Class IV/V kayak multidays - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-09-2010   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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Class IV/V kayak multidays

Yo Buzzards...

Looking for class IV/V multiday kayak self support runs in the west. Ideal candidates would have quality IV/V whitewater, a couple of nights on the river, minimal hike in/out, minimal heinous portaging, great scenery, no permit lottery, and reliable flows.

#1 on the list for this year is middle fork of the feather in Cali. Was trying to search for some backups in case flows / timing / schedules don't work out for the feather.

I've read some good stuff about the south fork of the salmon.

Upper Animas seems like it would fit the bill, but its a little short and has raft and train traffic. Would prefer to go only where kayaks can go.

Black Canyon sounds like its got more than its fair share of misery. Looking for minimal misery, maximum whitewater.

Not interested in the monster hike in V+ stuff. Also want something you can't do as day trips like linking up roadside runs.

Any other classics out there that don't require a mountaineering expedition to get to, a 100 yr storm to get running, or a snowballs chance in hell lottery? Timing windows I am looking at are 1st week of may or 1st 1/2 of june.

What other classic IV/V multidays are out there?

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Old 02-09-2010   #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thoughts...

Hey,
You are on the right track with the M. Feather. Absolutely fantastic multi-day trip. If possible, get it. South Fork of the Salmon at high flows is another awesome run. We observed a mountain lion, others in the group had close encounters with wolves... Rapids are enormous, with big clean lines and monster holes to dodge. Secesh into S.Fork is preferrable, EFSF into SF is excellent, but either way is more than worthy. It should be noted that at high flows, the S. Fork has some very solid, big water class V and the Secesh and East Fork South Fork Salmon both have some solid V-V+ rapids that do not have much in the way of recovery pools.
NF of the Trinity in CA is also a multi-day trip that is absolutely packed with great whitewater (IV-V+) and depending on the crew, only one mandatory portage. We were shocked that we had not heard more buzz about it after hitting this run...

Never have got to Deer or Mill Creek in California, though they both seem like runs that would be scenic and memorable with lots of whitewater. There are good write-ups on both from oregonkayaking.

On a mellower note... The Jarbidge/Bruneau in ID with flows over 1000 cfs. is jaw-dropping, though lacking major whitewater. I doubt you would be disappointed though, and 4 days was too short. Illinois in Oregon is also excellent, though again is mellow on whitewater.

Have fun and good luck with flows.
Dave
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Old 02-09-2010   #3
 
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Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
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Ian,

Check out Forks of the Kern. I'm looking at that for Cali in May prior to the permit season. 17 miles, class IV-V, wilderness, 2 mi hike to the river. Would like to do it as a one day trip. This all is dependent on flows though.

California Creeks - Forks of the Kern
California Creeks - Brush Creek
California Creeks - Dry Meadow Creek

We're thinking about a strike trip, 6days max including drive.
Day 1; drive there
Day 2; lap brush creek, set shuttle for forks of kern, maybe get some gear down to the river
Day 3; forks
Day 4; finish forks or if done, fire up dry meadow
Day 5; dry meadow if not done day before or drive home
Day 6; drive home if not on 5day plan
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Old 02-09-2010   #4
 
