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Old 02-25-2014   #11
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
It has been just puking up in the bitterroots. Snowmageddon!

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 02-26-2014   #12
wsmckinney's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 63
This thread is much appreciated. I would like to know of the highest flow which this river has been boated, and would you do it again at that flow. Big shout out to Carvedog, get your surgery and let's get after it again soon. Love from Colorado.


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Old 02-26-2014   #13
malloypc's Avatar
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 256
Originally Posted by carvedog View Post
Last spring we did it at up to 11K or 4 to 4.5 gauge and that was the most carnage I have seen. There was some carnage on every trip though. Raft and cat carnage. ...

Last spring at supposedly not a huge amount more flow it seemed as if all the rocks were covered in Ladle. But I was chasing two upside down boats and missed the eddy so ran Ladle right down the middle without scouting. Part of the problem may have been that I had someone else lead who had just been down two weeks prior, but I have quite a bit more experience. Should have trusted myself more and I think we might have eliminated some of the chaos.
OK, you've finally triggered me to dig up the GoPro footage from that wild day.
I'll be posting it as soon as the YouTube upload finishes (likely a few more hours).
I think we were chasing just one upside down boat through Ladle and Mike's flip was somewhere below (Little Niagara?).
Anyway, it was an amazing trip.
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Old 03-07-2014   #14
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
Bump. 128% in the Clearwater drainage although long way to go. Love the highwater stories and vids - please keep them coming
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Old 03-11-2014   #15
wolcott, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 7
Jumping in here with a question for anyone with Selway experience. I am on the trip with kayakfreakus, launching June 15. I'd appreciate any thoughts on a low water level cutoff for taking a big 17' cat (pushing 8' wide).

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Old 04-22-2014   #16
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
So 141% and it appears still rising, gotta bump this again. We have been watching the weather patterns for both Lowell ID, and Darby MT. They have both been staying cold at night and somewhat warm during the day, and have also been seeing rain here and there. Guessing the rain is snow up high and still driving things..

So the clearwater drainage is a lot bigger than just the selway - what snotel sites should we specifically be looking at? Some of the individual site numbers look pretty staggering.
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Old 04-22-2014   #17
dryfly's Avatar
U not daho, Idaho
Paddling Since: noon
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 70
For just the Selway, go to the website below and click on "Northern Idaho Basins." The Selway is now at 166% median SWE. The snotel sites are Mountain meadows, Nez Perce Camp, Twelve mile Creek & twin lakes. Luckily I picked up a late july permit and I can't wait.... I hope your mid june trip works out. Good luck.

Current Water Year Snow and Precipitation Reports | NRCS
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Old 05-01-2014   #18
Truckee, California
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 8
Selway trip- End of May...

Kayakfreakus- Questions well said. I'm invited on an end of May trip and share many of your concerns; mostly regarding this years heavy snowpack/run-off. (Something we obviously don't have here in drought-striken California). Will be watching the weather and flows closely as the date gets closer. Have an all-star crew, but I am ever deeply respectful of powerful high water in wilderness settings. Hope to give you a update sometime in the beginning of June regarding the Selway at high water.... (and not be blabbing about our Keg-float back-up on the Main if the water is too high)

Carvedog- You seem well informed and a great resource. Thank you for sharing your knowledge/opinion. Hope to see ya all on the river someday.
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Old 05-02-2014   #19
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 184
I have some high water Selway experience and some thoughts:
  • The Selway deserves its reputation at high water (>5.5'). Lots of folks haven't launched. Some of those that have had to hole up for days, fly out, hike out, or lost boats. Take the remoteness and severity of this river seriously at high flows.
  • Based on existing snowpack, the Selway will be high (>5.5') for most of the time from mid-May to mid-June. Of course this depends on how the melt happens, but there is a good likelihood of consistent high water. Cross your fingers for cool overcast weather on your May dates or a big warm up in May for your June dates. The water for huge flows is already on the ground.
  • The Selway is flashy. This can go both ways. Just be aware. I have been in twice at 6.5' and once at 7'. One of the 6.5' was a fair bit harder than 7'. The other 6.5' was easier than a few runs between 5' and 6'. It varies a lot and can totally change character in a few hours.
  • Wood moves around starting at ~7'.
  • Ladle and Wolf Cr get easier. Everything else gets harder. Double Drop, Little Niagra, MJ, and No Slouch are all serious at high flows. Based on experience, a swim in the Ladle or LN zone could easy extend a mile downstream through MJ and No Slouch. An unlucky swim line or extended period in the water here could kill someone. The Selway is not the place to learn big water skills.
Stay safe and have fun!

PS: the Selway is almost certainly going to be too high on May 27th so if someone could please cancel that permit
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Old 05-13-2014   #20
Louisville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 33
Selway May 24

Thanks for all the G2 on this thread. I'm currently holding a May 24th Launch on the Selway with the plan to bail out over 5.5 ft. It's sounding like we might see those levels if I'm reading the gauges correctly.

Is the general consensus that it will be over that? If not, I do also have some space on my permit if some experienced Selway floaters would like to join our group. We have all run high water, but the Selway does look like a different animal.

Appreciate your feedback.

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