Idaho 2015

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Idaho 2015

Post by PMB »

Hey all,

A couple of mates and I are thinking of organising a trip to Idaho next year. We've been doing some preliminary research online, looking at flights and trying to cost a trip out there for 3 weeks in mid-late June.

Does anyone on here have any first hand experience of paddling there? If so, we'd be interested to hear about your experiences & in particular thoughts about:

Hiring boats out there v flying out there with boats If you did hire boats how did you do it, who from, can you recommend anyone, what's the selection of boats like out there, how much did it cost you?

Hiring a vehicle out there What did you hire? How much did it cost (approx.)? Did you take an inflatable roofrack, buy one out there or do something else?

Water levels It looks as if levels can vary considerably year on year. Whilst I know a lot of information is available online we won't necessary know what levels are like until after flights are booked. D'you have any tips for anticipating how much water there will be? What would back-up paddling options look like if we got there to find most of the runs either too high or too low?

Shuttles How long do they tend to be? Is it easy to hitch a lift if you only have one vehicle?

River passes I'm sure I read something online about certain rivers requiring a pass. Now I'm not sure whether this was for commercial users or also applied equally to all paddlers. Can anyone offer any advice as to what extent you need a pass from the park authorities?

Recommended rivers What did you run which you'd recommend? What did you run which you'd suggest is worth staying well clear of? We've been looking at (yes, I know it says Oregon but it has some Idaho runs in too!) and like the sound of the Lochsa, South Fork of the Salmon, South Fork of the Payette. We're solid class IV+ boaters with a fair amount of experience paddling in the Alps and a few other exotic destinations so would be looking to do as many class IV/V Idaho classics (preferably bigger volume stuff) as possible.

Hope to get some useful hints.

Phil B

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Re: Idaho 2015

Post by Jim »

Spent a couple of days there on our 2003 trip to Washington. We ran the Tumbledown section of the St Joe with much more water than the guides recommend, it was meant to be 3-4 but turned out to be washed out big volume grade 2 :) It's way up in the north, I would guess you will probably stick in the south and mid part of the state.

You don't want to drive over from Seattle like we did so I can't help with flight stuff, we did get our own kayaks over but mine was a day late.

Permit rivers - the Idaho Salmon and Selway require Permits as far as I know (maybe not the entire salmon but the wilderness sections?), not sure about the Snake, I seem to recall there is a canyon section (hells canyon?) which alternates betweens jet boat access one week and rafting access the next week - whether it requires a permit or just paddling in the correct week so as not to get run down I'm not sure. We did get an offer of a lift into the Selway pre-permit season for the future, but it looks like the river is often still frozen at the start of the permit season so we never followed up on that. Selway and Salmon permit sections are very popular, might be a waiting list for permits. These rivers are all quite far north too.

Guides - American Whitewater Association website is a great start point. The main Idaho guide I think is the one by Grant Amaral - probably well out of date now.

Alternatives - if it's still too cold for the rivers in Idaho you probably need to head south, which is mostly desert - I think Idaho is big enough that you should be able to find water somewhere, the whole state won't run off in the same week :)

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Re: Idaho 2015

Post by DaveBland »

Flying, I'd look at Salt Lake, Seattle, Vancouver or Calgary and driving. You may struggle getting hire car permission over the border though, but may be okay.
Three weeks is long enough you could paddle in a couple of destinations, one near where you fly to, and then road trip it to Idaho. Would give you water level options too.
If you want an easy life, hire a pick-up. May cost a bit more but loads of room and esay to just bung boats on the back with no roof-rack hassles. Plus nice to cruise in and petrol is as good as free at the mo...
One vehicle should do ya. Locals don't bite and are generally around to hook up with. The local paddling shop should be able to hook you up in whatever area you are in.
Renting boats is cheap, but for 3 weeks, maybe look at bringing them over? it's generally around $25 a day to rent.
You could even buy used and sell if you need. You'd probably lose less in the resale than the cost of flying with them or renting.
If you decide to fly into Canada and drive from there, let me know...

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