Professor Paddle: Minimum Green Gorge Levels
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megspk
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Topic: Minimum Green Gorge Levels
    Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 1:25pm
I know everyone, or at least alot of people, have differing ideas of best levels to get in the Gorge for first timers.
I'd like to hear recommendations and your reasons why. I'm thinking 1800-2000 for my first time.
Also are there any rapids that Mercury can be compared to?
Cheers!
ďA strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path.Ē -Unknown

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osmelendez
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  Quote osmelendez Replybullet Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 2:10pm
Whatever level you decide it would be great to go down with you for your first time. It would be a great way to reconnect also.
I can't recommend any first time flows. I think 1200-1500 would be the easiest. You would probably really enjoy 1800-2000. I don't think there is much of a difference between 1800-2000.
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koehlea
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  Quote koehlea Replybullet Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 3:02pm
Oscar helped guide my first decent a week ago at 3300 - pointed out what holes to avoid and everything else was great fun. Thanks again and ill be back, would also like to see it at 2k range

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  Quote itchy Replybullet Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 4:03pm
This is from my experiences paddling the Green ~10 times; I'm sure some long time locals who can tell 20 CFS differences may have their own opinions, but...

The easiest level really depends on your skill set and paddling history but if you're a typical WA III-IV paddler (who can deal with waves better than rocks), I think a little higher (1600-2000) would be better.  I don't think I"ve been on it below 1500 and it was pretty junky at that level; lots of little, relatively hard to see rocks that can bump you off line or catch a downstream edge if you aren't on your guard.  The waves and holes aren't that much bigger with a little more water but the small FU rocks are more padded.

As far as Mercury, it compares best to a lot of really non-descript and unnamed rapids that you normally wouldn't worry about.  I would say it's just a standard Middle Middle type rapid.  The big differences between it and the MM are that it's kind of junky and super shallow, and the Nozzle is below it (the Nozzle is easier and smaller than MM's House Rocks though).  The line is sort of straight down the middle, maybe on the left side a little (it's junkier on the right, and IIRC has some larger boulders on the lower right).  No necessary moves or anything.  There is a wave hole that you can punch if you don't want to avoid it.  It's kind of tall but pretty harmless.  Just point straight downstream and paddle!  Don't flip over, because it's really shallow in places and the water moves fast.  But there aren't any lateral currents or any obstacles that a downstream-pointed boater with a little momentum and an active blade in the water won't cruise right through. 


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melger
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  Quote melger Replybullet Posted: 29 Feb 2016 at 6:03pm
In my opinion, 1800-2000 would be the easiest level. A lot of the rocks are covered, but nothing is pushy. I think Mercury gets junkier below 1600 and at lower levels I've hit rocks in the bottom wave train.
Mercury is basically a wave train with some hole dodging recommended. At those levels, no holes on the left line will hold you (that I have found). Good thing about Mercury is there is recovery spots after the top section and at the bottom before the nozzle with plenty of time to roll.
The green is an amazing run! It is beautiful with tons of good whitewater
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otterend
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  Quote otterend Replybullet Posted: 01 Mar 2016 at 6:17am
1800-2000 CFS. I suggest putting in at Headworks, getting a warm up, practicing a roll or two, hitting the drop at railroad bridge, and relaxing before heading into the gorge.

Chris
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megspk
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 01 Mar 2016 at 12:19pm
Thanks for the great advice....kinda what I was thinking already, so it's nice to have it confirmed :) Oscar and Ansel, I'd love to get in there with you! I have ran the Upper to Pipeline...but I don't remember much about the rapids.
ďA strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path.Ē -Unknown

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osmelendez
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  Quote osmelendez Replybullet Posted: 01 Mar 2016 at 12:28pm
Sunday I'm heading out. Saturday is no good this weekend unfortunately. Flows may be higher then you are hoping for. Soon, as the sun gets more hang-time, I'll be doing after work runs.
I have a feeling that we will have a good runoff year so there is no rush. Whenever you are ready. If I don't get to go with you on your first descent then I'll catch up with you some time this year soon.
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 01 Mar 2016 at 12:55pm
I'm always down for later in the day runs! I was figuring it would be high this weekend :) Looks like high water Sky laps for me!
ďA strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path.Ē -Unknown

