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Yo Buzzards...

Looking for class IV/V multiday kayak self support runs in the west. Ideal candidates would have quality IV/V whitewater, a couple of nights on the river, minimal hike in/out, minimal heinous portaging, great scenery, no permit lottery, and reliable flows.

#1 on the list for this year is middle fork of the feather in Cali. Was trying to search for some backups in case flows / timing / schedules don't work out for the feather.

I've read some good stuff about the south fork of the salmon.

Upper Animas seems like it would fit the bill, but its a little short and has raft and train traffic. Would prefer to go only where kayaks can go.

Black Canyon sounds like its got more than its fair share of misery. Looking for minimal misery, maximum whitewater.

Not interested in the monster hike in V+ stuff. Also want something you can't do as day trips like linking up roadside runs.

Any other classics out there that don't require a mountaineering expedition to get to, a 100 yr storm to get running, or a snowballs chance in hell lottery? Timing windows I am looking at are 1st week of may or 1st 1/2 of june.

What other classic IV/V multidays are out there?
 

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Thoughts...

Hey,
You are on the right track with the M. Feather. Absolutely fantastic multi-day trip. If possible, get it. South Fork of the Salmon at high flows is another awesome run. We observed a mountain lion, others in the group had close encounters with wolves... Rapids are enormous, with big clean lines and monster holes to dodge. Secesh into S.Fork is preferrable, EFSF into SF is excellent, but either way is more than worthy. It should be noted that at high flows, the S. Fork has some very solid, big water class V and the Secesh and East Fork South Fork Salmon both have some solid V-V+ rapids that do not have much in the way of recovery pools.
NF of the Trinity in CA is also a multi-day trip that is absolutely packed with great whitewater (IV-V+) and depending on the crew, only one mandatory portage. We were shocked that we had not heard more buzz about it after hitting this run...

Never have got to Deer or Mill Creek in California, though they both seem like runs that would be scenic and memorable with lots of whitewater. There are good write-ups on both from oregonkayaking.

On a mellower note... The Jarbidge/Bruneau in ID with flows over 1000 cfs. is jaw-dropping, though lacking major whitewater. I doubt you would be disappointed though, and 4 days was too short. Illinois in Oregon is also excellent, though again is mellow on whitewater.

Have fun and good luck with flows.
Dave
 

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Ian,

Check out Forks of the Kern. I'm looking at that for Cali in May prior to the permit season. 17 miles, class IV-V, wilderness, 2 mi hike to the river. Would like to do it as a one day trip. This all is dependent on flows though.

California Creeks - Forks of the Kern
California Creeks - Brush Creek
California Creeks - Dry Meadow Creek

We're thinking about a strike trip, 6days max including drive.
Day 1; drive there
Day 2; lap brush creek, set shuttle for forks of kern, maybe get some gear down to the river
Day 3; forks
Day 4; finish forks or if done, fire up dry meadow
Day 5; dry meadow if not done day before or drive home
Day 6; drive home if not on 5day plan
 

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EFSF is awesome. Also consider: Jarbidge/Bruneau (1 portage..not bad), west fork of the Bruneau, Piedra river, and the Illinois river in Oregon. These are some of my faves. Paddling the upper (above the bridge--float section) San Rafeal + black boxes makes a nice incredibly scenic 3 day/2night excursion but, you have to catch the flow just right....around 800 to 900 is a reasonable. Not so class V'ish but, I have never had a bad day on the middle fork of the salmon before permit season. Barry
 

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Ian,
Go with the 1st week of may for middle feather, the flows should be perfect and more predictable because it is snowmelt. The gauge at milsap seems very variable from year to year, we did it two years ago at 1500 and it was significantly higher than last year when we did it at 1800, but by may people will have gone in and you will have a good idea on flows.
I think jarbridge/bruneau is a great multiday run I would mark it down as a good class 3 with a few 4's and jarbridge falls. It is an amazing trip but the whitewater is lacking for sure, I would save this one for when your old and have the role of joe keck.
Another run out in cali to consider is the generation/giant gap combo, it can be done in an easy 2 days but would be cool to do some side hikes and make it a 3 day trip. The level of difficulty is a 4/5 level besides a few in dream gap (can portage) and if its high one in giant gap (difficult portage). The quality isn't anywhere near middle feather but the scenery is top notch and it isn't very crowded. The downfall is that you said you don't want to hike, there is a easy 3 mile hike in all downhill.
As far as mill/deer creek go, I doubt they will have enough water but if they do I have heard good things about them, but check out dreamflows for some links.
I think doing a middle fork salmon into main salmon before season would be cool, but I don't think it is what your looking for. As far as the south fork goes I think june would be better as in may it will probably be very high and a bit harder that you want (I haven't done it but have talked to a few and it seems that it isn't 4-5 at high flows).
I also remember Adam doing a 4-5 day trip on the rio grande over like 50 miles, I think he posted a video somewhere, that would be cool but the whitewater would be lacking for a few days but the upper box is as good as it gets (but a bit harder than 4-5).
I think your bet to go out to cali in early may will be a good one and I think that middle feather will be going, that run is better than any other listed by me or anyone else so far, it has it all great scenery great rapids and crazy rednecks at milsap (if you play your cards right you might see a meth deal go down like us)
-Tom
 

