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Old 06-30-2011   #1
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
Middle Fork Salmon - Week of July 18th 2011 Flows?

We have a middle fork of the Salmon permit for the week of July 18th and I am wondering about the flows. Currently it is running at 6’ on the gage. Based on some of my research, they say that only highly experienced rafters should run the middle fork above 5’. We have a mixed group of rafters some with 4-6 years of experience on rivers such as the Arkansas (Brown’s Canyon, Pinnacle Rock to Park dale) and other members in the group with very little experience. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? We are still 2+ weeks out, so there is a good chance it will come down before we launch, but I thought I would check to see what others think.

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Old 06-30-2011   #2
over the horizon
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Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 267
Your raft captains with "very little experience" will be in tears on day one and two. Just ran it at over 6' and that upper stretch is for real. From what I gather it is no cake walk at lower levels either.

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Old 06-30-2011   #3
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
Here is a video that was posted on the Idaho whitewater forum. Starts at the put in and then goes the first couple of miles @ 6.66. It shows Murph's Hole where someone lost their life just before this video was shot. Notice the river speed and lack of eddies. You'll want to be on your A game from the start.

For more info, check out the Idaho forum.
Karma is like this: If we set causes in motion the effects come back to us.
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Old 06-30-2011   #4
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Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 260
does it make a difference if they are river hardened kayakers, taking a leisurely stroll in a raft.
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Old 06-30-2011   #5
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Even at 4.5 its a pushy river(up top) in a heavy boat. Probably not the best place to learn how to row. Some in the group sound pretty inexperienced,not sure if the oarsman or passengers.

We pulled into Trail Flat camp last season,at 4ft,and helped a group gather up the pieces from a flip in velvet. And he had experience on the MF. The boat floated from velvet to TF and got hung up in the shallows. Sheared off one oar tower,bent the other,emptied the cooler,lost an oar,and lost the tap to the keg that was in the stern....ouch. That was a lot of useless weight in the boat for 6 more days. Lesson=bring a spare tap
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Old 06-30-2011   #6
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
I suppose it all depends on the flow.

I've ran the MFSR twice around mid-July, and the flows are usually ~3ft or lower (so, admittedly, an easier flow). Also, this was pre-Murph's. But I ran an oar boat as an 19 year old with no experience rowing but following experienced paddlers, and I was just fine both times.

My experience doesn't translate to your situation, obviously. Just use some common sense and watch the levels. It's isolated so if something happens, you're stuck in there.
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Old 06-30-2011   #7
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Hey guys stop scaring the poor guy. The river will start dropping quickly in a few days. I would be surprised if it is over 4 feet by then. The river will be busy but not too bad. I usually wait until I am below Velvet to start drinking but then game on.

If you are worried about making the 'move' in Velvet just run the hole. Easier that way.

If it is under 4 feet, which I suspect it will be you will likely be just fine. Lake Creek starts to come into play then and some other things further down. 4 feet is a dream level for me though as every hole can be run if you hit it straight. Just have the newbies punch everything white with as much speed as possible......except for the hole in Lower Cliffside and they can probably do that too.

Pm if you want more info. Or ask here. Don't be scared, it will be awesome. Go slow the first couple of days. Set safety a couple of places, don't hit Murphs' sideways.
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Old 06-30-2011   #8
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
kayakers and rowers

Originally Posted by tellutwurp View Post
does it make a difference if they are river hardened kayakers, taking a leisurely stroll in a raft.
Here is an opinion.

I am a long time kayaker been rowing as well for a few years. My first real river to row was the Middle Fork and I was scared ****less day one and last day and several times in between. I would not recommend the Middle Fork for a first time rower unless conditions are ideal. I was lucky on day one and last day to have a experienced Middle Fork rafter to ride in the bow and coach me on where to go etc. Also we had an ideal level not low and not big.

Being a experienced kayaker helps because you know how to read water. That is where it ends tho.

I found rowing lines to be way different than kayak lines.
In kayaks on most runs there are options, if you do not like your line you can change it and finding a eddy to stop and scout is easy.

In rafts, you make up your line way in advance and most of the time you have to stick with it. Finding and hitting eddies is a lot harder in a raft.

Bottom line kayak experience is a good thing, but rafts do not handle at all like kayaks and for me at least it took some time, going to guide school and coaching from experienced rowers to get comfortable rowing.
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Old 06-30-2011   #9
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Stop dickwaving CD,"you have become complacent and dangerous"....

I gotta agree though,4ft is a GREAT level.
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Old 06-30-2011   #10
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Hey I bought a new dry top this year.....wouldn't do that if I didn't think there was a chance now would I?

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