Rogue newbie questions - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 11-16-2009   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Rogue newbie questions

A few friends and I want to do a multi-day wilderness raft trip. We all kayak in class II/III stuff here in NC. About 4 yrs ago we went on a Green River trip (4 days) below Flaming Gorge, taking out before Dinosaur and the permit section. We did this with an oar rig and IK. That was way too much flatwater for us, but a good trip otherwise. I have a paddle raft and feel pretty comfortable on class III+ stuff in that. Our river reading skills are fairly good and we have been paddling for several years but with faimilies, etc. we just don't get to go enough to progress in more difficult rivers. We are all fairly experienced backpack campers.

So in looking for a trip for us Oregon seemed like a good choice because there isn't much within driving distance of here (charlotte, NC) and we are all wanting to go West anyways. It looks like the Rogue would be really great, but we feel like it might be a bit above our current skills. I've checked out all the online resources and am still not sure. We would love to run our own trip (assuming we get a permit) but there is also the "row-your-own" option that several commercial outfitters offer on the rogue, but that is a little costly and we are afraid it may try to "appeal to the masses" a bit more than we would like. Another option I have found would be a multi-day on the Grande Ronde; which looks a little tamer than we had in mind. So here are the questions:
Can we do the rogue on our own or is it too much for our skills?
Is there anything we can do between now and then that would allow us to hit it with confidence? (I was thinking of putting an oar rig on my raft to give us some practive on III/IV stuff around here - oar rigs are not common at all in this part of the country)
Any river that would be better suited to our skills and expectations?

Thanks for any replies!

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Old 11-16-2009   #2
 
Grangeville, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
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Another option in that area could be the Klamath in Northern Cali, class II-III+. No permit needed and you can make it a 2 - 7 day trip due to all the access points.
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Old 11-16-2009   #3
Shapp
 
the grove, Oregon
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Sounds like you are hesitant at boating class III on multiday. I would recommend the full Grande Ronde (/wallowa) from Minam to the Snake River at Heller Bar for a big long great paddle only one Class III in mid-summer (July). I would also recommend the Lower Salmon from White Bird to Heller Bar on the Snake late-summer (August) several Class IIIs (although straight forward). No lottery for either stretch, easier than the Rogue, significantly longer, and you can start planning your trip now or when ever as you don't need to wait for a permit date. You can run your own trip. PM for logistics if you choose either of these. They are great entry level multiday options that are "out west".
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Old 11-16-2009   #4
 
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at my house, Montana
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Based on his description of his experience, I'd be a bit leery of the Lower Salmon, especially depending on flows. If they are Class III tops, Snowhole and Eye of the Needle might be more than they want (can't really sneak those), and Snowhole has no walk-around. China might also be intimidating, it is a piece of cake and boring with the right line, but the wrong line has some consequences. It can be walked.

If you are ready to step it up to some mild Class IV-, then it might be a good option. It has lots of fun Class II-III wave trains, is uncrowded (avoid holidays), and has great beaches. The lack of lottery permit is nice, and it is the easiest of all the Salmons.

Have you considered Utah?, Desolation canyon (Green River above town of Green River) is a popular Class III I hear.
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Old 11-16-2009   #5
 
West By God, Wyoming
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I'd say go ahead and do the Rogue, as long as its at a moderate level. You can sneak Rainey Falls, so Blossom Bar is the only real challenge, but even then its not that hard, just be sure to scout it and set safety. My only other advice is to keep a close eye on each other through Mule Creek Canyon because it is pretty continuous in there.
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Old 11-16-2009   #6
Shapp
 
the grove, Oregon
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I suggested August for a reason. My read is that all the hardest rapids on the lower salmon are Class three during late summer flows (August), even snow hole. You hit anything in the middle of snowhole and flip you and your boat will be relatively fine. All of these have good scouts anyways, except China (which is way easier than Blossom on the Rogue). Regardless, all the rapids on the L. Salmon are easier than Blossom at low to moderate flows. F-ing up on Blossom doesn't have consequences?. It is a boat and people eater if you don't make the ferry right. Need I remind anyone how many folks drowned in Blossom the last couple years. When was the last downing on the L. Salmon?

Not to say the rogue is all that difficult, but if you have to ask the question on the internet, this begs question of ones skills.
If you can boat class III, the lower salmon is totally read and run at low summer flows IMHO.
PM if you want all the details you could need for the L. Salmon or Grande Ronde
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Old 11-16-2009   #7
Shapp
 
the grove, Oregon
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In addition, the take out for the whole grande ronde is the same as the Lower salmon, you could do the GR (over 90 miles) restock in Lewiston then hit the Lower salmon (74 miles). Now that would be a great trip and a reason to make a drive out west (or flying/renting?). The rogue is way shorter (grave creek to foster, less than 40 miles). What ever you choose you will be stoked. SYOTR.
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Old 11-16-2009   #8
 
Rainy Northwest, Washington
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go for it

I think the Rogue is very manageable with solid class III skills. I ran it the weekend before last. Do the fish ladder at Rainie Falls, scout Blossom Bar, and you should be fine.
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Old 11-16-2009   #9
 
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at my house, Montana
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They key factors for me here are:

1) No mentioned experience with a gear boat, only a paddle boat mentioned. Way different in what Class you can handle since the approach (oar) and timing (weight) is so different.
2) Class III paddle boat only

Given those, I'd be leery to recommending to anyone, sight unseen, to do those 3 rapids on the LS without further research. Beta requests aren't just to make sure they won't die, they are looking to have some fun without everyone ending up crying. They can take our info, do more research, and decide for themselves. I can't compare the LS to the Rogue since I've no experience on the Rogue. But you are correct, death on the LS? None that I'm aware of.

At least this way they are finding out what rapids might be of interest to them, and the consequences. I'd say they darn well better get some oar rig experience ahead of time if going it alone, even if it's not loaded with gear. But again, that all depends on them, and our advice is FWIW (or at least mine), which varies daily!
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Old 11-17-2009   #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Thanks to all. I know it is difficult to get an idea of someone's skillset from a forum explanation. Until you boat with someone it is tough to get a handle on. Even then, sometimes people get lucky. And I have been boating long enough to know that luck can make people falsely confident which can lead them into tragic situations. That being said, safety is always a top priority for me and posting on here for beta from people who genuinely seem to know the river and are likeminded as to safety seems to be the smart move. In the end it is my group's decision and our responsibility to gather enough info to make a good decision.

Our limited experience in an oar rig has been on the Green below Flaming Gorge dam. The weight of that thing was ridiculous (the folks we rented from were very knowledgable and helpful, but I think they erred on the side of too much stuff and I felt like we could have gone on a two week expedition, not a 4 day trip). I can completely agree that making that thing move in comparisson to a paddle raft is very different, and I am sure the learning curve would be similar for an oar rig person trying to do the paddle raft gig. River reading skills are a bit more universal.

I also looked at the Lower Salmon and will revisit that as well. I would like to do a late July Early August trip to catch "moderate" water levels. We want to hit some whitewater and be challenged by the experience, but we want to have a good and SAFE time. Thanks for all of the advice from everyone and please feel free to add anything further to the discussion. I am sure I will be posting more questions soon.
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