June 2, 2010

Back From Whitewater Kayaking the Selway River, ID



(Not my video, not my trip – but since I’m short on photos I had to put something on here, and not only is this Ladle Rapid on the Selway, it’s also an amazing testimonial to hanging in there on the roll – gotta love it. ;))

Anyway, I’m using the fact that I did a 3-day self-support whitewater kayaking trip on the Selway River at the end of May as a partial excuse for not writing even one blog post during that entire month, even though there were plenty of things I wanted to write about.  (And the Selway River trip is a total cover – chalk the non-posting up to basic disorganization, of course.)

Since I managed to do the entire trip without taking one photo I’m hoping some of my paddle-mates cough some of theirs up soon, and in the meantime I’ll point out some cool links about other people’s Selway River trips that I found before I went there in case they’re helpful to anyone planning a trip:

Selway River Photos and Trip Descriptions:

There’s a great article on OregonKayaking.net with really nice Selway River photos of a trip that went from 4.5 feet to 5.5 feet on the Paradise (put-in) gauge.

And there are some good photos on Robin Carleton’s Infinity Mountain site from when he did it at very high water, although I wish he said on there what level that was.

Selway River Info:

The number for the Selway River Office that can tell you what the visual level for the gauge at the put-in is 406-821-3269.  From what I hear up to 3 feet is Class III-IV, 3 to 6 feet is Class IV, and over 6 feet is Class V.

Here’s the page where you can apply for permits for the Selway River, as well as several other permit-only rivers.

The Three Rivers Resort is at the start of the Selway River Road, 18 miles from the take-out.  They have camping, motel rooms, showers and hot tubs – just something to consider if you’re coming off of a multi-day self-support trip.  (Memorial Day weekend is insane there, just so you know.)

How It Went:

This was a really great trip with an awesome group of people, eleven of us total.  When we put on it was 2.9 feet, so a bit on the low side, and basically there were a fair number of beefy class IIIs and some reasonable Class IVs, only two of which really felt kind of hard at that level (for me, not really for anyone else :)) – those were Ladle and Wolf Creek.  I can definitely see how at higher flows it could get substantially beefier and there would be some pretty big whirlpools in some of those eddies.  The great news is that the Pyranha Burn rolls just fine with 30 lbs of gear in the stern – what a great boat.

I’ll keep this short since I don’t have photos and who am I kidding, without pictures it’s just me bleating away.  But I really want to thank Dan Patrinellis (the Dan formerly known as Parnell) for organizing the trip and making the whole thing possible as the permit-holder, and also for staying awake and reasonably sane on the 8 hour midnight drive through the back-country of Idaho that ended up with us at the take-out at 5 in the morning.  Also thanks to Charles from AquaSports in Redmond for lending a treasure trove of REI gear for the trip, not to mention a boat for Dan, Darren Albright for organizing transportation and a bunch of other stuff, and to the other eight guys who were on the trip, most of whom I had never met, they were a great group to paddle with and just by being normal and polite they made the fact that I was the only girl on the trip a non-issue, which I really appreciated.  Another reason I love kayaking – it seems to attract really great people.

After the trip Devon, Dirk, and Jon Dufay showed some of us down the Lochsa River, another really fun run.  And it didn’t start raining until we were all done!


Dan P., Darren A., Devon, Dirk, Jon D., Selway River

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  • The Selway sounds like a great trip – can’t wait to see some photos! I completely agree about river folks being all around great people. I’m glad you had fun and looking forward to reading more about your paddling adventures.

  • Thanks Ky, one of the guys has some photos (I am notably missing from most of them, as usual :) that I will try to post here soon.

  • Hey Blair, I emailed you back, also sounds like you got out on the lower Sky with Courtney recently?

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