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 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.
3/4 mile hike into Oneonta Gorge to Lower Oneonta Falls
Locked away in a narrow slot canyon Oneonta Creek is a beautiful escape from the outside world. The lower falls can only be access by parking at the parking area and hiking up the creek through the canyon. Wear clothes that you can get wet and go in the summer when flows are low and temperatures are warm. You will have to wade through neck deep water just before you get to the hidden lower falls or try to scale the slippery wall beside the pool.
Oneonta Gorge has been described as “one of the true dramatic chasms in the state.”
For a breathtaking retreat from civilization this gorge is one of a kind. Best during summer months since you have to walk through the water, but you can access it anytime of the year. It does require some log hoping and walking up a slick creek bed. Weekends can get crowded as it is one of the more popular hikes in the Columbia Gorge. Oneonta is located east of Multnomah Falls and just west of Horsetail Falls on the historic Columbia Gorge highway.