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This is a question I’ve been pondering because I’m tentatively planning a one boat trip with my wife and son on a river I’ve floated 2 dozen times.

Question: If I flip, do I tell them to get back to the boat or get to shore? We are all comfortable swimming in whitewater. With the three we can likely re-flip boat. If we lose one on shore there is no way to re-flip so then would float many miles downstream. What’s better?

I have yet to flip on this river but there are two opportunities to.
 

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This is a question I’ve been pondering because I’m tentatively planning a one boat trip with my wife and son on a river I’ve floated 2 dozen times.

Question: If I flip, do I tell them to get back to the boat or get to shore? We are all comfortable swimming in whitewater. With the three we can likely re-flip boat. If we lose one on shore there is no way to re-flip so then would float many miles downstream. What’s better?

I have yet to flip on this river but there are two opportunities to.
Stay with the boat almost always.

Fractured group like that could turn real bad real quick....
 

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Just dudes trying to rile up the internet. It's a thing now. I do it all the time. Just yesterday I asked on a forum to go on a paragliding trip with guys. I said I'd never dpne it but it looked fun and I would pitch in gas money. The world has changed and we must adapt. I'd go , it looks fun but only with my boys cause I know they got me. Now I worry do I have them? But some guys aren't as all together to worried, which is worrisome lol. My guy says "this is a must self rescue trip" I say ," oh man my stupid wife is having her bunions removed I can't go." Ah...as the world turns...we've all seen it and it's getting worse now that go pros are cheap and even the stikine looks fun when Danes doing it. In fact I just looked at a Zambezi trip! Wtf!? Iam class 2 Charlie I can't do the Zambezi! Or can I? Yeah fuck it who wants to go to wherever the Zambezi is with me next year!!??
 

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This is a question I’ve been pondering because I’m tentatively planning a one boat trip with my wife and son on a river I’ve floated 2 dozen times.

Question: If I flip, do I tell them to get back to the boat or get to shore? We are all comfortable swimming in whitewater. With the three we can likely re-flip boat. If we lose one on shore there is no way to re-flip so then would float many miles downstream. What’s better?

I have yet to flip on this river but there are two opportunities to.
Yeah, I think the answer is usually stay with the boat. Most of the times everyone will be really close to the boat anyway. I mean, big rubber flotation is better than anything else.
 

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What does that have to do with anything? Just because you’re good with witty repartee on the Internet doesn’t mean you’ve got the skills to take on a high water early season Idaho River.

People are telling you directly or more tongue-in-cheek that this is a very bad idea, I realize that’s not what you’d hoped to hear, but it is what you need to hear.

This isn’t it a situation where you grab an experienced person and they get you down the river safely. This is a situation where every single person in the crew needs to be counted on to have the high water and swiftwater experience to be able to take care of themselves and everyone else on the crew. You are not only asking that experienced boatman to look out for you; you are also asking them to trust that you will be able to have their back if something bad happens. That’s the scary part.

Edit: And you get this experience cumulatively, you don’t get it by going on a single big water trip. Run your local class 2 at high water, take the spicy lines, run it in the winter time. Do the same on a class 3. Then with a gear boat.

You will also suffer some beat downs along the way, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, those beat downs will give you the experience and humility to exercise better judgment in the future. Would you prefer a beatdown on a class 2 roadside, or on a class 4 remote wilderness trip where help may be a full day away?
And not just whitewater experience. You need wilderness experience as well. I’d also argue you also need some sort of medical training. This isn’t a hobby you can just walk into. It takes years and countless trips to stay proficient. Spending time in your back yard practicing rope work, practicing flipping your rig back over, signing up for classes, etc. This is coming from someone who knows I still have a long ways to go for learning and honing in my skills.

When shit hits the fan…and it will…you better be ready..
 

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This is a question I’ve been pondering because I’m tentatively planning a one boat trip with my wife and son on a river I’ve floated 2 dozen times.

Question: If I flip, do I tell them to get back to the boat or get to shore? We are all comfortable swimming in whitewater. With the three we can likely re-flip boat. If we lose one on shore there is no way to re-flip so then would float many miles downstream. What’s better?

I have yet to flip on this river but there are two opportunities to.
I’d say stay with the boat. Can’t recall any bad scenarios on normal rivers where people have stayed with her, but plenty of minor mishap and turn into major ordeals when people swim to shore.

Even if they are unable to reflip the boat, they can hang onto it and help kick toward sure. Especially if you are in one boat trip, you’re going to need to get it to shore and help isn’t coming.

Now, flipped boat about to drop into Selway Falls? Yeah, swim to shore fer sher.
 

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That's what I've heard, that anything over 5.5 ft is basically a no-go. And to be fair the guide bailed for work reasons, not out of concern or worry. He's an Alaskan whitewater guide and has floated the MF several times and said it would be fine as long as the flows were manageable.
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I did it once at 6.3 on the gauge. It was FAST AND BIG. All of us had clean runs and we went with kayaker support. A swim particularly at the top end would be long and possibly not end well. I would suggest to get a large group and get some practice should you decide to go.
 

