High Water Ready

Stoke your snowmelt plans with a gallery extra from C&K/Middle Fork River Expeditions peak Salmon run

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By Dave Shively

We’ve got Middle Fork on the mind here at the C&K offices. We just put the final touches on Frederick Reimers’ piece on using rafts to access and ski some of the Rockies’ most remote peaks deep in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, where helicopters and snowmobiles are prohibited. Look for the story, along with our fat annual gallery, bunches of new skills, our creekboat review and plenty more in our Whitewater annual due to hit newsstand shelves on May 3.

And as the winter snowpack melts, it’s time to start planning your first trip of the year. For inspiration, we take an in-depth look back at our trip on the classic 100-mile stretch of the Salmon, detailed in the August 2010 issue. Everything came together on this four-day sweep-boat supported outing as 96 hours of rain more than doubled the flow by our fourth day on the water. A stout flow of 8.6 feet, hitting the river’s runoff peak level on our final day through the Impassable Canyon section highlighted the journey, as we paddled 26 miles out in a two-and-a-half hour flurry, dodging logs in the river and house-sized holes in the canyon, arriving at the takeout exhausted with the memories captured here by Erik Boomer, who also makes a few select cameos in front of, and behind the lens, for the forthcoming Whitewater book.

Boomer sent us these selects from the trip days before his departure for his brash Ellesmere Island circumnavigation attempt with Jon Turk. Head to Stanley, Idaho, and look for Middle Fork River Expeditions to get you fill of this one-of-a-kind whitewater gem.

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