 05-16-2012   #13
SLC, Utah
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3
The Banner Summit Snotel report currently shows 13.6" of snow water equivalent which is just below the half way point for the year. Theoretically, that means we have reached (or are reaching) peak runoff. Based on the forecast for the surrounding areas (warm for another couple of days, then freezing Fri and Sat night with a slight chance of rain / snow) I would guess we will hit the real peak Fri, maybe Sat - especially if it decides to rain.
I don't know what happens next - looks like more alternating warm weather and rain next week so my guess would be that the flow will stay pretty high, but then drop pretty suddenly as the snowpack deteriorates. Maybe that is just my optimistic side trying to will lower flows for a June 1 launch.
I'm still hearing rumors that the road will be open within a week or two, but still no confirmed date.

Here is the info that I received from the ranger's office on the trees etc...

Boundary Creek Road
This picture was taken May 10th and shows the road still well covered with snow just past the parking lot. Updates will be posted here as we receive them.

Marsh Creek Update
Les & Don, launching May 14th, reported a tree when they floated Marsh Creek that day. It is located about a mile downstream of the pack bridge, about 45 minutes from the highway, and just beyond a large avalanche chute on river left. The tree spans the creek angled from right to left. Please watch out for, and report, any new obstructions.

Tree near Velvet?
An unconfirmed report suggests a tree almost all the way across the river near Velvet Falls.

Pistol Creek Rapid hazard
Below are pictures of a tree in Pistol Creek Rapid taken on May 4th at 4.63 feet on the gauge. As the level rises, it will be more difficult to see. And as the water drops, it may be difficult to get around. If it comes free, we will update this page. Please be safe we strongly recommend scouting from Lake Creek.
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Old 05-16-2012   #14
Join Date: Nov 2003
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We just finished a 6 day link-up of Marsh Creek to the Lake Creek Bridge near Riggins (just below the road construction). Flows were and are healthy, so I'm assuming it will peak any day now and start dropping.

There weren't any portages or major problem trees for kayakers. In Marsh Creek there are some tight, heads up moves to miss the logs... it would be busy in an oar rig. But an experienced oars person could clean it.

The log in Pistol Creek rapid is ugly. It was still very noticeable at 5.5ft last week, so it would need a lot of water to be covered. The ranger said it showed up around 7.5' this year, and it didn't look like it was going to flush anytime soon. With enough rope work, someone might be able to help it out though. Not a problem in a kayak, but I wouldn't want to try to make the move driving up on the boils to miss it in a raft, and at low flow it seems like it might be completely in the way.

A good amount of snow at the put-in last Wednesday... but it was melting fast.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 05-17-2012   #15
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Right near the beach...BOYEEEEE, Brahbrobrahdo
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 442
Thanks for the update Cutch!

Storms rolling through and the river is up to 7'. Possible record temps for this early in the game coming on Monday. The river might hit a new peak for the year and maybe that log in pistol will work its way out!? Hey, a guy can dream right? Launch on June 9th is looking pretty sweet right now.
Wear shoes in the Safety first, then teamwork.
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Old 05-18-2012   #16
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stanley, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 61
I think the river is just about done folks, might get a little higher this weekend if it does that will be the second peak of the year. I've never seen it peak so early as it did a couple weeks ago, that was nuts. As far as the road goes, I don't see any reason it won't be open by June 1.
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Old 05-18-2012   #17
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stanley, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Originally Posted by hansenes View Post
Any guesses on when the Boundary Creek road will open?
Also looking for advice / beta or trip reports relevant to flows in the 5' - 6' range. I have a 6/1 permit and have never run the river before so any info on what to expect is appreciated.
You'll be fine in the 5-6 range. It's pretty quick in the begining, you'll need to be on your game for sure. Murph's will be your first challenge. If you launch in the morning, head down the trail the night before and take a look, it's only 1 mile down. Stay far left and take a couple willows to the face, it's worth it. Murph's is a hard one to spot and even seasoned guides get caught in that thing when it's high, it'll flip you unless you're straight and heavy as hell. I've seen heavy boats make it through there if they're straight. And I've know Sweeps to flip in there too when it's high. Velvet is pretty intense as well, watch for the rock and pull your ass off to get behind it, never give up, keep pulling, even when you think you're not going to make it, it doesn't take much for the eddie to pull you behind the rock. And if you F' up, point the nose pray, it'll surf you pretty easy if not flip ya.

As far as the rest of the trip, there's a root ball in Pistol, from the pictures it looks like you can go right of it without issue. Just pull over and scout it. As far as the rest of the river, be on your toes, cut your c's and ride your v's, watch your downstream oar.

The canyon is a blast at this level, go big if you want or sneak everything, at 5-6ft the canyon could be big, check the bottom gauge to see the difference in CFS, Here

If it's over 16K all the sneaks open up and it's a fun ride. When it gets even higher you can sneak Rubber on the left bank, with a full 18' raft.

You'll have a blast, make sure to pick camps that won't be underwater, and watch for wood. Have fun and let us know how it goes-
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Old 05-18-2012   #18
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Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Thanks for the Beta Idahoriverguide. Always trust a professional guide - - they love the river, know the lines and won't BS you coz they know better! Tis' what makes em' professionals!

Hoping for that early second peak and perfect 5's for June 2!
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Old 05-18-2012   #19
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
Does anyone have any additional information about the log reported in Velvet Falls? If it exists, is it an easy portage? Does it span the entire river?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-18-2012   #20
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
Just spoke with Donna at the Forest Service. She said that the log is just below Velvet Falls on a blind curve. Apparently there's a large enough channel to bring rafts through, but she didn't know which side of the river the log is jammed at.

The Pistol Creek log hasn't been seen recently, but they think it my be possibly submerged at this point.

She encouraged me to stop at Indian Creek to post photos of the log jams, if it hasn't been done by our trip time (June 4). Didn't even know this could be done.

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