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my first trip down the MFS was at 6 feet... had thousands of miles behind the oars at that point and was absolutely dumbstruck at how rowdy that river was at high water. the rapids and holes are fucking rowdy, and the boogie water between the rapids was class 3 whitewater. i wouldn't take a passenger down at anything near that level. that's a cat boat trip for me...


that's an awesome permit date(for the right group), you should put it back and go on a commercial trip
 

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Hi everyone! I'm totally new to the forum, apologies I've never posted on here before. Me and a friend have a lottery permit for the Middle Fork Salmon for early June, but our "guide" ended up having to bail. (By guide I mean the one guy we know that has whitewater experience). So basically now it's just me and a friend and neither one of us has much whitewater rafting experience.

Anyone want to join up with us!? Currently taking applications, feel free to send me a PM 😂 😅
I went swimming in velvet at 6.5 ft. You need a dry suit or a wet suit, you have no business running the mf at high levels, unless you have lots of experience. It’s a big water at 5+, almost no eddys in the upper river, thus us not a river for neofites!
 

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I went swimming in velvet at 6.5 ft. You need a dry suit or a wet suit, you have no business running the mf at high levels, unless you have lots of experience. It’s a big water at 5+, almost no eddys in the upper river, thus us not a river for neofites!
I bet that was less than fun. How long did it take to get safe? I have always avoided that hole but at high water it is difficult.
 

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That hole is a bitch. I've only ever waved hello, never formed any sort of meaningful relationship with her...
If ya don't think you have the guns to make the move behind the rock (especially tough at high water), the next best option is to give it some gusto, forward push and punch it right of center. 😎
I have heard stories about a sneak route on the far right next to the shore at flows over 6. I just don’t have the faith to attempt it. When I have waved goodbye after dropping by the rock on the left my thoughts were WOW. That is big.
 

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Alright. I’m ready to submit my application. But first, I need to know a few more details. Are the two of you both female? One boat. So does that mean one tent? One sleeping bag.? These are important considerations to me considering we will be wet, cold, half drowned, fully buzzed, and possibly getting snowed on after the first day. And I don’t spoon with dudes.
My credentials? One MFS in early June at 4.5-5ft and I flipped my 13 footer in velvet. I went so deep it was dark and I knew my lady was super pissed so I stayed down as long as I could. When I came up, I was right. Only one dry bag got wet; not mine! It snowed that night so even though she was pissed she had to snuggle. All the makings for an epic saga, or a bad Netflix series.
So, if the boxes check, I think I’m your man.
 

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I bet that was less than fun. How long did it take to get safe? I have always avoided that hole but at high water it is difficult.
The reversal was about 10+ feet, ate our lunch, I went down about a 1/4 mile and got out river left. The raft went about a mile and one of our crew got it into a little eddy or it would have gone to pistol. Some guides picked me up

if I had gone much further I would not be here, it was June 16, that water is really cold.
I wasn’t rowing, at 5+ that river is no place for a pilgrim, I’ve run 10 times or so, and every thing was huge
 

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Two 14’ rafts flipped in Velvet right in front of us on a 6/17 3.9’ MFS.
Took me at LEAST 1/2mi to bulldoze the one to shore. Didn’t realize the passenger swam that full distance as well. She was COLD

Fortunately we had Trail Cr as a campsite that night. Everything they owned was soaked and their drybags easily weighed 90# each.

higher, faster and rowdier? And colder? And a one boat trip??!
 

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A tale for the OP:
Years ago, my first trip down MFS included one 16' gear boat, a couple of catarafts, 4-5 kayakers and one 15' paddle raft w/ 4 paddlers and a semi-experienced captain (5 paddlers was underpowered for that size boat at that flow). The gear boat was a barge, carrying all kayakers & paddlers gear + kitchen etc...
The experience level of this crew was all over the map, some had run it before, most had not... in hindsight there were red flags.
Water level was 5'.
At mile .9 our paddle raft comes up on Murph's hole to find the gear barge has flipped and stuck in the hole. The paddle raft skims across the floor of the upside-down barge, hits the back side of the hole and the captain is ejected (lands on the floor of the barge, luckily). One cat-rafter (first time on a cataraft) tries to stop his cat... he'd heard a good way to stop it is to jump down into the water at river's edge and walk it to a stop using his back against the frame. Did I Mention 5' on the gauge? He gets steamrolled.
We now have a flipped barge, a captain-less paddle raft, a run-away cat and a cat boater stranded on the bank. The party is now in full-on shit-show mode. We only had 99 miles to go.
To paraphrase a previous post, it soon became apparent that this was a JV team vs a state-champ varsity team. Somehow the rest of the trip went well, but that was pure luck IMHO. Don't take the MFS lightly at high water and don't go with an inexperienced team.
 
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