Main Salmon High Water Cutoff? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
 
Alpine, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Main Salmon High Water Cutoff?

So looking to raft the Main in June and obviously this year could be big. Looking for input on what people consider the cutoff level for a very experienced white water raft crew. And what gauges you are using. Thanks!

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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
 
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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I've always gone off whitebird usgs gauge for the Main. I would say if your very experienced you shouldn't have any issues. For me it comes down to Whiplash and I can't remember what level that thing goes from a big rapid to a universe bender. I wanna say around 60,000 but I'm not certain.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
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I mostly agree with Riverwild.

Chittam can get powerful, but there are sneak routes off of the wave train. I don’t remember what whiplash was like, we probably just read and run it at the time without scouting from shore.

We portaged two 14 ft rafts around chittam, ran the sneak with one 156R (lot of work rowing against a giant eddy after the sneak), and ran the meat with the other 156R.

But you might want to consider hitting the river while it’s dropping versus on the way up. Lots of giant logs with pointy stubs start floating along as the river is on the rise. The logs can be hard to see in the waves and turbulence. And the logs float unpredictably . You might have better luck with less wood if there are comparable high flows a week prior to flush things out, but don’t take my word for it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
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Old thread.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mou...4.html%3famp=1
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
 
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salmon, Idaho
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I always go off the level at the corn creek ramp. most the rapid descriptions in the black canyons guide for the salmon go off of this.. just call 208-865-2700 for the river level.

From everything i have heard it comes down to chitam and whiplash. Whiplash can be portaged but it is a long haul. I have only been at up to 3 feet which is not high at all.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
 
Ft jones, United States
Paddling Since: 1985
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I ran it solo two years ago at just under 7' on the ramp.
Whiplash wasn't much of anything, Chitham was an easy sneak right.

At that level, I liken it to a big, good natured guy who gets drunk at a party....
Yeah, he might stumble into you and knock you down, but he's not gonna kick you in the ribs afterwards.
I wouldn't necessarily choose that level again, but didn't think it was dangerous.
I would like to see it at 8+ feet.

Ben
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
 
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: May 2013
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Ran it at 8.5ft, put on July 1, 2011. The first class II a couple miles in had some huge haystacks. Whiplash looked terrible, wasn't so bad. Chittum was fun, could make different runs. I went and pulled the gauges from that day, the combined cfs of the Middle Fork and Main just above Corn was 32,000cfs. Whitebird was around 65k by the looks of it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
 
Eureka, California
Paddling Since: 1991
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In my youth (40), we did the Main in June 1995, the old ramp was 5.9 ft, @20K, and about 50K at Whitebird when we got off. My sweetie and 14 yr old son were in a WW canoe, I was in a solo canoe on a commercial raft trip. Chittum was the only rapid, everything else was washed out with boils and eddy fences galore.

At Chittum, my solo was on a raft with me, but hubbie and son ran, up right, Chittum. In hind sight it was probably one of the stupidist things i let them do. If something had gone wrong, well . . . Some place I have a picture of a big jet boat entering Chittum, next pic it's gone, then resurfaces, the holes etc were huge. One of the safety kayakers got sucked out and swam last half. A few days before one of my thigh straps blew out and it was several miles before a raft caught up with me.

Overall it was a good trip, and gave my sweetie the confidence to do the GC in a tandem canoe, but not with me or son. Balance of our Main, MF, & Lower have all been in August - very different

Happy paddling!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
 
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Redside's recollection seems right to me. Whiplash starts to become a rapid at around 7.5 (30,000cfs) on the Corn Creek scale. It's not to bad at 8 but gets quickly more intimidating as flows increase. The first rapid Killum gets big at 7 + but you'll likely get surfed off the wave train to the right. Chittum should be scouted and there are several routes on the right out of the meat. Other rapids are washed out but always beware of that irregular wave that pops up out of nowhere and slams you from the side. At above 7.5 all the sandy camps are underwater (no beaches). You'll be camping in the trees. Advise everyone to stay in the boat; trying to catch swimmers is a bitch. Bring your high float jacket. If you've run other rivers at high water you know the drill. Happy Boating!
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