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Cooper River    Waterfall to Cle Elum River™ ©
Class IV-V
Avg Gradient 110 fpm

River Mapplet
Put In Longitude : -121.13494 Putin
Put In Latitude : 47.41821
Take Out Longitude : -121.10585 Take Out
Take Out Latitude : 47.408312
County : Kittitas Shuttle
   Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from Cle Elum Reservoir Inflow at 8/6/2016 6:20:21 PM)
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
Cle Elum Reservoir Inflow NWRFC | FC Page 0  314 cfs  US Bureau of Reclamation 6-AUG-2016 07:45:11
Minimum Recomended Level:  600 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  2000 cfs 


From I-90, take exit 80 and turn north on Bullfrog Road. Continue to Hwy 903 and follow 903 through Roslyn and along Cle Elum Reservoir following signs towards Salmon la Sac. After Roslyn 903 becomes Salmon La Sac Road.

  Putin Details

From the take-out, backtrack on Salmon La Sac road a mile or so and turn RIGHT onto Cooper river road (NF-46). Continue till you see a big stump turned over, its on the right hand side several miles up the road. Happy Huntin. You should quickly identify a trail that switch backs down and deposits you upstream of a huge unrunnable sliding waterfall (it would be a boat breaking, body breaking, rocky descent). Follow the well defined trail downstream of the falls and put in there.

  Takeout Details

Continue up Salmon La Sac road and follow the signs towards Salmon La Sac. The road will fork, with the right fork heading uphill towards the upper Cle Elum valley. GO LEFT and soon cross the Cle Elum river on a one lane bridge usually with people in shorts standing on it daring each other to jump off. Stay on the main road (not going into the Salmon La Sac camp) and follow it to the end at the trailhead parking area. There is a $5 USFS trail parking fee to park here (or use USFS annual pass). From the parking are you can follow the trail to look at Wall of Voodoo.

Take out at the small eddy on river left just below the swimming hole at the end of the run. There's a shallow rock garden you paddle through below the pool. Although you can climb up the cliffs the easiest route is back to the parking lot from the lower eddy.

 River Alerts   ( Add Alert ) Pinned Forum Threads
 Mandatory wood portage 2 drops below Norm''s, the drop immediately above has a distinctive wood pile indicating portage in next drop. A limbo log a couple ledges above Wall of Voodoo can be missed by staying right. Limbo/portage move isn''t tough. Other than that the run is pretty clean. We had a flow of 1800. - Posted by: water wacko on 5/23/2016 3:20:00 PM -  [Remove Alert]

Family Cooper Co'OpWhitewater Forum

Features on this run

Feature Name Class
Entrance Slide IV
Boof Ledge 1 IV
Normís Resort IV-V
Uber Boof (a.k.a. Fluffy Ledge) IV
Butt Buster IV
Slope Ledge 4 IV
S-Turn IV-V
Little Voodoo IV
Shark's Tooth IV+
Wall of Voodoo IV+
Add a Feature | Re-Order Features

  Other Issues

Notes on flow:

The gauge listed for this run is the total inflow of the Cle Elum river into Cle Elum reservoir. The Cooper represents a percentage of that flow, as it is one of 3 main tributaries that make up the Cle Elum River, along with the Waptus river and the upper Cle Elum.

Earlier in the season the Cooper contributes a smaller percentage of the flow as all 3 tributaries are melting off snow. However, later in the season as water levels drop, the Cooper holds water longer than the other tributaries and a larger percentage of the water on the gauge will be coming from the Cooper. Roughly speaking, early in the season (May) the Cooper is probably contributing 1/3 of the flow you see on the gauge. Late in the season (July) the Cooper may be contributing more like 1/2 of the flow on the gauge.

In other words, a gauge reading of 1200 cfs in May can be similar to an 800 cfs reading in July.

Its always a good idea when you get to the river to walk down to the take out and take a look at Wall of Voodoo to get a visual indication of the river level.

  Fun Facts

Still some patches of Old Growth in here. Read your Bennett Book: "Yes Toto! There really is some left!"

