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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Scotsman
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Intel wanted: Grande Ronde

OK - who can help me plan my upcoming Grande Ronde trip? (Minam Bridge to Heller Bar) I have all of May and June to do it - although have been advised that pre-Memorial Weekend is best to avoid crowds and potentially 'taken' campsites. That, then puts us into high water season - which I don't like to run on bigger rivers - especially with the snow pack where it is now.

So my question is...I hear the Grande is pretty benign - but how is it in high water? Is it just not advisable to run in high water - or not such a big deal? We're well-seasoned, experienced boaters on all western rivers but it helps just to get some others' advice from experience.

We're favoring May because, after that, we might hit the Main Salmon with it's late permit requirement date of June 20, and yet be just beyond the highest water....maybe.

Equally, anyone got opinions on the kind of weather we can expect there in May?
And...once I put this together I'll be welcoming others to join us. SO let me know if you're interested.

Thanks to a great community,

Scotsman

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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
 
GOTY2011's Avatar
 
Ellensburg, Washington
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 122
Very little risk in terms of rapids, you'll want to take general precautions with gear for cold water/weather conditions. May is early for danger noodles, but by the end of June expect to have to scout camps and beaches prior to setting up to avoid bites.

Give the folks at the Minam Store a call for shuttle, conditions, etc. I've run it many times and at high flows it's easy to get through the Wild & Scenic section quickly, where the best camping is. Once below Troy, your camping options greatly reduce, as well as privacy. Boggan's is back open now.

Derek
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
Scotsman
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Intel Wanted: Grande Ronde

Thanks derek,

That's all great info. I've been in touch with Minam Store and all's well. Not sure about Danger Noodles - Is that the same as BFR's?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
Scotsman
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Intel Wanted: Grande Ronde

Derek - In high water, how long would you take to run it? We're into layover days but only if awesome beaches and good hikes. Prefer to take a week if possible but I believe in high water four days is normal. thoughts?

And: are there beaches/camps still available above high water? With eddies?

Ah - what happened to the days of discovering it all for ourselves?

scotsman
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
 
GOTY2011's Avatar
 
Ellensburg, Washington
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 122
Scotsman, DN = BFR

Most of the best (opinion) camps at all water levels are on river right, especially below W&S. IMHO better camping at high water than low, less dragging gear up to the shelves, etc.

I've never taken any side hikes and I believe that the snakes and basalt walls are good reasons not to. In all honesty, it's the best above Troy and I'd spend as much time as possible upriver of town. Should be able to restock ice and use a restroom if need-be as well.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
Scotsman
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Got it - many thanks - not sure what W&S is but get the gist of it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
 
NE, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 174
Regardless of flow, camps are always available. Plan to camp one night between troy and Boggans. Below Boggans the camps are nearly all turds. The Narrows is the only class III on that stretch. It changes significantly at different flows, compentent captains probably dont even need to scout. Take out at fish and game on the GR and skip the last couple miles of flat water and Heller Bar.

I'm not sure any flows you would see in May would be considered high water. A week is a liesurely pace(above 3000cfs), layover two days above Troy.

Depending on all the variables bass could be good below Boggans

Rattle snakes are not that common. Especially in May. Hike out the back of most camps.

As for weather be prepared for everything.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Scotsman
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Hey Willie,

Much appreciate the thoughtful response. I think we'll go in May before the Memorial weekend crowds, and then suss out the flow on the Main Salmon or perhaps Lower Salmon. Definitely not keen on running either in high water which we could be heading into by then, but no permits and we're already in the region - we're going to suss it out as we go.

We're just two boats so far so if anyone wants to join us in Grande Ronde or MS / LS, or both, we'd consider it.

Slainthe,

Scotsman
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Old 3 Days Ago   #9
 
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NorCal, California
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 361
High water shouldn't be an issue from Minam to Boggans Oasis, there are what they are calling class 2's however I don't think they are an issue. Also keep in mind the current flows very fast for a western river like around 9 mph from Minam to the confluence of the Grande Ronde and around 7 mph from there to Boggans, so making miles is very easy. Be sure and stop at Boggins and get a shake and burger at the store.
Other than that, world class scenery on this river IMO.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #10
 
Arnold, California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 251
We had snow (light) in June a few years back.
While there is always risk at all levels there is nothing that would steer me away from high water.
Rattlesnakes are the biggest hazard (opinion)
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