Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

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truckeeboater
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Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

Post by truckeeboater » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:52 am

A good friend of mine scored a permit for the end of May, and was just checking some beta when it occurred to me "If I can bribe some of the rafters to carry my minimalist gear, I just MIGHT actually possess the skill to run this". Any experience would prove helpful! Thanks!
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Einar
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Re: Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

Post by Einar » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:47 pm

I'll go! Winning the Selway lottery is the win of wins, hard to come by.

I expect that Milkman is a go-to-guy on the Selway info. The guide is by RiverMaps, "Guide to the Selway" by Duwain Whitis and Barbara Vinson, $21 Amazon.

It is Oc'ed in tandems & I would do it in my Caption solo. It reads 3-4 in the guide and from word of mouth
conversations. I would guess, without researching, that May is good choice this year due to low snow packs in the west.
Paddling is easy, organizing shuttles is hard.
Not misplacing all your crap in somebody else's car seems to be even harder

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Marc Evans
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Re: Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

Post by Marc Evans » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:22 pm

Truckeeboater, do a search and you will find plenty who have run the Selway. That said, be forewarned, the snowpack for the Clearwater drainage is at 125% of normal. Generally, the peak run-off is the last week of May or the first week of June. Average long term flows at peak at the Lowell gauge are about 16,000 cfs, which translates to about 5 feet on the Paradise staff gauge. The guide books indicate that 5 feet at Paradise is some serious water, and given the snowpack, you will likely be above 5 feet at Paradise.

I ran the Selway in late July of last year. Beautiful river, though last year was a drought year with the flow only 0.7 feet at Paradise. First day the rafts had to be pulled over lots of rocks. At 5 feet you won't see any rocks, just big water. Sadly, I had to kayak the river as my left knee kept me out of my Spanish fly, possibly for good. Never kayaked before that, so it was an interesting learning experience - still can't figure out what to do with the extra blade.

As an aside, the permit season on the Selway ends July 31. Anyone wanting to run the river after that just needs to show up with the proper gear. Given the snowpack, I would think that this would be a good year to get on the river after the permit season. The level should be around 1.25 - 1.5 feet on the Paradise staff gauge on August 1 depending on how fast the snow melts. This would be a great level for a self-supported trip or small rafts.

Marc

canoeman61
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I have run it at lower water

Post by canoeman61 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:56 pm

in July about eight years ago (1.8 at Paradise) and I agree with Marc, it would be a completely different experience at high water (just as with the MF Salmon). Exponentially harder and much greater chance of getting snowed on in May. At the level I ran it it was class III to IV- with Wolf Creek being the biggest rapids. Not sure what would be a good upper limit as it will depend on your skill level, gear and support.

This is supposed to be attached to the Selway thread below!

canoeman61
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Re: Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

Post by canoeman61 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:03 pm

I have run it at low water in July about eight years ago (1.8 at Paradise) and I agree with Marc, it would be a completely different experience at high water (just as with the MF Salmon). Exponentially harder and much greater chance of getting snowed on in May. At the level I ran it it was class III to IV- with Wolf Creek being the biggest rapids. Not sure what would be a good upper limit as it will depend on your skill level, gear and support.

cadster
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Re: Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

Post by cadster » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:50 am

Years ago I launched at 5.5', but feel it dropped to the mid-4' level by the time we got to Ladle.

First day is fast with a few big holes. One caught me and I side surfed out of it upright. There was a great typewriter lateral on one of the upper rapids before Goat Creek. Goat Creek is impressive to see at higher water since all the big rocks disappear similar to Ham.

The crux of the run are the three miles below Moose Creek which should be scouted the day before paddling. Double Drop seems to take more boaters unaware probably because the scout is so high up, but there is a sneak slide left of center at higher water. I had a kayak friend drop into a hole in the Moose Juice and he thought he'd never get out.

Wolf Creek is big, but again there's a turbulent sneak down far right.

You should paddle the Lochsa before attempting the Selway to get a feel for the water while roadside.

cadster
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Re: Anyone ever open boated the Selway?

Post by cadster » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:00 pm

Not the greatest picture and from a lower flow trip of me starting to paddle Ham Rapid. Guessing the flow was in the 2-3' range. Water wouldn't be clear if it was running +5'. Much more reasonable OC run when flows get below 3' since everything becomes pool drop. Wolf Creek has a long runout.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-RBT3 ... am2007.jpg

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