On February 8th, Scott Baker and I went to check out Cable Choke Falls. This was my 5th time at this falls. I have enjoyed checking out some of the history from this creek. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there was a large scale logging operation that spanned the length of this gorge covering the falls with a log flume. A lot of the remnants of the flume can still be seen, including the cable in and across this falls. I had run it once before at higher water and I really wanted to run it again this season. After scouting the approach of the falls I was a little indecisive until Baker said he wanted to run it. Sometimes it’s a big relief when your are not the only one dropping off the lip. After a full scout of the lead-in it appeared to be a completely different falls this time. The lead in was bumpy and hard to control with the off angles on the rocky approach, but we made the best with what we had.
Final analysis; It goes with hard hits and It’s much better with more water!
The Wallowa Mountains are a mountain range located in the Columbia Plateau of northeastern Oregon in the United States. The range runs approximately 40 mi northwest to southeast between the Blue Mountains to the west and the Snake River to the east. The range is sometimes considered to be an eastern spur of the Blue Mountains. Also called the “Alps of Oregon” Much of the range is designated as the Eagle Cap Wilderness, part of the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest. The highest point in the range is Sacajawea Peak, at an elevation of 9,838 feet above sea level. The Wallowa Batholith is formed of granite from a magma upwelling in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time (between 160 million and 120 million years ago)
Most precipitation in the area is orographic precipitation. Near the tops of the mountains, total annual precipitation can exceed 100 in per year, as opposed to 10 in in the valleys. The Lostine River is a tributary to the Wallowa River draining northwest from the north side of Eagle Cap.
Before this trip Matt King had dialed in a few rivers in the Wallowa’s and after a cross-country road trip, back home for 8 hours, I was on my way to the Lostine with Jacob Cruser. We met up with Tygh and Matt and headed to the river.
After the put-in the Lostine tilts on edge and the whitewater begins. A lot of blind turns and consistent gradual gradient goes until the first long boulder garden.
The last couple rapids build into vertical walls with an intimidating rapid to exit the gorge and reach the take-out. After ducking a log-jam and catching an eddy on river left, you can see the take-out eddy downstream on river left…in between is the exit crux. This section can be seen from the take-out bridge. Scout well and have fun. The Lostine as well as the greater Wallowa’s are packed full of adventure.
The Lostine was an instant classic with easy access, flat water put-in shortly followed by non-stop action. The character starts out with fast paced shallow boulder gardens that eventualy forms into a bedrock gorge before the take out bridge.
For video on the Lostine River and a couple other Wallowa Classics, check out this edit by Jacob Cruser
Flows: Flows are hard to catch in the Wallowas, but the best time is the spring/summer run off when the rivers slowly drop into a good flow range
Take-out: High bridge on Upper Lostine Rd.
Put-in: About 4 miles up the rd. near the first calm pool.
The Wind River in Skamania County Washington is one of the larger volume rivers in the Columbia Gorge. It has two distinct sections of whitewater separated into the Upper section and the Lower Section. This report focuses on the Upper section. Starting in Stabler/Hemlock and taking out just North of Carson off Old-Detour Rd. About 3/4 of a mile below the put-in the rapids start with Initiation, a long rapid with several different lines. The following pictures were taken about 5.7ft on the put-in gauge.
Below Initiation class IV rapids lead quickly down to Ram’s Horn. Ram’s Horn has a big hole in the center/right at the bottom of the rapid and usually run left.
Below Rams Horn the canyon continues to keep you on your toes with fun and challenging rapids.
Climax is the last significant rapid and offers a few different lines, the center is commonly run.
Below Climax the whitewater tapers off and you have about 3 more miles of class III with the occasional class IV rapid.
The take-out is just north of Carson, WA. Take Wind River hwy out of Carson, take a left on High Bridge Road then almost immediate right on Old Detour Rd. drive pas the asphalt and down the hill to the river.
Put-in: Go back to Wind River hwy and continue north to the community of Stabler, take a left across the river, then the next right to swing back around to the river and the parking area.
Alt. Put-In: If the river is running at a good medium flow then you have the option to put in on Lower Trout Creek. Take the left at Stabler then continue another mile to Trout Creek and the old site of the Hemlock Dam.
Flows: Rough estimate – 5ft to 6ft is a low range. 6ft to 7ft is a good medium. Over 7ft. the river starts to get pushy and rapids start to blend together with little recovery time and powerful holes. There is a stick gauge at the put in and an online gauge HERE.