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i don't think you have to hike in or out on the Stikine, and it's definitely an overnight. then again, i believe there is a portage at site zed. it's also kind of far away.
 

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I think the chances that Mill and Deer Creek having a good year are high. I'm planning on a Deer Creek trip this year myself ( I might go this weekend if the flow goes as predicted, of course I live 4 hours from the put-in) But I would think this is the best year to plan a Ca. trip in sometime due to the El Nino conditions. California-Nevada River Forecast Center puts out a 5 day forecast that is pretty accurate once snow-melt season starts ( you can find one for the the MF Feather on the same page)
 

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I think the chances that Mill and Deer Creek having a good year are high. I'm planning on a Deer Creek trip this year myself ( I might go this weekend if the flow goes as predicted, of course I live 4 hours from the put-in) But I would think this is the best year to plan a Ca. trip in sometime due to the El Nino conditions. California-Nevada River Forecast Center puts out a 5 day forecast that is pretty accurate once snow-melt season starts ( you can find one for the the MF Feather on the same page)
Hey Pretender,
I know predicting Deer and Mill is serious guesswork... but what is your best guess on a 10 day window that would be most likely for flows on either creek this spring? Always wanted to make one of those happen and there is plenty to do nearby.
Thanks
Dave
 

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Hey Ian

I could be down for a S. Fork Salmon trip. Lasted week I was enlisted to row for a Middle Fork Trip on May 30 (Yee hah!), so I will be up that way anyway in late May / early June. That looks like fantastic wilderness boating in there!

B
 

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Hey Pretender,
I know predicting Deer and Mill is serious guesswork... but what is your best guess on a 10 day window that would be most likely for flows on either creek this spring? Always wanted to make one of those happen and there is plenty to do nearby.
Thanks
Dave
It's funny you should ask, because I was thinking the same thing, because a group of us are planning a 9 day trip to the Sierra this year. I have no experience with sierra streams so I couldn't say. Lucky for me I'm close enough to go when the gauge says it's time. Try posting your question on boof.com and hopefully someone in the know will give you a educated guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Josh, your southern cali strike force sounds like a great trip. I'm still hoping to get on the middle feather.

Tom, 1st wk of may might be good for MF, but flows and snowpack have me wondering. In the last 8 yrs, MF was over 3000 cfs 4 out of 8 yrs the first wk of may. In big snow years, MF has been unrunnably high for much of May. Currently northern cali snowpack is >120% of average, and if the el nino continues to dump on cali, I think MF will be a no go in early May.

Next window open for me is 1st wk of June. Big snow years might yield perfect medium flows 1st wk of June, but odds are MF will be trending down and on the low side. At this point I'm thinking I'd rather do the MF low in June than get skunked due to high water in may. Plan is to check the snowpack and runoff forecasts through march and make a decision on timing in early april. If it just doesn't work out, I'm looking for the south fork of the salmon or other comparable classic kayak multiday.

Ben, congrats on the middle fork spot! Late may / early june should be primo!!! If I end up planning that way we'll hook up.
 

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If you're trying to time it to get more than one Cali multi-day, early to mid-May has worked out several times for me. Have done Deer Creek, Upper/Lower Mill Creek, and Middle Feather all on same trip before. Deer would go first, then most likely higher water upper Mill with snow at put-in, then Feather. I think you'd be in great shape to at least get 2 outta 3 of these in your timeframe. Have also done a 2-day on the North Trinity, which makes the usual "very long Class V day" a nice casual overnighter with great camp spots.

There is also Generation Gap / Giant Gap on the N. American, which is a quality IV-V 2-day run with a reasonable downhill hike to the put-in.

If you got really lucky and it was a big year for the Sierras south of I-80, the Rubicon might run. Great 2-day V trip, although last time I did it some of the mid-channel trees were getting pretty big due to lack of regular river flow. Rubicon goes bridge to car, no hiking.

Stepping it up a big notch, south of there is the S. Fork Merced. It goes car to car, balls to the wall. Hope for 2 days, plan for a 3rd, unless you have a tour guide. The local boys are doing it in 6-7 hrs at mach speed, but it is busy Class V all the way.

