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Planning to launch on the Owyhee on Thursday, running from Rome to Birch. I've run it once @ around 3500cfs. We'll have three rafts and four kayaks. Two of the rowers are kayakers and while they can read water, they're fairly novice on the sticks. The river just spiked to 6800... and although it looks like it's rise is slowing, there are some warm temps in the forecast and a TON of upper elevation snow left. Hoping some Owyhee regulars could chime in on what's TOO high. Any other advice for a high-water run appreciated.
 

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I was about to post the same question. We are launching Friday - fairly experienced crew but the First time doing the Owyhee. Would hate to bail now but curious at what flows it becomes sketchy
 

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Shapp
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Problem is, "sketchy" is a relative term. We had a glorious time on the upper owyhee at 18K cfs, while a family of 4 ditched all their gear and was rescued at Rustlers Cabin on the lower Owyhee.
 

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Problem is, "sketchy" is a relative term. We had a glorious time on the upper owyhee at 18K cfs, while a family of 4 ditched all their gear and was rescued at Rustlers Cabin on the lower Owyhee.
Good point Shap

I shouldn't be so focused on some sort of imaginary line between safe and sketchy - clearly it is relative, and based on experience, familiarity with the river, etc. It's a new river for me so mostly interested in hearing experiences folks have had at higher flows. I know that certain rivers/rapids (like the Slide on the Lower Salmon) certain flows are reached and a rapid changes from a class 2 to a 5. I've done my research on the Lower Owyhee and that doesn't seem to be the case but curious how meaty the rapids get at 6 K, 9K, 12 K???

Dave
 

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The highest i have ran it was 4800. Most features get washed out. The eddy lines do get strong especially in the canyon. There is one feature in there that is not mentioned much and i will do my vest to highlight it here... it is easily avoided but if not or you have a swimmer its game over...

Image one shows an sat image showing whisteling bird rapid #4.... the box on top right is the area showing the next picture zoomed up.. #1 is a big rock face with an undercut.. really cool to row up to at 700cfs. #2 is the bat cave a must stop at lower flows for sure... #3 is a death sieve.. my next post will show images of these three.. just avoid the left hand side... at number one th current at 4800 will pull a smaller boat right into the wall and pancake it.. if you wash out the right swim right because you are headed for the sieve..

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Picture from inside the batcave #2.. i have stopped at 1000 cfs not sure what level it might be hard to stop but i imagine its really high before you cant. Just dont flip a ducky pulling in.

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Picture i got off the internet. #3 the water actually passes through and under the rock where the water runs in on the left corner. at 4800 water is almost running over the rock wall that runs out into the river... that corner turns into a giant whirlpool and stuff that goes in doesnt come out. Has to go 20 some feet before it comes out the other side... easily avoidable but a very scary piece of water.

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I dont think its an issue for bigger boats but keep an eye on your duckys.

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I've run it at 6500-8000. Class III at that level. It makes all the tough low water rapids easy and the "squeeze" in the canyon is not in effect yet Its fast so it all comes at you pretty quick, stay alert. Worst thing about it, is it is turbulent at those flows, most waves have three faces which makes for wet passengers.
 

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Shapp
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or in other words, when water levels change, conditions change. Getting a little off the rails with the last picture of sub 200 cfs flows. 4800 cfs isn't what I would consider a significant "high" flow by any measure on the lower Owyhee.
 

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I've been down the lower above 10K, and thought it was the easiest flow I've ever done. Don't be asleep at Whistling Bird, and never stop pulling hard in Montgomery, and you'll be fine.
 

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or in other words, when water levels change, conditions change. Getting a little off the rails with the last picture of sub 200 cfs flows. 4800 cfs isn't what I would consider a significant "high" flow by any measure on the lower Owyhee.
the last picture was merely to show a feature that is under water and is directly below one of the best stops on the river. purely for visualization of what could be. I agree that 4800 is not high water down there. Every trip i have taken on the owyhee the more water the easier it gets.
 

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We just got off the Lower Owyhee last Wednesday. Levels spiked to almost 7000 due to all the rain/melt on Sunday. It was the easiest float I have had out of the 4 times running it. With higher water, you'll have more options for which path to take. I do agree with Cleve though...be very wary of the left side wall's undercurrents while going through the canyon portion. This is the section between Whistling Bird and Nuisance. I could see a smaller boat or IK having some issues.
Have fun!
 

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Shapp
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Congratulations to those that hit the peak, get some now while you still can. That good snow pack went quick. Reservoir is about 6' below full pool (about 90% full) so there will be a lot of flat water if you are taking out at Leslie and don't have a motor.







 
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