I wrote this out for some friends who are considering a mid May Middle Fork trip. While my crew has been pretty dam good about shoveling our way in that time of year - it ain't going to happen this year I am almost certain.
The only thing I will add to the email to post below is that I wouldn't even consider doing this run without three or four strong kayakers along to probe and help pull boats over to deal with a log or ten. If you are a two boat trip you could do it with two kayakers…..
Hello Fellow River Scum ( with the fondest of affection),
It definitely looks like I won't be making it the insurance takes effect on May 15th so I am looking to consult an orthopedic surgeon here in the valley shortly after that.
I did want to add a few ideas. The Banner Snotel site ( located just a few miles from the pass we have to drive to get to Boundary) is showing 27.4 SWE this AM.
NWCC Report Generator
The same site last year was at 19.4. That is snow water equivalent which means a minimum of two to three feet more snow than last year and we had to work our asses off to get in there last year and one day earlier and we might not have.
So I think it is highly unlikely that anyone is driving into Boundary before the first week of June.
We have had large avalanches just over Banner summit
Idaho Avalanche Buries State Highway 21 Under 60 Feet of Snow - weather.com
There have also been several large avalanches on the upper East Fork of the Salmon River. Sorry for the FB link it's the only one I could find.
To see proximity search Yellow Pine, ID on google maps it looks to be 30 to 40 miles away from Marsh Creek.
So………with the fire activity we had two years ago along the first five miles of Marsh Creek. Look at the furthest west part of this map where it say Div V.
It is almost inconceivable to me that there aren't some avalanches into Marsh Creek. The good news is that the FS has been doing flights along Marsh Creek in early May the last couple of years.
I will start checking around to see if I hear of anyone doing a flyover that might be able to snap some photos.
Not trying to scare anyone off here, I just want to make sure that everyone is super prepared. Have a good plan. Bring a Spot or three and maybe a sat phone, a couple of saws …….
Passenger on any raft so there is no one running solo.
And have a plan B alternate run.