Selway-How low can you go? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-24-2015   #1
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
Selway-How low can you go?

We have a Selway trip planned for the second week of July, unfortunately the water is dropping incredibly fast and is at or close to a historic low for this early in the season. My only experience on the Selway was around 4 feet at Paradise, also in the second week of July, however the level at Paradise today (6/24) is already down to 1.2 feet. We have scrapped the idea of taking our full size rigs, and were hoping to scrape down the top with some lightly loaded 11-12 foot rafts if we could put on with around 0.8 ft at Paradise but I am thinking it is going to be even lower, maybe closer to 0.5 feet or even less. I keep thinking the flow is going to start leveling off but it just keeps dropping. I've found some videos on youtube with kayakers going down below 0.5 feet and someone in our group has somehow taken an 18 foot bucket boat at 0.8 feet, anyone taken small rafts down at ultra low levels after permit season in a typical water year? Or do we need to start considering inner tubes and/or comfortable backpacks and hiking boots?

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Old 06-24-2015   #2
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 185
I think this is the earliest I have ever seen this post on the buzz...

Have you searched?
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Old 06-24-2015   #3
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On The River, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 92
You can go low

I've taken a 16' Riken down at .8' It wasn't easy by any means. The 14d AIRE boat did the best. The top wasn't to bad, but we go stuck everywhere. Including the first little rapid about 300ft from paradise. That thing was super tricky. Had to line thru washer woman, got stuck in Holy smokes and the low stuff below there above running creek. Ping Pong was the same get stuck and drag boat thru. Ladle was far left run, get stuck, boat fills with water and pushes you thru. No slouch, meeker and osprey all have wrap hazards as well as wolf creek. We spent 4 hrs with a wrapped boat on an entrance rock in wolf. Two come alongs and derigging onto the rocks did the trick. If I had to do that again I would go light in a raft 14ft or less or just do an IK trip.
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Old 06-24-2015   #4
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
Thanks for the advice, that helps. There is a lot of good info on some older threads and some good videos in the 0.8-1.0 ft range but unfortunately it looks like we are going to be below that. The Paradise hydrograph is pretty interesting, this year the flow is well below both 2007 and 2013, I didn't think the snowpack was as bad as those years, warm temps are sure wreaking havoc on the flows. I am out in southern Oregon now and it looks like late August here and forecast is for 108 degrees on Friday...Anyways as of today we are going to tentatively take two 12 foot NRS rafts, a 12 foot Wing cat, one or two 11.5 Puma's, and a couple IKs and any thing else small we can find or borrow to replace the IKs to spread out the gear. Have a few on the roster who may bail so may have some room on the permit too if you have a small raft and are interested in a super low water trip.
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Old 06-28-2015   #5
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 313
My friends just bailed on their July 13th launch so if there are any kayakers looking for a low water Selway that date should be coming up. Ironical that today last year we were coming off a butt kicking 41/2 foot trip saying "Crap, that was some bad ass water".
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