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Rex Sanders July 13th 04 02:53 AM

Scariest MF Salmon rapid!
 
The scariest rapid on the Middle Fork Salmon River in Idaho is now on
the Main Salmon - Cramer Creek. The last 5 miles of a MF Salmon trip
is on the Main Salmon. A rapid barely mentioned in the guidebooks, 3/4
mile upstream of takeout at Cache Bar, is now a large, gnarly monster.

Three of us with combined 30 Grand Canyon trips, rate the rapid at 7 to
8 on the 1-10 Canyon scale. Standing on the road scouting, the most
common expression heard from people seeing the rapid for the first time
was "holy sh*t!".

We watched 10 rafts run the right side successfully, including one
mostly sideways run, and our three 14 foot boats ran OK. One
commercial outfitter walked passengers around the rapid, and ran boats
through with guides only.

Scouting is highly recommended, rangers say the rapid is still changing
after the recent flash flood on Cramer Creek. Listen for the loud roar
downstream after a long pool, with spouting waves above a horizon
line. Pull out on the right, walk down the takeout road to scout. As
the rangers told us eight days earlier, "watch out for the second
wave".

Other than Cramer Creek, we used a 15-year-old guide book for the rest
of the trip with no problems. The Middle Fork Salmon is a great trip!

-- Rex

quack July 13th 04 11:54 PM

Scariest MF Salmon rapid!
 
Yeah, I ran it a week or so ago. Two people on my trip had seen it earlier
in ther year at higher water and said 'just run it down the middle.' I got
behind the rest of the group, so saw no one run it. Standing on the frame I
couldn't see any channel anywhere, so I went for the left side, trying to
push hard enough to split a pourover and tehe big hole beyond. While it
didn't exactly work, I didn't flip, either . . . but I wouldn't recommend it
as a run to jot in your guidebook. My passenger, who had been unimpressed
with the rest of the river, finally got the idea of what highside means and
why. We looked at the rapid driving out, and it looked like a river-wide
hole to me. There may well be a run on the right, but it looked pretty
boney. It's a bigger drop with bigger waves than I've seen on the Grand
Canyon, and at least at the level I ran it, there wasn't a channel or tongue
anywhere. It gave everyone something to talk about at take-out, and the
extra adrenaline made unloading gear go faster.

Paul M July 16th 04 01:57 PM

Scariest MF Salmon rapid!
 
Rex Sanders wrote in message ...
The scariest rapid on the Middle Fork Salmon River in Idaho is now on
the Main Salmon - Cramer Creek. The last 5 miles of a MF Salmon trip
is on the Main Salmon. A rapid barely mentioned in the guidebooks, 3/4
mile upstream of takeout at Cache Bar, is now a large, gnarly monster.

Three of us with combined 30 Grand Canyon trips, rate the rapid at 7 to
8 on the 1-10 Canyon scale. Standing on the road scouting, the most
common expression heard from people seeing the rapid for the first time
was "holy sh*t!".

We watched 10 rafts run the right side successfully, including one
mostly sideways run, and our three 14 foot boats ran OK. One
commercial outfitter walked passengers around the rapid, and ran boats
through with guides only.

Scouting is highly recommended, rangers say the rapid is still changing
after the recent flash flood on Cramer Creek. Listen for the loud roar
downstream after a long pool, with spouting waves above a horizon
line. Pull out on the right, walk down the takeout road to scout. As
the rangers told us eight days earlier, "watch out for the second
wave".

Other than Cramer Creek, we used a 15-year-old guide book for the rest
of the trip with no problems. The Middle Fork Salmon is a great trip!

-- Rex


We ran it a couple of weeks as well. We also knew nothing about it,
and remembered a minor rapid on the Main as the only feature after the
confluence. I went ahead and ran it blind on the right side of the
tongue successfully, but another of our group wasn't so lucky and
flipped his 16' Maravia on a left side run. Having run the Grand last
year, I'd have to say it's right up there with anything except Lava.

Paul

Charles Pezeshki July 18th 04 05:19 PM

Scariest MF Salmon rapid!
 
in article , Rex Sanders at
wrote on 7/12/04 6:53 PM:

Three of us with combined 30 Grand Canyon trips, rate the rapid at 7 to
8 on the 1-10 Canyon scale. Standing on the road scouting, the most
common expression heard from people seeing the rapid for the first time
was "holy sh*t!".


Hi Folks,

Just back from the MF Salmon myself.

Cramer Creek Rapid is indeed a real big rapid. We had 2.2' on the MF, so
probably 5500 cfs in the Main.

Dunno-- maybe the Lochsa has made me jaded, as there are 2-3 rapids like
Cramer with equivalent or greater flow-- but the main thing about Cramer is
that it is out of character with the rest of the MF. It is a real Class IV-
IV+ rapid.

Scout for sure-- start right, and you'll probably be alright-- though this
is taking the guide community up there and slapping them around. Two boats
flipped right after all the rafts in our part successfully ran the drop.

If you're an amateur, and you find the MF challenging-- just stay right. Or
carry up your gear at the Stoddard take-out, probably taking you a total
extra time of 5 minutes, and miss the whole thing entirely.

Best,

Chuck



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