Advise on MFSalmon trip - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-01-2013   #1
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: May 2013
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Advise on MFSalmon trip

So I have a trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon on June 3rd and need some advise on what boat to take. I bought a kayak last october and have been obsessed ever since! My first trip I did a class II-III section (moab daily) and did fine, then did a class IV section (westwater) and swam 4 times (horrible trip).. after that I did the class III again and was bored, so I practiced my roll some more and decided to do westwater again and then I nailed every rapid (no swims, no rolls).... These past couple months I have kayaked some of Arizona's small creeks and only swam once (Verde Falls).. I've successfully rolled multiple times in these small creeks, but am a little worried MFS might be too much... On the other hand I also think I could improve my kayaking ten fold on this trip and I also have a lot more fun in a kayak for some reason... Another factor in this decision is Ive never seen this river either, but the trip leader is actually a guide on that same stretch, but only on rafts, not kayaks... any advise would be appreciated

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Old 05-01-2013   #2
 
Walterville, Oregon
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Two factors to consider. The water will be very cold. The river is not pool/drop and moves very fast.
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Old 05-01-2013   #3
 
Cottonwood, Arizona
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If you are confident in your ability to manuver, brace, and roll in turbulent water, think about taking a kayak. That said, the Middle Fork is not like the Verde or Moab daily. The first day or two will keep your attention but be very rewarding. Have fun and be safe
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Old 05-01-2013   #4
 
boulder, Colorado
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how can you climb the ladder if you don't take the steps?.....get out there...go prepared....and pay attention all the time....you'll be rewarded....just like we all have....you'd probably kick yourself for not stepping up to the challenge anyway....

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Old 05-01-2013   #5
 
pocatello, Idaho
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just to muddy the water-

a ducky maybe?

If I was the trip leader I wouldn't feel comfortable putting you in a kayak in early June flows for a 100 mile wilderness trip. UNLESS you get on the water a ton between now and then and solidify those skills.

That being said if you swim a bunch you can just strap the boat to a raft and get a break. there are a bunch of intermediate sections to rebuild confidence.

You are welcome for no help at all.
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Old 05-01-2013   #6
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
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a ducky? wouldnt that be worse? those are so flimsy i feel like I would swim for sure in one of those...
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Old 05-01-2013   #7
 
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Lewistown, middle of MT
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The Middle Fork isn't like many other rivers. There is very little down time. Think carefully. I had a kayak strapped to my boat for too many miles when someone without the skills to run it, tried it. Not saying that's you, but it's a tough river. By the way whatever you decide it's the adventure of a lifetime.
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Old 05-01-2013   #8
 
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portland, Oregon
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a ducky? wouldnt that be worse? those are so flimsy i feel like I would swim for sure in one of those...
If you are not proficient with a kayak, it would be worse on an IK. You may as well just wear a drysuit and body float the river

Kayaks have an advantage in maneuverability that big boats dont have. As long as your river reading skills are good you should be able to avoid maybe 80% of the hazards
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Old 05-01-2013   #9
 
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portland, Oregon
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The Middle Fork isn't like many other rivers. There is very little down time. Think carefully. I had a kayak strapped to my boat for too many miles when someone without the skills to run it, tried it. Not saying that's you, but it's a tough river. By the way whatever you decide it's the adventure of a lifetime.
Dont make it the Last one
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Old 05-01-2013   #10
 
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Middle Fork Salmon during the first week of June will NOT be the same thing as westwater at any time during the last 6 months. Obviously I do not know the details of river levels or the lines you took but Westwater when you did it was probably class III and forgiving.

First week of June MFS will be run off and will likely be cold (probably about the only thing that it shares with Westy when you did it), pushy like nothing you have seen before, faster than anything you have done and continuous with a high likelyhood of long cold swims if you end up out of your boat.

My suggestion would be talk to your TL and see if you can take your kayak and stow it on a raft get a feel for the river the first 1-2 days and then pick your battle and start with "easier" stuff. The first 2 days will be the fastest most continuous, skip them and get in your boat day 3 or later and even then don't feel bad about getting back in a raft. Proper gear helps a lot if you have a drysuit you can be a little more adventurous.

That being said if you are mentally tough and have a good roll you will have a great time.

I lost a buddy on that river last year, don't take it lightly.
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