Another mid to late-May 2-day option south of I-80 is the Hell's Kitchen run on the N. Stanislaus, above the Board's Crossing run. Awesome. Kind of a downhill bushwhack to put-in, but not difficult.

An Idaho gem that no one has mentioned yet is Meadow Creek, which runs into the Selway right at the normal takeout parking lot. 3-days, solid IV-V+ drops, great scenery, high probability of interactions with bears. Probably more like mid-June, tho. Long shuttle up the S. Fork Clearwater and a downhill hike-in. Worth paying for the shuttle.

Damn, this is making me want to pack the truck for a trip to the Golden State......
 

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Just came across this little jewel from Darin M. He does a nice little run-down of cali. "stepping stone" runs from class iv, class iv+/class v- and class v. Each with a link to some descriptions and pics. Scroll down and back two or three pages to find them all. Very nice resource to a California gaper like myself.

River Lover | Any River, Any Time
 

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Just came across this little jewel from Darin M. He does a nice little run-down of cali. "stepping stone" runs from class iv, class iv+/class v- and class v. Each with a link to some descriptions and pics. Scroll down and back two or three pages to find them all. Very nice resource to a California gaper like myself.

River Lover | Any River, Any Time

This is a SWEET little find!! Great info, when trailing the links!!
 

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Ratings

It almost seems as if Cali "IV's" are Colorado "V's"????? I was looking at the class IV range in that stepping stone guide :(. I was a little shocked to see the photo's of some of the class IV's. Whew!! Looked pretty stout to me, and similar to alot of the V stuff here in CO???

Just wondering about other's thoughts on comparison ratings to CO and other states.

Cheers!!

-Nick
 

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Personally I believe that the V+ rating is a little overused in Colorado in comparison to the rest of the country. When drops like Rigor Mortis are defined as V+, peoples viewpoints become skewed that class V should be easier than that. Rigor Mortis and a number of other unjustly rated "V+" drops throw off peoples judgment of what class V is.

The only place that I have been where things seemed a little sand bagged was BC. Otherwise I would say that California and Colorado are pretty similar in difficulty. California just has a different style of whitewater that requires kayakers to take paddle strokes and make moves instead of just bouncing off of rocks. One is not harder than the other; they are just different styles that require different skill sets.
 

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Personally I believe that the V+ rating is a little overused in Colorado in comparison to the rest of the country. When drops like Rigor Mortis are defined as V+, peoples viewpoints become skewed that class V should be easier than that. Rigor Mortis and a number of other unjustly rated "V+" drops throw off peoples judgment of what class V is.

The only place that I have been where things seemed a little sand bagged was BC. Otherwise I would say that California and Colorado are pretty similar in difficulty. California just has a different style of whitewater that requires kayakers to take paddle strokes and make moves instead of just bouncing off of rocks. One is not harder than the other; they are just different styles that require different skill sets.

I think you hit the nail on the head!! Me being a newbie (this spring will be my 3rd season), I somewhat had the same mind set as you described with Rigor. Actually with that exact drop since it is sooooo roadside scoutable. I figured out quickly that all ratings are relative.

Some of that Cali stuff just seems so STOUT!! I can't wait to get out there!!
 

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I think the CO vs CA rating are pretty much the same, if you look at darin's ratings they are different than AW's ratings because Darin's ratings are more up to date. The same thing happens here in CO, except nobody has a bad ass blog of the rivers in CO with updated ratings.
I totally agree with Christian that V+ is way overused, I think very few rapids in CO deserve a V+ rating. For me that rating is reserved for drops and runs where a mistake has extreme consequences, most of the runs in CO this doesn't hold true but for a few drops. for example I don't consider any of big south V+, I think they are difficult drops but they are pretty friendly for the difficulty. Maybe this is a bad way to define it but it is completely a person to person rating.
All this talk of the Middle feather is making me want to boat real bad.
-Tom
 

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California, less rocks, more big holes :) Paddle harder!

My personal take on V+ is that it has to be a rapid that is rarely run, even on a class V run. ie "The Portage" on Devil's Canyon or the Frency's Falls lead in + falls combo on Big Kimshew.

I'm glad you guys are enjoying the guide, hearing the positive comments makes it worth writing, hope to see you all out here this epic spring!

Darin
 

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Hey Darin,

It's Christian from the Middle Kings this past summer. Me and my buddy are going to be out you way from 3/19/10 to 3/29/10. If you want to do some kayaking you should give me a call. Were hoping to get giant's gap, devils canyon, south branch, the little north fork, and bridge creek.

203-383-9368
 
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