Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A few friends and I want to do a multi-day wilderness raft trip. We all kayak in class II/III stuff here in NC. About 4 yrs ago we went on a Green River trip (4 days) below Flaming Gorge, taking out before Dinosaur and the permit section. We did this with an oar rig and IK. That was way too much flatwater for us, but a good trip otherwise. I have a paddle raft and feel pretty comfortable on class III+ stuff in that. Our river reading skills are fairly good and we have been paddling for several years but with faimilies, etc. we just don't get to go enough to progress in more difficult rivers. We are all fairly experienced backpack campers.

So in looking for a trip for us Oregon seemed like a good choice because there isn't much within driving distance of here (charlotte, NC) and we are all wanting to go West anyways. It looks like the Rogue would be really great, but we feel like it might be a bit above our current skills. I've checked out all the online resources and am still not sure. We would love to run our own trip (assuming we get a permit) but there is also the "row-your-own" option that several commercial outfitters offer on the rogue, but that is a little costly and we are afraid it may try to "appeal to the masses" a bit more than we would like. Another option I have found would be a multi-day on the Grande Ronde; which looks a little tamer than we had in mind. So here are the questions:
Can we do the rogue on our own or is it too much for our skills?
Is there anything we can do between now and then that would allow us to hit it with confidence? (I was thinking of putting an oar rig on my raft to give us some practive on III/IV stuff around here - oar rigs are not common at all in this part of the country)
Any river that would be better suited to our skills and expectations?

Thanks for any replies!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Another option in that area could be the Klamath in Northern Cali, class II-III+. No permit needed and you can make it a 2 - 7 day trip due to all the access points.
 

·
Shapp
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
Sounds like you are hesitant at boating class III on multiday. I would recommend the full Grande Ronde (/wallowa) from Minam to the Snake River at Heller Bar for a big long great paddle only one Class III in mid-summer (July). I would also recommend the Lower Salmon from White Bird to Heller Bar on the Snake late-summer (August) several Class IIIs (although straight forward). No lottery for either stretch, easier than the Rogue, significantly longer, and you can start planning your trip now or when ever as you don't need to wait for a permit date. You can run your own trip. PM for logistics if you choose either of these. They are great entry level multiday options that are "out west".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
Based on his description of his experience, I'd be a bit leery of the Lower Salmon, especially depending on flows. If they are Class III tops, Snowhole and Eye of the Needle might be more than they want (can't really sneak those), and Snowhole has no walk-around. China might also be intimidating, it is a piece of cake and boring with the right line, but the wrong line has some consequences. It can be walked.

If you are ready to step it up to some mild Class IV-, then it might be a good option. It has lots of fun Class II-III wave trains, is uncrowded (avoid holidays), and has great beaches. The lack of lottery permit is nice, and it is the easiest of all the Salmons.

Have you considered Utah?, Desolation canyon (Green River above town of Green River) is a popular Class III I hear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
I'd say go ahead and do the Rogue, as long as its at a moderate level. You can sneak Rainey Falls, so Blossom Bar is the only real challenge, but even then its not that hard, just be sure to scout it and set safety. My only other advice is to keep a close eye on each other through Mule Creek Canyon because it is pretty continuous in there.
 

·
Shapp
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
I suggested August for a reason. My read is that all the hardest rapids on the lower salmon are Class three during late summer flows (August), even snow hole. You hit anything in the middle of snowhole and flip you and your boat will be relatively fine. All of these have good scouts anyways, except China (which is way easier than Blossom on the Rogue). Regardless, all the rapids on the L. Salmon are easier than Blossom at low to moderate flows. F-ing up on Blossom doesn't have consequences?. It is a boat and people eater if you don't make the ferry right. Need I remind anyone how many folks drowned in Blossom the last couple years. When was the last downing on the L. Salmon?

Not to say the rogue is all that difficult, but if you have to ask the question on the internet, this begs question of ones skills.
If you can boat class III, the lower salmon is totally read and run at low summer flows IMHO.
PM if you want all the details you could need for the L. Salmon or Grande Ronde
 

·
Shapp
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
In addition, the take out for the whole grande ronde is the same as the Lower salmon, you could do the GR (over 90 miles) restock in Lewiston then hit the Lower salmon (74 miles). Now that would be a great trip and a reason to make a drive out west (or flying/renting?). The rogue is way shorter (grave creek to foster, less than 40 miles). What ever you choose you will be stoked. SYOTR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
go for it

I think the Rogue is very manageable with solid class III skills. I ran it the weekend before last. Do the fish ladder at Rainie Falls, scout Blossom Bar, and you should be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
They key factors for me here are:

1) No mentioned experience with a gear boat, only a paddle boat mentioned. Way different in what Class you can handle since the approach (oar) and timing (weight) is so different.
2) Class III paddle boat only

Given those, I'd be leery to recommending to anyone, sight unseen, to do those 3 rapids on the LS without further research. Beta requests aren't just to make sure they won't die, they are looking to have some fun without everyone ending up crying. They can take our info, do more research, and decide for themselves. I can't compare the LS to the Rogue since I've no experience on the Rogue. But you are correct, death on the LS? None that I'm aware of.