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The NZA
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  Quote The NZA Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 11:06am
I think 1800 to 2200 is pretty great. I broke my arm in Mercury at 1400, so I am admittedly particularly biased about Mercury at lower water. That said, even with minimal skill, you will be fin in Mercury 80% of the time. But if you flip in it at those lower levels (<1500), you have a decent chance of finding a rock in there. I have done it in an Alpacka at 850-950, which gave me a good glimpse of what's under there (here come the spoilers): it's rocks. A whole bunch of rocks. And it's steep. Which is why it's fast. The raging river actually has a few rapids similar to Mercury, i.e. fast and bumpy. The Silly Stilly at 6 feet or so does too (but not as fast). But there are really not a lot of good rapids that prepare you for it. But I am not sure how much preparation will really help anyway. A brace is your best weapon in there, as are your read and run skills. If you stay pretty close to that left bank, you are probably going to have the best luck; I got into trouble by going to far to the right. But I have see other folks ring their bell in there at those lower levels, even hugging the left bank. So it happens. But at 1800, there seems to be enough water in there to pad it out pretty well. And at that level, along the right bank, there aren't any substantial holes ... maybe a little destabilizing, but you can punch through it all with minimal effort. And everything else at that level is great too.

Edited by The NZA - 02 Mar 2016 at 3:07pm
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  Quote jalmquist Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 12:24pm
Originally posted by The NZA

as (are) your read and run skills....


Bingo.  The cleanest line I've found in Mercury at low flows is to start RR of a large river center rock that sits near the top center of the main drop.  Go just right of this rock, and work left immediately below.  Basically, you're following the current.  Pretty clean line even down to levels well below 1K.  Of course, things could have changed in there.    
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  Quote dave Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 2:20pm
I would say I am the expert on the Upeer Green between 300cfs and 3,000. I dont run it much over 3k, just not into the consequences of making a mistake at higher water. Since it is in my backyard basically, we run it almost every weekend...
Anyway, 1,500 to 1,800cfs is a great first time level. 900 to 1,100 is an extreamly fun level for working on boat control and lots of chutes and drops, I dont understand why people dont like the lower levels, I can run the whole section without hitting one rock down to 600 cfs. It just takes good boat control and river reading skills. 2,000 to 3,000 starts to get the big water feel and more pushy with fun big waves and some good play and surf here and there. Over 3,000cfs you better have some good class IV skills and watch out for the sneaker holes that can give you a good ride or terrible swim...
Below 600 cfs, better get out the ducky, some good boat control skills and a six pack of beer for the slow sections...
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  Quote chipmaney Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 2:29pm
The reason people don't like lower levels is because boats work better with current....

I don't run the green under 1800; not enough current. 1800-2400 is the perfect level with nice waves and channelization. Getting up between 2500-3500, the river becomes choppy and reactionary and more pushy. Not much fun in my opinion. It cleans up again at around 4000, but that is obviously way to high for a class iii-iv boater his/her first time down.

For you, I agree, 1800-2000 is the optimal level.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 5:11pm
well, I have to weigh in here, given the role I've played in this discussion in the past. 1800-2000 is a decent "modern" first timer flow bracket, assuming the paddler is qualified. Which, you are Megan.

But I would actually say maybe its more like 1500-1900 if you want to follow more traditional sensibilities of slightly slower/weaker current.

really 1400 isn't too bad but it is getting scratchy.

In the past paddlers have targeted 1000-1200 as a first time flow which I think is erroneous and not really a well thought out line of reasoning.

Riverbeds like the White Salmon have more of a V-shape which somewhat channelizes lower volumes of water in a decent way, giving you adequate depth.

But the Green has more of a "U-Shape" or a pan to it. That means that as you get into those artificially low flow brackets, the water is spread out among a wider river bed, less channelized, and more shallow.
People who swim in the Upper Gorge between 900-1200 often get pretty banged up. Not only that but even if you got a solid roll, you are more likely to hit your head. And even if you don't flip at all you'll find that the fabric of the current is ripped to shreds by tiny little fu*ker rocks that litter the whole run. Not fun.

