September Low Water MF - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-28-2018   #1
 
SW, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2018
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September Low Water MF

Iím kicking around the idea of putting together a late September MF trip launching around the 20th if I flame out again with the lottery. It would most likely be with 2 16í rafts and maybe one 14í. Iíve tried to do the research and know that Iíd most likely have to fly in some gear to Indian Creek and maybe just fly everything in and start there. Having never been on the MF is it silly to even try the upper part at this flow with minimal gear? I donít mind a little work but donít want to get ourselves in a bad situation and/or be completely miserable. I would also really like to see the upper section from Boundary down to Indian. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 01-29-2018   #2
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so you already have a permit then because the only open date in September is the 30th? 16 sounds a bit big to me but I a not a mfs expert.
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Old 01-29-2018   #3
 
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well the good news is that you will be able to pick up a cancelled permit within a day or 2 of your hopeful sept launch date after permit season ends. The biggest logistics issue is day light. 9/20 is 12 hours of dark! And in the canyon you can add 3 hours of dusk a day too. So you really only have about 10 hours of light a day. I would not recommend running the top if you have not done it in low water before. 3 hours of time spent pulling off rocks could break your trip. It gets cold so you need heavy weather gear. You wont need big coolers or ice. To be honest that is my fav time to float. You just need to be ready for the long cold nights. Get up and on the water early. Collect wood all day. Soak all night. No people.
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Old 01-29-2018   #4
 
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O and you need to work out your shuttle early too. Most companies have slowed way down by then. Some are in full hunting mode. You will end up paying/tipping more for shuttles and support that time of year.
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Old 01-29-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyclay View Post
Iím kicking around the idea of putting together a late September MF trip launching around the 20th if I flame out again with the lottery. It would most likely be with 2 16í rafts and maybe one 14í. Iíve tried to do the research and know that Iíd most likely have to fly in some gear to Indian Creek and maybe just fly everything in and start there. Having never been on the MF is it silly to even try the upper part at this flow with minimal gear? I donít mind a little work but donít want to get ourselves in a bad situation and/or be completely miserable. I would also really like to see the upper section from Boundary down to Indian. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
A few things:

We have a pretty skimpy snowpack, which means lower than normal flows late September.

Without knowing what rivers you have been on at low flow it would be ridiculous to guess how you would do.

16s would be hard for lots of people. Most would want to be in something smaller. I run a 17 but I have been down this stretch a lot at low water, know where I need to be and am fairly impervious to pain.

I have seen novices in lightly loaded boats do just fine following me. I have also seen 'very experienced' boaters on the verge of tears after the first five miles, had a couple of major patch parties in the same stretch and also seen another group pack up and walk back to the put in from 5 miles down.

Last year we had a pretty experienced boater wrap badly in The Chutes. Nothing much lost or nobody hurt but took an hour and a Z drag to get him off. That was in a 12 footer.

The shuttle will be the least of your worries, Blackadar runs late in the season and does a great job.

I am not saying don't do it, but it can be heaven or hell. Sometimes in the same day. The top is amazingly beautiful with some really fun drops. It is also fairly non-stop at low water as you are constantly maneuvering in between the rapids to stay off the rocks.

I love the challenge but have found that it is not as much fun for everyone else. I pick my boating partners carefully for the fall trip.
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Old 01-29-2018   #6
 
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Originally Posted by carvedog View Post
A few things:

We have a pretty skimpy snowpack, which means lower than normal flows late September.


.
Lower than what??? Like this year on September 20th the MFS will .1 foot lower than average. So instead of 2.0 it will be 1.9. Bahahaha heeeheeheh weeee that is a good.

Blackadar is spendy. If youre going to spend that kind of cash, I'd pony up and just pay for the Mackay to Indian air shuttle and get the main and MFS. Leave the car at corn.
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Old 01-30-2018   #7
 
evanston, Wyoming
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My buddies routinely run light load aire jags at low water from the top end. Usually with softer tubes. It really helps to follow someone who knows the low water routes as some are not obvious. Leidecker's guide helps some.
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Old 01-30-2018   #8
 
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my low water MF experience:

pick a cooler or a passenger, not both in the same boat

use a raft and run the floor half full and the tubes 67%. the catboat doesn't have more clearance, and it drafts deeper.

at 1.57 I did it in a 14' gear boat, with a cooler and a passenger. I'd do it again but I wouldn't recommend it. We saw 3 dudes and all gear in a 16' raft, and they got down but gotdang it didn't look fun

10-12' self bailers with 1 person self support is the way to go.

you can fly stuff in but it's just more expense. pack properly for the conditions and do the whole trip, those upper 30 miles are supremely fun, if you have the skills.

I dunno how much lower from 1.57 I would wanna go without downsizing to a 12' or nixing either cooler or passenger

Out here in WA, we recommend rowing the Green River Gorge at about 1000 cfs to get a good feel for what the upper MF is like at 1.5'
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Old 01-30-2018   #9
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These are the ones I work with:

Blackadar $300 plus fuel

Stanley Shuttles $250 plus fuel. They don't run early or late season at all.

CTC - I usually use them for bus transport off the river back to Stanley, they do car shuttles too or did. I am not going to quote the price as this was several years ago.


No experience with these guys:

CIRS $270 ( no mention of fuel)

All Rivers $295 plus fuel



And not getting into a pissing match with DBK. Last Sept was almost two feet which is actually pretty easy. The closer it gets to 1.5 the more pain is involved. I have done it four times under 1.45 and that becomes a whole different animal. To translate

We will not see anything close to two feet this September.

Currently 1.68 and almost 700 cfs. Under 1.4 is around 400 cfs as an FYI.
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Old 01-30-2018   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbagkayaker View Post
Lower than what??? Like this year on September 20th the MFS will .1 foot lower than average. So instead of 2.0 it will be 1.9. Bahahaha heeeheeheh weeee that is a good.

Blackadar is spendy. If youre going to spend that kind of cash, I'd pony up and just pay for the Mackay to Indian air shuttle and get the main and MFS. Leave the car at corn.
Or it could be 1.5 instead of 2.0 - that's a big difference! I was lucky enough to do a Sept 23 launch from the top with Jerry. We put on at 1.7 on a rain spike but was back to 1.53 by Indian Cr. I'm pretty sure that 0.5 feet of difference is like double the flow at those levels.
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