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Old 08-19-2011   #1
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 6
Snake vs Salmon vs Rogue?

Howdy Folks,

Have a trip launching on the Snake (Hells Canyon) next weekend and curious as to how it compares to the Salmon and Rogue. I'm relatively new to the sport, but have been down the Salmon 2x and Rogue 1x now. From what I've gathered from other posts, sounds like the Snake is bigger water, but somewhat less technical? Water levels apprear to be bouncing around between 10 - 20K which sounds like a good level. Other than keeping square for the waves (notably in wild sheep and granite), anything else to be concerned with?

Many thanks

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Old 08-19-2011   #2
Ashland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 107
I rowed Hells Canyon a couple weeks ago, for the first time (have rowed the Main Salmon 4 times and the Rogue 12 times). Flows were around 13,500 to 27,000 cfs during our trip. You are correct that the Snake is bigger water than what most people do the Salmon or Rogue at. Bigger, more powerful, pushier, bigger holes, bigger waves, etc. The other huge difference is the daily fluctuations due to dam releases - as you can see, daily max is roughly twice the daily minimum. This can affect your runs of the two biggest rapids (Wild Sheep and Granite). You're right, the rapids are generally not technical. Square up, rig to flip, keep your momentum up. Even the class II and III wave trains can be big and pushy, and could flip an inattentive boater. Scout Wild Sheep on the left, Granite on the right. Try to time your run of Granite at 20,000 or above and the "Green Room" will be in. It is an obvious run down a gigantic smooth green tongue, then up and over an equally gigantic green wave - incredible! Lots and lots of jet boats. It is a beautiful canyon with enjoyable water and worth doing. Enjoy!

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Old 08-19-2011   #3
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
I flipped on the wave train after the green room. I was pretty green myself, had a 13' paddle S/B with 4 others. We didn't scout, --- went fine over the first two wave trains then the boat angled and we flipped pretty quickly ... it was monster, and about 30 seconds of wash machine type action if you flip. Most of us eddied out, fortunately we had a surfer with us who collected all our paddles, stayed with the raft for 1/2 mile, and then pulled it to shore by himself.

It taught me the following skills, ...
* follow the map
* scout when it says to scout
* always keep the nose of the boat where you need it to be (don't take any wavetrain sideways).
* get a stern frame if you have paddlers because you should only rely on your own skills.

In 12 years since then I have never flipped (KOW)
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 08-19-2011   #4
Grants Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 55
I would be on your toes at "water spout" seems people overlook it since it is after both Granite and Wildsheep. Big hole on the left that will get you if you aren't prepared for it.
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Old 08-19-2011   #5
BCJ's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 523
Go for the new river, Snake in Hells. Maybe a bit bigger than others at these flows but not intimidating or technical. Like the guy above says, T-up in wave trains and scout Sheep and Granite and you'll be OK. Also watch out for big hole left side at Rush Creek but by then you should be reading and running. Be nice to jet boaters. You may need help someday.
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Old 08-19-2011   #6
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
Our permit holder cancelled our Snake trip so we went anyway via jet boat to do some "aggressive scouting" (lol). Aside from Wild Sheep and Granite- it didn't look too bad (we hit those at about 24,000). Gotta say that the Green Room was impressive to say the least- can't wait to try it in a raft..... Jealous you get to go

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