   Run Description [Season: Summer]

One of the best bets for summer creeking. In years with good snowpack, its still going in August.

The Cooper is a great intro Creekin run. Similar to FITW in difficulty,the drops are straight forward. UNLIKE FITW, the drops are much more spaced out, providing a more relaxed pace with large eddies and pools in between.

The run starts out below a water fall and instantly drops over a ledge/slide with a 90 degree turn at the base. Just below this is a 6 foot ledge that is run center moving right with a Left boof stroke. In fact, most of the ledges that follow are run on the right side boofing into the eddies on R. Right below each one...

Below this ledge the river cruises around a corner before arriving at the lead in rapid to Norm's Resort. There's a sweet little "Boost-A-Boof" center right on your way to the ledge known as Norm's. Its tiny but really delivers a satisfying Boof. You REALLY want right hand angle at Norm's. This ledge is tall and likes to gobble up boaters who don't time their stroke well. After Norm's Resort there are 3 more ledges that are run on the right. One of these is the "Butt Buster Boof". If you're too far left you'll discover its namesake. The 3rd is an aired out boof which lands you on a fluffy pile that is super soft. After this boof there is another 2 ledge set that is run on the right also. Wood has been known to chock up here.

Then you arrive at S-Turn. Scout this one on R. Left if you've never run this before, and be wary of the sloping rock you traverse during the scout.A spring trickles in here and makes the rock extra slippery. Don't fall into the meat of the rapid.At some flows the hole at the bottom can be hungry for boats. Portage on the left if it's running high (1800 Cle Elum Lake Inflow or higher). It's worth being patient and doing this portage right: Get out two throwbags and figure it out like a homo sapien. Hope you brought a few biners, you'll need them too. If it's under 1600 you should be able to run it, and there can be many routes you can approach from depending on water levels.

Below S-Turn you come to Little Voodoo which is a series of small holes up against a rock wall which are all run Right. At the base of the last hole is a small pool just above Shark's Tooth.Shark's Tooth is one of the longer, steeper, more technical rapids on the run. Enter right for the first short drop, then move left to approach the second half of the rapid. At the bottom the Shark's Tooth Rock will be waiting for you to decide which way you will go around it. The right route is easier to get to but bonier with pin potential at lower flows. the Left is where the broader line is, but it will take some paddling to get there.

In between Shark's Tooth and The Wall of VooDoo there are a few more small rapids and ledges all with open lines in each channel. The last rapid WALL OF VOODOO can be seen by walking up from the base of the takeout, and should be scouted carefully. There are many ways to approach the crux of this drop.Most folks boof off of a pourover nub center-left of the crux ledge, riding the backside of the diagonal back to the right through the narrow exit. Watch out for piton rocks in the center-right part of the crux ledge, and be sure you don't get too far right. The diagonal hole kicks hard into the right wall, and getting pinned against it can be a real hazard at some flows (its undercut).

Maybe jump off of the cliff and take a dip with locals at the standard swimming hole after your run, unless you are hot to get back up to the put-in for more laps!



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Trip NameTrip Date
Trip Report TitleDate
First Creek run in PNW......7/11/2010

Beta Trail    
SubmissionBeta Submitted BySubmitted On
Jed Hawkes's 5/31/2013 Run SubmissionJed Hawkes5/31/2013 7:44:00 AM
James's 5/29/2013 Run SubmissionJames5/29/2013 11:05:00 AM
JoesKayak's 5/18/2012 Run SubmissionJoesKayak5/18/2012 4:31:00 PM
JoesKayak's 5/18/2012 Run SubmissionJoesKayak5/18/2012 4:28:00 PM
jP's 2/10/2012 Run SubmissionjP2/10/2012 1:17:00 AM
kurle's 8/12/2011 Run Submissionkurle8/12/2011 8:37:00 PM
Jed Hawkes's 7/21/2011 Run SubmissionJed Hawkes7/21/2011 9:21:00 AM
James's 4/9/2007 Run SubmissionJames4/9/2007 8:26:00 PM

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