Rogue River Question - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-03-2016   #1
 
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 34
Rogue River Question

Hi guys,

I was hoping for some opinions on the wisdom of a possible Rogue trip coming up. I have been down the Rogue 4 times over the past 3 years but have only rowed the entire Wilderness section once. My wife is trying to talk me into trying to go for a last minute permit (if there are cancellations) later this month. We would be bringing along a family of relatively inexperienced boaters who would rent a boat. The husband used to guide paddle rafts on class 3/4 rivers but that was over 20 years ago.

If we did this, I feel I know the rapids well enough I could coach them on the right lines. I would plan to row their boat through Blossom. This would be a trip with 2 boats and would include 4 kids (ages from 9 to 13).

I have a lot of respect for the Rogue. I feel I could safely get them through everything and have a blast doing it. My main reservation doing this is that I would really be the only person on the trip with rowing/ rescue experience. I realize there will be plenty of folks out there who could help in case of a wrap, but is it really responsible for that to be my back up plan.

I have been perseverating about this non-stop. Am I just being a weenie and overthinking things? Or is it just a plain dumb idea? Yes, I need to be the one to ultimately make this decision but would love to hear some objective opinions.

Our backup is the Grande Ronde but the way the flows are heading that is likely a non-starter

Thanks guys!

Dave

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Old 08-03-2016   #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 355
i want to start by saying thanks you for respecting ALL moving water!!! The rogue is very doable but does have severe consequences if your in the wrong place. I would also be hesitant to take people the are not 100% comfortable rowing in solid class iv without a back up rower. (Even though most agree it's not true class iv). I am however, way less nervous about people who understand what consequences can happen than I am at yahoos that think they have everything figured out.

Please understand that this is coming from someone with a lot of river time and I did donate my spleen to the north fork of The rogue a few years ago. I ain't munch fun having a cluster f.. Or even worse being the cluster.

You may also want to consider the lower kalamath as an alternative. It's a great trip and goes have some challenging Rapids but dragon's tooth is easy to walk passengers and flip potential is always better that wrapping in my book. There are lots of access points to Taylor the trip length to your needs. the road is very low traffic a night so it's easy to ignore.

There is an outfit just below Indian creek put it that will shuttle rigs and its walking distance. Then are great and it nice to not roll the dice with the reservation folk messing with your rig.

Be safe and have a great trip.
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Old 08-03-2016   #3
 
NIMBY, Oregon
Paddling Since: Womb
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by oarboatman View Post
i want to start by saying thanks you for respecting ALL moving water!!! The rogue is very doable but does have severe consequences if your in the wrong place. I would also be hesitant to take people the are not 100% comfortable rowing in solid class iv without a back up rower. (Even though most agree it's not true class iv). I am however, way less nervous about people who understand what consequences can happen than I am at yahoos that think they have everything figured out.

Please understand that this is coming from someone with a lot of river time and I did donate my spleen to the north fork of The rogue a few years ago. I ain't munch fun having a cluster f.. Or even worse being the cluster.

Be safe and have a great trip.
This is how your post should've read. Please edit your post to match... The Klamath locals will trash you and your rig every trip. Nothing but broken windows, slashed tires, and the offenders will be waiting to kick your ass at the take-out. The water is poison, no good side hikes, and the road is full of traffic all night long.

Better off going on the Rogue. Let them enjoy it and the "wilderness section."
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Old 08-04-2016   #4
 
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Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Lower salmon and no permit needed, longer river trip, better camps with generally shorter carries, slightly shorter mileage to drive there from seattle, easier rapids, with generally less objective hazard.
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Old 08-04-2016   #5
 
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Salem, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 122
Hi DavBaker, Good work on being conscientious of safety for yourself and your group. I'm going to suggest you still get on the Rogue!

Here's my thoughts... FYI I don't pretend to be the greatest Rogue expert, but I have been a number of times including twice this summer.

1st off, don't worry about permits. You will get them. If you don't get them reserved ahead of time, you will be able to pick up no-shows later this month. Once you get past the second week in August you will find almost 20 no-shows per day unless you pick a high-use entry day (Friday in particular). Just keep an eye on the website for openings, and good luck getting a phone call through! I must have called at least 3,000 times this summer alone!

2nd: Your plan of rowing both boats through Blossom is the only reason that I think that this could remotely be a good idea. I understand the other guy has river experience but nothing recent and little to no rowing experience. No sweat, walk him through the lines, and I would suggest putting any of the kids who aren't great swimmers on your boat through Wildcat, Tyhee, and Mule Creek Canyon. If you are nervous have the kids also walk Blossom.

Basically you need to be a little overly careful (as you seem well aware of) since you don't have a lot of experience to draw on if things go sideways.

With that said. You will never find a better trip this time of year to take the families on. You will have an amazing time with the kids. This is in my estimation the best accessible family multi-day trip around. Yes, you'll bump rocks, and your lines won't be perfect. Don't sweat it! Be safe on the big (Class III+) ones, and have fun the rest of the time.