Don't care what anyone says. The sport is called Whitewater Kayaking. Not "Lubricated Rock paddling" The late 90's are long behind us and the "low water metric" that served as a steep creeking laboratory is out moded. Besides, the Upper Green isn't a steep creek at all. So the "Low Water is Safer" Logic is wrong and should be thrown out the window. Modern boats crave higher volume. One only needs to hone his or her skills adequately" Roll, Forward Stroke Mechanics, Eddy Turns and Ferries, and of course a well timed boof stroke. All of these skills can be cultivated on any class III run.

I'm gonna say 1500-2000. You'll love it if you haven't been, Megan!
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  Quote mokelumnekid Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 8:15pm
I'm going with Nat's comments...1500+ but I am on record as not liking mank and the time I had a problem in there it was at 1300 and it wasn't even on a named rapid, because of getting high centered and then not having enough water to roll. Mercury at those levels is pretty runnable staying left of center, maybe 30 feet off the left bank tho if it gets low there are some "tip in" little holes that don't have enough water to really push your through if you drop into them. But you will def need to go with an experienced team a sit can be hard to see what's coming first time. Someone who is very experienced recently told me that for them 1000 is their the absolute cut off. Def warm up on Headworks if you have the time. And take a spare paddle.
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  Quote MN Mike Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2016 at 11:02pm
Pipeline hasnít come up yet, so Iím going to point out that it also cleans up quite a bit with more water (up to 3300, the highest Iíve seen). The run out makes it a lower consequence rapid, but it comes before mercury and could throw off your game before the crux. At 3k the left line is pretty much a tongue followed by some squirrely water. Thereís a bit of a wave/hole that seems to get bigger as you drop through the 2s and teens, but itís not a bad ride around 2k. The left looked frightening when I saw it from a packraft at ~600. Although I am a follower of the left-hand path in this rapid, I imagine the right line still goes at most levels, but youíve gotta paddle like you mean it! ÖAnd then you come into the zone of funny water with an odd angle. At least- thatís the best-case scenario assuming you havenít gotten pushed off your line by the current or a FU rock.   

There is nothing new I can add to the discussion on mercury. Keep left, eyes open, be ready to brace. 1800-2200 is my recommendation.


Edited by MN Mike - 02 Mar 2016 at 11:12pm
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koehlea
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  Quote koehlea Replybullet Posted: 03 Mar 2016 at 9:30pm
Green at 3300 fresh off the productions, enjoy.



Edited by koehlea - 04 Mar 2016 at 2:41pm
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  Quote iron monkey Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 2:21am
Why are all you'ns Pacific northwesterners afraid of rocks?
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 2:31pm
'Cause they ain't all polished, smooth, and settled into the riverbed like they are back east. You need some kind of Geology Lesson, Son? Well I ain't got time to give ya one because the geology above Sunset Falls is threatened by a short sighted Hydro Proposal and the mindless Government agency that will rubber stamp it like a 1950's B-movie Robot.

This is the 21st century and modern whitewater boats are bred to be paddled on WATER. Boating boney riverbeds in Wa is akin to trying to make sweet love to a skeleton. Its a lot more sensual with some flesh inbetween. water is the river's flesh. Rocks are the bones. Hence the term boney.

Where did the term Manky come from anyway? Probably them Brits.

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  Quote jalmquist Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 3:43pm
And old boats like the Infinity, Mustang, or even the Dancer were not made to be paddled on WATER?  
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  Quote Travisimo Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 5:49pm
H2O please
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Travisimo
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  Quote Travisimo Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 5:50pm


Is this why I'm an ELF boater?
H2O please
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osmelendez
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  Quote osmelendez Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 8:00pm
your flows are in megan! we'll be out there this sunday! there will probably be a big crew of helpful boaters.
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  Quote jalmquist Replybullet Posted: 04 Mar 2016 at 8:15pm
Anyone headed that way Sat?
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  Quote Mike55 Replybullet Posted: 05 Mar 2016 at 8:12am
I would like to run the full gorge this weekend!

Headed to FG at 11 to run the lower today, unless I come across a solid crew to run the full gorge.

What's the plan for tomorrow?
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