liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Little White Salmon

The helicopter footage is gorgeous, especially the ways the trees glimmer when the camera zooms back out, and the views of Mount Hood. This is the legendary favorite local class V run. I haven't been there yet. The word is that there is quite a bit of new wood washed into the Green Truss, and in bad places, so perhaps this is where my boating crowd will shift to. I hope so. It looks like fun to me.

It has quite a reputation. Spirit falls breaks backs, and several caves eat boats from time to time. More than one person has died there. Whitewater boating is new enough in the PNW that wherever somebody has died, people get extra scared. Back east somebody has died just about everywhere already, so there's no point in it.

Lower Canyon Creek, which we ran twice last weekend, is a short creek run just outside Battleground Washington that I would call class IV, at least at the levels I've seen it (470-600cfs). I can imagine that at high water it would become class V. For years nobody (or almost nobody) ran it because there was a gigantic woodpile obstructing the run. But that woodpile washed out something like two years ago. Here it is:

More on the Little White:
238fpm for last 3 miles
runnable nearly year round
aquifer fed

Rapids in order: smaller stuff, Gettin' busy (long), Boulder sluice at end of busy (go left), Island drop (right or middle right), then enter the canyon, Sacrilege (boof left but avoid Dave's cave on left, 3.1 looks OK), Double drop (scout right), S-turn falls (boof left 13 footer with slot below), smaller stuff, Bowey Hotel (long lead-in, strong hole, cave on left), only 100 feet to Wishbone falls (20 footer boof left looks good at 3.1), now entering the "psychological crux", pushy stuff in narrow gorge incl The Squeezes and Horseshoe (bad hole, set safety, walk down on river right), then 40 feet to Stovepipe (portage right on log), class III for 2/10 mile, Spirit Falls (33 footer, punchbowl landing, broken backs happen here), Chaos at punchbowl exit (run left, dangerous pocket on right), annoying logs (run far right), Master Blaster (last major rapid, run left below 3.3), short pool, low head dam (portage),

Flows: 3.6 looks high, 2.7 looks good at boulder sluice. Photos at 3.3 look good. Word from author: First time runs best 2.5-3.0. Most popular level 3.0-3.5. Over 4.0 for total badasses only.

Update 7/18/12:
Here are the rapids in order by Brooks on PDX kayaker,
for the benefit of SAR, in the wake of Jenna's drowning:
1. (Above putin bridge) Willard Falls
2. warmup section--lengthy, class II-III whitewater
3. entry to Getting Busy section, the "Oregon Sneak"
4. GETTING BUSY--a long continuous boulder garden that most paddlers complete in three to four discrete series of moves
5. BOULDER SLUICE--I believe this is a known access point
6. Thread the Needle/Toaster Slot/approach to Island
8. Unnamed rapids
11. Typewriter
12. Enchanted Forest/Sunny-Side--here, the river splits for a while into two channels. The right channel is called the Enchanted Forest, the left channel is called the Sunny-Side. The channels reconnect for the approach to S-Turn Falls.
14. Unnamed rapids
16. Unnamed rapids
19. THE GORGE aka THE SQUEEZES, ending in Horseshoe
21. Unnamed rapids
22. SPIRIT FALLS--portage lines on right and left, also a common access point
23. CHAOS--this is the dangerous drop on river right where the water leaves the pool below spirit. The left side of the same ledge is a small, clean waterfall.
24. Unnamed rapids
26. Runout/fish ladders/weirs
Tags: kayak, mountains, photography, risk, river, washington, whitewater

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