Fall Main vs Lower Salmon - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-29-2019   #1
 
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Fall Main vs Lower Salmon

im looking to raft the salmon after lottery season late Sept. I have never been on any of the salmon and was wondering which section would be more fun in late Sept. Fun being (big waves, Class III at least.)
No kids, adult trip.
Seems logistics wise lower is easier, but it looks like bigger water in the main. is the lower still fun mid sept.?
thanks

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Old 01-29-2019   #2
 
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Seattle, Washington
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both stretches will hold water just fine, and are never too low to run.

weather wise, corn creek is about 3,000 feet, and Heller bar is about 800 feet of elevation.

I'd stay low late in hopes of better weather, and I really wanted a Main trip, I'd look for an aug or early Sept cancellation permit.

I've run Hells Canyon in early Oct, first 2 days were sunny and 70, last 2 days it snowed.

"there's no bad weather just bad gear"
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Old 01-29-2019   #3
 
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I would choose the Main over the Lower anytime. It is more remote and has bigger water. The last 20 miles of the Main can be slow slow slow, but nowhere as slow as the Snake in Hells, which you meet up with on the Lower Salmon.
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Old 01-30-2019   #4
 
white salmon, Washington
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Lower Main

This will be our 5th year out there on the lower Main. We go the 2nd week of school, so like Sept 12th ish. We've had amazing hot weather where we were swimming mid day and we've had trips where we have used every single piece of gear that we brought. We've learned that it can be a mixed bag for sure. We run a trip with 4 adults and 2 kids and take our time and soak it all in. To us it's a perfect trip. Nobody is out there that time of year except Mike Beckwith and his group of cast and blaster buddies.

We do motor out from Cottonwood Creek down to Heller Bar. I wouldn't want to do that section any other way given some of the weather we have had on that last day. If we had to row out the last day last year my kids would boycott another trip. It was blowing so hard and raining cats and dogs.
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Old 01-30-2019   #5
 
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thanks for the suggestions, its a tough one for sure.
really the other benefit of the lower at that time of year that i can see is a cheaper shuttle fee. The main run seems to have bigger WH20 and is it right there is a hotspring??
Think i will do main after permit season and do a lower some time in Aug.
I love winter but i cant wait for floating season.
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Old 01-30-2019   #6
 
white salmon, Washington
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My understanding is that the lower in August is pretty busy

With kids not back in school yet and warm water trips being sold to families it's a busy time down there. Maybe look at the dates that WA, OR, and ID schoools go back and plan to go that day. We say screw it and pull our kids out but we aren't paying customers.
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Old 01-30-2019   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wharf-rat View Post
thanks for the suggestions, its a tough one for sure.
really the other benefit of the lower at that time of year that i can see is a cheaper shuttle fee. The main run seems to have bigger WH20 and is it right there is a hotspring??
Think i will do main after permit season and do a lower some time in Aug.
I love winter but i cant wait for floating season.
Yes the Main has a pretty cool hotspring. And the shuttle is awfully $$$. We only do the Lower when we can't get a MFS or Main in the summer, which has been a LONG time.

For reference, there is no "Lower Main", except some people call the Riggins-Hammer section that. From Hammer down, it is the "Lower Salmon".
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