Hells Canyon High Flow Beta - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-20-2017   #1
 
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Nampa, Idaho
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Hells Canyon High Flow Beta

I've only boated Hells during 9,000 CFS middle September Flows. Its in the 50 and 60K levels now. I am planning to run it in one day next weekend with my friend. I wanted to bring my 14 and 15 year old kids and let them pilot their own boat. I watched a video of someone doing it last week and a lot of the bigger rapids like wild sheep and granite looked washed out, like big wave trains. Has anyone done Hells at high flow? What are the big rapids like, class 3 or class 4? easier at higher flow or harder?
https://youtu.be/FdZzdhLC39Q

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Old 04-21-2017   #2
 
Meridian, Idaho
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Its pretty big pushy water for a young boater. I let my 15 yo son row it in a cat last year at 60k but we had a good sized group of experienced boaters. I have always contended that 35-45k is where the real fun and trouble is.
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Old 04-21-2017   #3
 
BOISE, Idaho
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Ran it once around 75K CFS. The rapids didn't look a lot different than than they do at 30K CFS. The big difference is the edge fences are big enough to keep the elk in, and the water boils that come out of nowhere, are plenty big enough to knock you off your boat, if you are not playing attention.

On the other hand, the Green Room becomes one of the best natural water slides in the Northwest, and you can 'day trip' the deepest canyon in North America.

Good Luck and have fun.
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Old 04-23-2017   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRAFTER View Post
Ran it once around 75K CFS. The rapids didn't look a lot different than than they do at 30K CFS. The big difference is the edge fences are big enough to keep the elk in, and the water boils that come out of nowhere, are plenty big enough to knock you off your boat, if you are not playing attention.



On the other hand, the Green Room becomes one of the best natural water slides in the Northwest, and you can 'day trip' the deepest canyon in North America.



Good Luck and have fun.

Thanks for the beta. That is our goal to do it in one day. Although, I did have a question about the green room. Does that mean your line goes through the green room?


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Old 04-23-2017   #5
 
BOISE, Idaho
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It's been several years since I ran Hell's Canyon at this high of flow, if you experience something different please let me know.

The traditional Green Room is a hole that opens up enough to run boats through without the recirculating wave to flip your vessel. The Green Room opens somewhere around 20-25K, I'm not certain the exact flow, but at 50K plus you won't recognize what was the Green Room.

I'm not sure I can explain it correctly, but at higher flows, Granite Creek Rapid moves down river about a 100 yds, and become a constriction rapid, instead of a rock in the river (that forms the Green Room) rapid. If you have ever scouted Granite at lower flows, from RR, the first wave you encounter will be past that scouting point. After you take an exhilarating ride over what was the Green Room, you'll run into a short serious of 15 - 20 ft waves. It's not a wave train, as they will come at you from all directions. At this point you can probably drop you oars and just hang on, but it's always nice to be in control and turn into the next impending wave peak. As I said, it's pretty short, maybe 6-7 waves and as always, Granite has a great recovery pool, in the event you need to swim back to your boat, or rescue someone else's boat.

Sheep Creek was washed out, enter just left of center, working right and you might not even get wet. You won't have to pick an entrance slot as all the rocks are under water.

The rest of the rapid are according to the book and you can read and run all of them.
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Old 04-23-2017   #6
 
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Thanks!!
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Old 04-24-2017   #7
 
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Hells Canyon High Flow Beta

Good video that illustrates the green room that he mentioned above:
https://youtu.be/J4dLEb5nibM

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Old 12-11-2019   #8
 
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Ive been running Hc for about 15 yrs. Have run it from 9k to 35k. 35 and above washes the technical out of all but wild sheep. The wildest trip ive run is in aug 2017 on the hottest day of the year. Our first mistake was putting on laye in the afternoon arond 430. Never been that late on and never again. Discharge was max because of all the airconditioners running...did i mention 117 °f?. Water was so pushy lead noat lost their bearings and we were at wild sheep in about half an hour instead of 2 hrs. Too pushy to get off and scout. Wild sheep rock in the middle was covered w 3 ft of water and we went right over the top of it, couldnt do anyting else but go down the center with waves 10 feet above our heads and only a 15' channel. Within 20 minutes we are hitting granite and it is down the middle and pushed to the right...hit the wall but stayed in...

Got off as soon as possible and changed our pants. Never saw anyting like this. Moral of the story never go on late. We had some kind of vortex phenomena going because of the major dumps. Lach saw was never as wild as that day. Class 4 was class 6. Lucky to get off wout dumping. If anyone else has ever experienced anything like this would love to hear their tale
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Old 12-12-2019   #9
 
Boise, Idaho
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I've run it as low as 8,000 and as high as 74,800. I believe I have somewhere around 80+ runs down Hells Canyon under my belt. My favorite flows are 8-12k.
When I ran it at 64k most everything was washed out. There are a few pockets up high that were surprising; largish rogue waves. Sheep and Granite were pushy with the waves coming in from different angles. I did not have any problems.
When I ran it at 74.9k, I thought "No problems at 60k, it should just be faster and easier at 74.9...more washed out". So, I took my 16 year old son. Man was I wrong. We had a boat flip about a mile into the trip. We got on it but, with two boats pulling, could not budge it from the current. Before you know it we were heading over Wild Sheep. We had 2 more boats flip in Wild Sheep. However, the Sheep flips were good because the folks were able to self-rescue. We were still on the original flipped boat. Then Granite. We went through Granite followed by the flipped boat. Granite did us a favor and flipped it back over. Sadly, the kitchen box decided to stay in the water. I put my buddy back on his boat. Then me and the only other guy that didn't flip took off after the kitchen box. That box was too fast for us and we were too exhausted from pulling on a flipped boat for 5 miles. We never saw it again.
We camped at Salt Creek about an 2 hours and 45 minutes after we put on at the ramp (and that was with a 30 minute stop at Johnson Bar). Tied our boats to the kitchen tree (the one that used to have the wagon wheel). A few of us had some dutch ovens so we were able to cook our meals and made some chopsticks from branches. It was an awesome trip.
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