alta, Utah
Join Date: May 2004
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EFSF is awesome. Also consider: Jarbidge/Bruneau (1 portage..not bad), west fork of the Bruneau, Piedra river, and the Illinois river in Oregon. These are some of my faves. Paddling the upper (above the bridge--float section) San Rafeal + black boxes makes a nice incredibly scenic 3 day/2night excursion but, you have to catch the flow just right....around 800 to 900 is a reasonable. Not so class V'ish but, I have never had a bad day on the middle fork of the salmon before permit season. Barry
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Old 02-09-2010   #5
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Ian,
Go with the 1st week of may for middle feather, the flows should be perfect and more predictable because it is snowmelt. The gauge at milsap seems very variable from year to year, we did it two years ago at 1500 and it was significantly higher than last year when we did it at 1800, but by may people will have gone in and you will have a good idea on flows.
I think jarbridge/bruneau is a great multiday run I would mark it down as a good class 3 with a few 4's and jarbridge falls. It is an amazing trip but the whitewater is lacking for sure, I would save this one for when your old and have the role of joe keck.
Another run out in cali to consider is the generation/giant gap combo, it can be done in an easy 2 days but would be cool to do some side hikes and make it a 3 day trip. The level of difficulty is a 4/5 level besides a few in dream gap (can portage) and if its high one in giant gap (difficult portage). The quality isn't anywhere near middle feather but the scenery is top notch and it isn't very crowded. The downfall is that you said you don't want to hike, there is a easy 3 mile hike in all downhill.
As far as mill/deer creek go, I doubt they will have enough water but if they do I have heard good things about them, but check out dreamflows for some links.
I think doing a middle fork salmon into main salmon before season would be cool, but I don't think it is what your looking for. As far as the south fork goes I think june would be better as in may it will probably be very high and a bit harder that you want (I haven't done it but have talked to a few and it seems that it isn't 4-5 at high flows).
I also remember Adam doing a 4-5 day trip on the rio grande over like 50 miles, I think he posted a video somewhere, that would be cool but the whitewater would be lacking for a few days but the upper box is as good as it gets (but a bit harder than 4-5).
I think your bet to go out to cali in early may will be a good one and I think that middle feather will be going, that run is better than any other listed by me or anyone else so far, it has it all great scenery great rapids and crazy rednecks at milsap (if you play your cards right you might see a meth deal go down like us)
-Tom
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Old 02-09-2010   #6
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Golden, Colorado
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i don't think you have to hike in or out on the Stikine, and it's definitely an overnight. then again, i believe there is a portage at site zed. it's also kind of far away.
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Old 02-09-2010   #7
 
ashland, Oregon
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I think the chances that Mill and Deer Creek having a good year are high. I'm planning on a Deer Creek trip this year myself ( I might go this weekend if the flow goes as predicted, of course I live 4 hours from the put-in) But I would think this is the best year to plan a Ca. trip in sometime due to the El Nino conditions. California-Nevada River Forecast Center puts out a 5 day forecast that is pretty accurate once snow-melt season starts ( you can find one for the the MF Feather on the same page)
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Old 02-09-2010   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pretender View Post
I think the chances that Mill and Deer Creek having a good year are high. I'm planning on a Deer Creek trip this year myself ( I might go this weekend if the flow goes as predicted, of course I live 4 hours from the put-in) But I would think this is the best year to plan a Ca. trip in sometime due to the El Nino conditions. California-Nevada River Forecast Center puts out a 5 day forecast that is pretty accurate once snow-melt season starts ( you can find one for the the MF Feather on the same page)
Hey Pretender,
I know predicting Deer and Mill is serious guesswork... but what is your best guess on a 10 day window that would be most likely for flows on either creek this spring? Always wanted to make one of those happen and there is plenty to do nearby.
Thanks
Dave
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Old 02-09-2010   #9
 
Golden, Colorado
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Hey Ian

I could be down for a S. Fork Salmon trip. Lasted week I was enlisted to row for a Middle Fork Trip on May 30 (Yee hah!), so I will be up that way anyway in late May / early June. That looks like fantastic wilderness boating in there!

B
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Old 02-09-2010   #10
 
ashland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonefly View Post
Hey Pretender,
I know predicting Deer and Mill is serious guesswork... but what is your best guess on a 10 day window that would be most likely for flows on either creek this spring? Always wanted to make one of those happen and there is plenty to do nearby.
Thanks
Dave
It's funny you should ask, because I was thinking the same thing, because a group of us are planning a 9 day trip to the Sierra this year. I have no experience with sierra streams so I couldn't say. Lucky for me I'm close enough to go when the gauge says it's time. Try posting your question on boof.com and hopefully someone in the know will give you a educated guess.
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