Skanking it easy on the Snake... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-16-2018   #1
Ashland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 46
Skanking it easy on the Snake...

ok......Everybody has their own calculus but looking for some other ones...

I got a 13 year old boy and and a 10 year old the Snake too big? Who can characterize Hells Canyon....just some beefy class III ?,,,,push hard to one side or another, hit a target and all is good? I heard Granite was pretty beefy...true?....looking for other opinions... I heard July was HOT but concerned about put-ins in June due to High Water ......any intel on a multiway trip with families on the snake appreciated.....good luck everyone in the lotteries...Bongo

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Old 01-16-2018   #2
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Central Point, Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 398
I've done Hell's a couple of times so I have a good feel but am by no means an expert. When the water is Big, 20k-30k and up, Granite and Wild sheep are what I'd call Grand Canyon sized rapids. Not Lava but not inconsequential. It's typically a 3 day float and because of the damn release camps can be a PITA with changing tides. It's a long drive from your area for a 3 day float. We have done the Lower Salmon a lot more. It is longer, has more of a wilderness feel and the rapids are smaller in nature, until The Slide comes in at 20K ish. I believe most outfitters don't book trips until after July 4 due to high water, but that may not be an issue this year. It is also a self issue permit so you can skip the lottery. We alternate between the lower salmon and Cataract for our end of September trip as the heat has subsided by then.
May the water be under your boat and the wind at your back.
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Old 01-16-2018   #3
geobucket's Avatar
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 70
I will say the Snake is a good family whitewater trip. I usually do it in September, though with lower and less variable flows. You only have to look at a few videos to see that Granite and Wild Sheep can get very big at higher flows though. A lot of people put down or avoid the lower canyon altogether, but it makes a nice 6 day trip if you have the time, same as the lower Salmon. More jetboat traffic, probably more crowded camping above Pittsburgh, and longer/expensive shuttle compared to the Salmon. I love Hells Canyon, and try to get there one way or another every year.
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Old 01-16-2018   #4
La Grande, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Dec 2011
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First Trip

Hells Canyon was my first adventure in a raft, way back in the 80's. Have done it almost yearly since. It is a great trip. Camps are mostly on high banks and in grass/dirt, as the dams prevent sandy beaches. Rapids are all pool and drop with a roll out that the bottom. Not a lot of things to hang up on, but we have flipped a few in Granite, and Rush Creek. Been thrown out in others as well. If your kids are comfortable with a swim, then I don't see a problem. Water is warm. July/ August can be REALLY hot, above 110., but also will rain in the canyon when the rest of eastern Oregon is dry. Below the Salmon the up river wind can be a killer, completely stopping you, but Usually doesn't come up until after noon, so early days last couple help.
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Old 01-16-2018   #5
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salmon, Idaho
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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We do Hells canyon every year and I would consider it a family friendly trip. The pool drop nature of the river makes it easy to collect swimmer if you have them. We like to try and get a fairly early start the first day and get through wild sheep before the water comes up. Then we do a lot of fishing and take lunch waiting for the water to come up for granite and the green room to open.
Of all the rapids on the river waterspout has thrown or flipped more boats than any other rapid. It's pretty easy to pull right after you enter and avoid the big hole lurking in the middle. I usually never make that move and go for the big ride. Then all the subsequent boats follow me into the hole like ducklings with mixed results.. I row a 16' lion that is usually loaded down like a freighter. If I had kids on the boat i would pull right.
It can be hot but you can swim almost the whole river, the fishing is great, we catch bass all day and sturgeon fish at lunch and camps. I have friends that hole hop sturgeon fishing and go at a really slow pace and stretch it into an extra day or two.
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Old 01-16-2018   #6
Definite maybe
Weld county, Colorado
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I had a totally different idea of what this thread was about.
"It is fun to have fun but you have to know how"---The Cat In The Hat
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Old 01-16-2018   #7
NE, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 168
"push hard to one side or another, hit a target and all is good? I heard Granite was pretty beefy...true?..."

Regardless of flow, Wild Sheep has a move to make.
Granite depending on flow has a move or just big erratic tail waves.
The lower left two holes in Waterspout are thristy.
I think the high teens low 20k for flow is the easiest and most fun.
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Old 01-24-2018   #8
Grants Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Feb 2017
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I might be one of the ducklings that followed the freighter into waterspout lol!
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Old 01-24-2018   #9
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: May 2007
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We did hells with our one year old and my wife walked all the named rapids with her in a backpack. There is a trail the majority of the way. Our trip was in early June, 20k. Worked out great. Felt safe getting them out of the boat. Wish snow hole on the lower salmon had a way to walk around.
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Old 01-24-2018   #10
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Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Looks like you need some titty tassels on that boat Duckling!
Nothing to long that could entrap, just something short and stubby on the end of the tubes to grab onto, or clip a rope into if needed.
Great sequence, and great job not letting go of the boat!
We can't always agree, but we can still be civil to each other.
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