At least this way they are finding out what rapids might be of interest to them, and the consequences. I'd say they darn well better get some oar rig experience ahead of time if going it alone, even if it's not loaded with gear. But again, that all depends on them, and our advice is FWIW (or at least mine), which varies daily!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to all. I know it is difficult to get an idea of someone's skillset from a forum explanation. Until you boat with someone it is tough to get a handle on. Even then, sometimes people get lucky. And I have been boating long enough to know that luck can make people falsely confident which can lead them into tragic situations. That being said, safety is always a top priority for me and posting on here for beta from people who genuinely seem to know the river and are likeminded as to safety seems to be the smart move. In the end it is my group's decision and our responsibility to gather enough info to make a good decision.

Our limited experience in an oar rig has been on the Green below Flaming Gorge dam. The weight of that thing was ridiculous (the folks we rented from were very knowledgable and helpful, but I think they erred on the side of too much stuff and I felt like we could have gone on a two week expedition, not a 4 day trip). I can completely agree that making that thing move in comparisson to a paddle raft is very different, and I am sure the learning curve would be similar for an oar rig person trying to do the paddle raft gig. River reading skills are a bit more universal.

I also looked at the Lower Salmon and will revisit that as well. I would like to do a late July Early August trip to catch "moderate" water levels. We want to hit some whitewater and be challenged by the experience, but we want to have a good and SAFE time. Thanks for all of the advice from everyone and please feel free to add anything further to the discussion. I am sure I will be posting more questions soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
Caig- you might look at all the video on y-tube of rapids on the rivers your thinking of. May or may not get your pucker factor up and help your decision. Theres lots of stuff on Rainey, Blossom, Mule thats fun to watch.

FWITW -Deso/Grey and the San Juan are also nice moderate runs well worth the trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,955 Posts
San Juan in august will be hot and low, do it in early to mid june and it should be the ideal entry to a multi day trip say 5 to 6 or even 7 days if you want a layover. Only one class 3 to deal with and it is pretty easy.

Rogue is a great river. Short run but it has it all. I have run the Rogue a couple times in May. One time it was pretty hi, other time medium. Rogue has a lot of rapids.

My opinion here and take it for what it is worth. Blossom Bar is a easy run if you are comfortable running a long rapid and making a lot of moves one right after the other in a oar rig. If you are not comfortable getting up close and personal with a lot of rocks - Blossom Bar can kick your butt or worse. Based on your post, I would not recommend the Rogue for you even in low water (not much push in low water but more rocks to miss). Get some experience on some of the other mentioned runs before you do the Rogue. The Rogue tho is one of the top notch western river runs and I highly recommend it when you get more experience.

Deso Gray is maybe a good easy step up from San Juan in the learning curve. I ran it once in early June at 12,000 cfs and it had one big rapid that had easy lines to miss the big stuff and the other rapids had easy lines. So Deso Gray might be good for you. Deso Gray gets to be hot and sticky and lots of slackwater in late summer. I would not recommend a late summer run unless you want to do a lot of rowing. Everything you have heard about skeeters at Deso Gray put in is the truth. It will take a lot more than Deet to endure rigging at Deso Gray. The full mesh outfits are good to go.

Another good short but scenic easy run is the Rio Chama close to Taos NM. Little stream, big scenery and easy but lots of fun class 2 and maybe low 3 rapids. Normally a 2 day run, best is to make it a 3 day and layover somewhere around half way down.

A great run on the Green is Lodore which starts probably where you took out. Has a lot of rapids up top and last day is big water thru Split Mt. I would get some experience before tackling it, but it is a classic run. another run out there is the Yampa which runs into the green. Classic scenery and in May big water to deal with but it looses flow pretty fast. Again, save this one till you get a bit more experience rowing the big stuff.
Good luck and no matter which rivers you choose out west, you will have a good time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
Lhowe:

Come run the Rogue with the OWA in February! Compared to Montana, it'll feel darn near tropical.

Dan
Man it's ski season then, what are you nuts! I am actually hoping to hit the Wind at least once later this winter, my first exploration with winter boating!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
If you can draw a permit for the Rogue, I sure would not pass up the opportunity. My first time down the Rogue was in a paddle boat, 13 ft., five people and all their gear. Since then I bought a 15 ft. oar rigg for a gear boat. However, there were several people I met there that were very helpful with how to's on how to run the the rappids. Once you get passed Rainey Falls, don't do the falls, the only real danger would be Blossom Bar. There is a place to scout this rappid from river right that you can watch other people run this rappid before you attempt it. There are some moves at the first part of this rappid that youv'e got to make, or it can put a damper on your river trip. The ranger station has waterproof pamphlets on how to run all the major rappids on the Wild and Senic Rogue. If you choose not to do the Rogue, that's cool too, it gives me a chance at more open spaces for the Rogue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Man it's ski season then, what are you nuts! I am actually hoping to hit the Wind at least once later this winter, my first exploration with winter boating!
I'll be skiing Red Lodge over the holidays. I miss Montana, and would still be there if I could find work. But it's cool to run the Wind on Saturday, ski Mt. Hood Sunday, and play hooky and surf Cannon Beach on Monday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
I'll be skiing Red Lodge over the holidays. I miss Montana, and would still be there if I could find work. But it's cool to run the Wind on Saturday, ski Mt. Hood Sunday, and play hooky and surf Cannon Beach on Monday.
Damn straight that doesn't sound like it sucks one bit!
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top