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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
I recently just bought a 12 foot star self bailing raft. Im looking to go paddling with 3 others and myself (4 total) on the snake river. The route I want to hit is launching at west table and exiting at sheep gulch. My questions are -
1. Do I need any permits to raft this?
2. Is it relatively safe for a newbie (only been out on the Provo river in Utah a few times so far. (Very easy)
3. What other sections of the snake river would be fun to hit trying to gain some experience not needing a permit?
Thanks in advance
 

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Hey guys,
I recently just bought a 12 foot star self bailing raft. Im looking to go paddling with 3 others and myself (4 total) on the snake river. The route I want to hit is launching at west table and exiting at sheep gulch. My questions are -
1. Do I need any permits to raft this?
2. Is it relatively safe for a newbie (only been out on the Provo river in Utah a few times so far. (Very easy)
3. What other sections of the snake river would be fun to hit trying to gain some experience not needing a permit?
Thanks in advance
1 - as long as your group is less than 15, no permit required
2 - a little tough to answer. Depending on time of year. The river is really cold until late July. I would personally not recommend ‘gaining experience’ above 7,000 cfs especially if you are responsible for others in your boat. A 12 footer is not going to be ver forgiving at haircut rock, lunchcounter or kahuna. late July or August would have lower flows, warmer water, and enough traffic to follow and learn by following.
3 -An important skill (maybe on par with actually handling the boat) is reading the currents. While not as exciting, the South Fork of the Snake (Palisades to Heise bridge) would give you experience and is beautiful. Sections of the Snake through Grand Teton are, again cold, and are deceptively fast with braided channels and a lot of strainers.

happy boating!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1 - as long as your group is less than 15, no permit required
2 - a little tough to answer. Depending on time of year. The river is really cold until late July. I would personally not recommend ‘gaining experience’ above 7,000 cfs especially if you are responsible for others in your boat. A 12 footer is not going to be ver forgiving at haircut rock, lunchcounter or kahuna. late July or August would have lower flows, warmer water, and enough traffic to follow and learn by following.
3 -An important skill (maybe on par with actually handling the boat) is reading the currents. While not as exciting, the South Fork of the Snake (Palisades to Heise bridge) would give you experience and is beautiful. Sections of the Snake through Grand Teton are, again cold, and are deceptively fast with braided channels and a lot of strainers.

happy boating!
Thank you for the helpful information. It is much appreciated. Could you please send me the coordinates for the launch and exit for palisades to Heise bridge? It seems to be difficult to find on Google.
As far as the 12 foot boat goes is that capable for most rivers or is a larger boat more ideal? I originally bought it because it’s mainly going to be one other and myself paddling. Every now and then 4 total on the raft. I’m wondering if I bought to small of a boat?
 

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Like all rivers most of that section is pretty straightforward but some river knowledge and some skill reading water goes a long ways. Haircut rock is tough for newbies and can be a bad swim. If it is running 3 Oar Deal is really really bad.
Sounds like you if you ran that section with someone who was familiar with it first you and your crew would probably be better off.
 

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You might look at the link to see photos of boats going through Lunch Counter rapid today.
Lunch Counter Today
You don't need a permit, but you should get an invasive species sticker through the WY Game & Fish website.
There are a few sections just above West Table to practice on -- launches at South Park, Astoria, Pritchard, Elbow, East Table.
Twelve foot is good for 2-4 paddlers (day trips).
 

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Could you please send me the coordinates for the launch and exit for palisades to Heise bridge? It seems to be difficult to find on Google.
As far as the 12 foot boat goes is that capable for most rivers or is a larger boat more ideal? I originally bought it because it’s mainly going to be one other and myself paddling. Every now and then 4 total on the raft. I’m wondering if I bought to small of a boat?
No. No one should send you coordinates. The adventure is in the journey. Read a map, take a road trip, see shit, boat stuff.
 

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The canyon is not a place to learn to row or paddle. Run your boat from South Park to Astoria, learn how it handles, catch some eddies. Then go Astoria to Elbow and Wilson to South Park. Catch some eddies. I would certainly recommend floating with more experienced boaters and being a passenger down the canyon before trying it out yourself. Learn some basic safety stuff like how to use a throw bag. Watch every episode of Gear Garage that interests you. Catch some more eddies. Have fun be safe.
 

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Are there any rafting/boating groups near you? Only asking because they can be a great resource. Following an experienced boatsperson can really help the learning curve. There are a lot of safety concerns that new boaters may not consider. I was fortunate to learn from three women in their 50/60's who had/have logged many thousands of river miles.

The 12' boat should be fine for four folks. Try to balance the weight side to side and front to back. Learn how to make paddle commands and teach the crew how to actually dig in. Going both forward and most importantly backwards. The backpaddle is a very important skill to learn; moving slower than the current can be critical. Learn to catch eddies.

Have fun and be safe!
 

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Quick thread hijack: Is Haircut Rock a newer feature on the Snake? I've been down the river a LOT, but haven't run it in probably 20 years. I don't really remember anything called Haircut Rock or anyone having trouble at a spot like that. Is that in the S Turns? Did a landslide or something change the river?

Thanks.
 

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Quick thread hijack: Is Haircut Rock a newer feature on the Snake? I've been down the river a LOT, but haven't run it in probably 20 years. I don't really remember anything called Haircut Rock or anyone having trouble at a spot like that. Is that in the S Turns? Did a landslide or something change the river?

Thanks.
It’s always been there. Mile 2.2, below the 2011 landslide. It’s the small cliff face on the left side where the river makes hard right. It can pin boats that fail to make the corner.
 

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mukunig: you probably remember the river right fun wave train along a wall after taco hole and before 3 oar deal.
I might be wrong, but it seems to be more recently that it is pushier toward the wall on the left (haircut) -- my wife calls it "head banger" from her experience in a IK.
Yes, a landslide below taco hole did washout taco hole, and create a new fun rapid -- before haircut.
 

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^^Thanks! I found some YouTube videos of it and it does seem to be pushier towards that wall than it used to be. Thanks for the info.
 

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It's definitely pushier with more direct current towards the left wall than it used to be years ago. A group I was with a couple years ago had a newbie in an IK hit the wall, he popped out downstream after a moment but his kayak got stuck in the eddy upstream of the left wall and we had a kayaker carry up above it, launch, ferry to river left and rescue the IK.

Whenever I have newbies with me now on that stretch I show them how to stick the eddy on river right as the right wall ends - keeps them well away from the left wall once they stick the eddy (at 7K CFS and lower - not sure about higher flows). Downside to that is flip potential in the right eddy (IKs, kayaks) but at lower flows it's not a big deal.
 

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The book Paddling Idaho helped me a ton. It lists most of the Put in's and take outs for Idaho.(would have the South Fork info you were looking for) I have it as an ebook on my phone and iPad.
 
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