Selway early July - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-02-2015   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Selway early July

Anyone venture a guess on what the flow at Paradise might be this year second week of July? I have only been down once before but that was after a great snow year and our flow was 4 ft at the put in in mid July, I was thinking it might be around half of that this time around from looking at some of the SNOTEL sites but it is tough to tell. Looks like the Selway basin is at 69% SWE and 109% precipitation water year to date today, seems a bit better than most of the other northern Idaho sites. Wondering how light we need to go to minimize getting hung up, how much food/beer/ice we can take etc...planning to take a 15 footer down. Any advice much appreciated!

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Old 05-02-2015   #2
 
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SLC, Utah
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I've guided up there four trips a summer for the last 8 years. I would guess that flow will be low probably around 1.5' at paradise maybe lower. With the selway you can always get a rain bump here and there but it's gonna be low especially on the top. The lowest I've gone down was .8' on the gauge and we had a 16' Riken and a 14d aire. The aire boat did way better than the 16ft. We had a really hard time getting the 16 thru washer woman on the right side and ladle down the far left side, mainly cause it was so much wider. Take a 14' raft or smaller and just know that you will be dragging on rocks. You can always fly gear into shearer airstrip as well to make it easier on yourself. At low water the selway becomes a different beast there are wrap hazards everywhere and the big rapids are still hard but very different. Good luck in wolf creek! Pm me if you want any more beta on the selway.
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Old 05-03-2015   #3
 
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U not daho, Idaho
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Hopefully the water holds out for you. I had a trip the last week of July 2014. Paradise was between 1.0 and 1.2 ft. We had a little drag through ping pong alley. Stay awake and on the oars. Boulders/wrap hazards. This video shows the river at those flows:
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Old 05-03-2015   #4
 
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SLC, Utah
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low water selway

Yeah nice video, that gives you some idea what it will be like. They look like they had a bunch of super small boats that I'm sure made it really easy. I had to laugh at the shots of ping pong though. Its a drag no matter what, but really a drag if you go down the middle and left like they did. The normal shot is far right side. Lots of rocks have been moved over the years and it seems to be getting easier. Some interesting lines in Ladle as well. If you choose to fly gear in you can easily leave it at the airport in Hamilton, MT and it will be waiting for you at shearer airstrip.
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Old 05-04-2015   #5
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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We launched around 1-1.2

I got lucky to go with folks who had been down 10-30 times and Ping Pong Alley was a clean run for everyone. Sneaky little bugger that takes a deceptive line.

Washer Woman seemed like one of the crux moves for sure. Not a lot of room to maneuver in there. Didn't really find it a fun rapid at that level either.

Wolf Creek was just plain funky. I had a clean run but its like no other rapid I have seen when its at low water. Didn't help that there was a nasty snag at the entrance.

Ladle was a fun challenge. Double Drop at that level was just beautiful.

It would be great to see it at another level but grateful for the one trip I have experienced. Definitely the trip I have had the most concern about pins and getting stuck.

Enjoy.
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Old 06-29-2015   #6
 
Springville, Utah
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What's the lowest you would take rafts down?

Thanks for the good info.

What's the lowest on the paradise guage that you would take 14 oar rigs down? We're launching on July 3. Trying to determine what the cut-off is from oar-rigs to self support? All competent boaters, none have seen the Selway.

It's already down to 1ft today.
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Old 06-29-2015   #7
 
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SLC, Utah
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1'

I think that the lowest I would take down a 14' raft would be maybe .5'. At .8' it was pretty tough getting down the top end in an Aire 14d. We did some really good team lining thru washer woman down the right side and learned from our mistakes the previous week and styled them thru there with no issue. We got stuck a lot, but really did pretty good up top. But we all had about 35+ Selway trips under our belt most of them at low water. It really was nice to have myself paddle ahead in an IK and set up where the boats were going to get stuck. They would come in and get stuck and I would push them off. This only really worked because I know that river really well. It was also nice because I could tell a boat to wait while another was stuck instead of having them pile up on top of each other. We did have a very experienced guide wrap a boat at wolf creek that took 4 hours, and two come alongs to get off the rock. If I was with a group that had never seen the Selway before I would seriously consider taking IKs at the flows you will have. I mean yeah sure you can do it, but it isn't fun. And when I go on a river trip I am looking to have fun rather than work my tail off. Or just take really light small rafts and realize that you’re going to be stuck a lot. I have to say I had a blast in my IK but it sure was nice to have a lot of cold beer on those rafts.
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Old 06-29-2015   #8
 
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Portland, Oregon
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[QUOTE=screamingeagle;405305If I was with a group that had never seen the Selway before I would seriously consider taking IKs at the flows you will have. I mean yeah sure you can do it, but it isn't fun. And when I go on a river trip I am looking to have fun rather than work my tail off. Or just take really light small rafts and realize that you’re going to be stuck a lot. I have to say I had a blast in my IK but it sure was nice to have a lot of cold beer on those rafts.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, listen to the Eagle. I've done it at around the 1.0/.9 range in 10 ft rafts and IKs. Now we don't know the river that well so we might be a good comparison. Eagle obviously knows his shit and I've seen folks like him style big round boats through rapids that got some of our Ducks stuck. We pare down to almost backpacking light--superlight fire pan, one small cooler, more whisky than beer, etc. That said I was still stuck many many times the first day on my last trip. I was actually unhappy and exhausted from all the hang ups and nearly getting run over or dragged when we finally pulled into camp that first night. Imagine that, unhappy on the Selway! Don't let it be you. Bust out the duckies, whisperlite, and Jim Beam and enjoy the river!
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Old 06-30-2015   #9
 
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On The River, Idaho
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Yeah I second the IKs. There is something that is just so fun about the simplicity of not bringing the kitchen sink. I love backbacker style IK trips. You can still bring luxuries but you just have to think about it differently.
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Old 07-07-2015   #10
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
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.9 on the gauge yesterday. Saw a group heading down in packarafts. NFS launched as well but I didn't see what raft they were in.
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