Take the kids especially up to Tate Creek and run the water slide. Tons of fun! My favorite stops with the kids would be; Howard Creek, Zane Grey's Cabin, Rogue River Ranch (the swimming pool is great there too!), Tate Creek, and I can't remember the one with all the algae after Tate... but its good too. Stair Creek is probably the most stunning and amazing. But its a tough climb and probably not worth it with the kids unless they are good climbers. The consequences of a fall would be terrible.

Be safe, have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff!
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Old 08-04-2016   #6
 
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 34
Thanks guys, for the responses so far. Oarboatman, I really appreciate your advice and I think it has helped clarify how I will approach this. Like I said, I respect the Rogue and realize, despite being a relatively "easy" river things can go wrong fast. I ran it a few weeks ago and someone died in Wildcat the day before we went through, a rapid I had never thought had much objective hazard. A pretty bracing reminder that moving water + rocks can always have consequences.

I have decided I am going to get my friend out in my boat this week to go over some safety/ swift water concepts and gauge his skill and comfort level on the sticks. If I do not feel confident, we are switching to plan B. Shappattack, I am intrigued by the Lower Salmon idea - I forgot you did not need permits. Heavy swimmer, you have piqued my interest in the Klamath. I rowed it a few years ago but it sounds from you that things have only gotten better! When I was there they only slashed your tires but did not kick your ass at take out. I would love to take on some Klamath Yokels .

Urichjones - I cannot agree more with you about the Rogue being the quintessential family multi-day. I have been with my family down the Rogue 3 times. I am not exaggerating that it has been a truly transformative experience for both of them - nothing like the jumping rock at Clay Hill, Tate creek slide, swimming Lower Black Bar to make a couple of city kids feel invincible. They are so eager to share the River with friends and show it off!

Again, thanks for all the advice. It has helped. I'll let you know how it plays out!
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Old 08-04-2016   #7
 
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Up North, Oregon
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I could not disagree more that the Rogue is quintessential family trip this time of year. Obviously you haven't been on the lower salmon, and I would bet a 24 pack of any kind of beer Mr. Jones has not been on the lower salmon either. Not to be labor the issue, but if you like huge white sand beaches, short carries to your camp spot, lots of small mouth bass for kids to catch, nice water to swim in, good water for kids to try their had at an IK for nearly all the trip, large relatively easy and boat scoutable rapids (except remember to hang to the left side of the river when going around the corner in China), no bears to screw with, less people if you can believe it, and no permits needed. You be the judge. Shorter drive on the way there, and way shorter drive on your way home from Seattle. More chances for your friend to have major screw ups on rapids on the Rogue than lower salmon 100%. Having run about every multiday family style river in the PNW, the rogue is actually my least favorite, mostly cause of the number of folks and the camps.


Another option would be to take light rafts and put some of the older kids in IKs and run the Wallowa/Grande Ronde from minam to wildcat. Talk about a family trip where the kids would have a blast. It is floatable now and the kids would absolutely go nuts paddling an IK at this water level. My 11 year old niece paddle it this year at higher more difficult water. Minam Store rents IKs too if you need some. Grant has a write up about rafting it at low flow. Totally doable, and you probably won't see any other groups.

See grant's writeup for Aug 30 , 2015 and July 14, 2015 for really low water tips:
Grande Ronde River Report, Wallowa River Report


Of your are looking at the Wallowa/GR this August you would probably have over 400 cfs all month


If you want to get away from people, see a lot of wildlife, have a good fun and safe adventure trip, a low flow Wallowa/GR trip with some older kids in IKs is a good bet.


A more standard big raft trip - Lower Salmon
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Old 08-04-2016   #8
 
seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 90
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 356
If you want to spend 5 days on flat water,assaulted by Yellowjackets, burn out beaches and watch a slew of rednecks fly by on sleds the lower salmon is great choice. The grande ronde would be a close second this time of year. At 500 cfs you might be able to get a bit of rafting in after dragging your raft all day. If your friend has a bit of experience and you run blossom I wouldn't worry. It's 2k right now and will most likely hold for awhile. Great level for a first trip.
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Old 08-04-2016   #9
 
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Up North, Oregon
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Originally Posted by bucketboater View Post
At 500 cfs you might be able to get a bit of rafting in after dragging your raft all day
I get the impression after many of his many attempted feeble slams on anything I recommend, bucket boater has a crush on me.

Terrible drag fest, worst trip of all time






Lower Salmon sucks, it is definitely all frowns on all these august trips:










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Old 08-04-2016   #10
 
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Up North, Oregon
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I personally, would not take a dude rowing his family down the Rogue that has never rowed a boat, and hasn't been on the water for 20 years, even if you rowed it through blossom. Not the kind of margin I would be comfortable with, and if you have seen any of my trip reports at all, you know I get out, and am pretty comfortable with signifiant challenge. You are not over thinking it, the fact you are asking should tell you something. You say yourself you have only rowed it once. So you got 1 guy rowing it fully for the second time, leading a guy that hasn't ever rowed, and hasn't been on the water for over 20 years with kids in tow, they aren't going to walk everything. It will take too long. You might be fine, not a good recipe to me.
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