Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from SKYKOMISH RIVER NEAR GOLD BAR at 3/24/2017 8:21:28 AM)
|Foss — Big Y to Railroad Trestle (upper) ©|
Avg Gradient 150 fpm
Max Gradient 210 fpm
|Put In Longitude :
|Put In Latitude :
|Take Out Longitude :
|Take Out Latitude :
SKYKOMISH RIVER NEAR GOLD BAR
||USGS - NWIS
||3/24/2017 7:30:00 AM
Minimum Recomended Level: 7000 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 12000 cfs
1-18-2015 6.8' on the SF Sky gauge is a nice medium flow with warm temps and rain.
With rocks mostly covered and nice coverage for booting mot things. Ken and Barbie wasn't too rocky and the run down to the trestle is as clean as I've ever seen it. Access is pretty simple, no gates or anything funny. Hike downstream through the woods with your boat for a few and get in the river. Take out at the big railroad bridge. Rinse. Repeat!
From the railroad trestle bridge take out, or the lower road bridge access, drive up the road and pull over at a large Y in the road with a large pullout. Enter the woods where some gravel has been bulldozed over the bank. Hike down the bank, making progress downstream as you hike. I find the easiest thing to do is hike straight downstream as the river is bending right to meet you and the put in options are a little nicer as well. When you get to the river you know you're in the right spot if you see a gravel bar island on the river right side where you put-in. This is the start of the class III.
You can take out at the old railroad trestle bridge, or, to get a longer paddle in that includes some class III rapids, continue down to the bridge where the road crosses over. Please be respectful when parking here. This is all private property around here and we wouldn't want to lose access privileges. Some people park about 50 to 100 yards upstream of the road bridge.
Gonna run laps? Got 3 cars with you? Drop two at the T.O. and shuttle up to the put-in in one. Then after lap #1 you can shuttle up in another car still leaving you one at the T.O. for after lap #2. Less driving, more boating!
As of 3/12/2014 this run is free of all blocking wood. A swim could be long and painful. Boats will travel a long way also. A solid roll is a must.
A word about flows: Under 9,000 cfs on the Sky, expect lower levels and perhaps some bumping and scraping. Typicly this run is best between 10,000-12,000 cfs. From 12k up it'll be big water and pumping. That's just a basic guideline though, and different seasons or storm cycles distort the correlation between the Foss and the Sky.
There's a 'foot' gauge on the SF Sky @ Skykomish that is useful for the Foss and other tribs upstream of Skykomish. Please post beta from recent trips here until we get levels dialed in a bit. http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/river/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?SSSW1
You can also ping this guage on the 41411. Simply send "Level sf sky" and wait for the reply...
7.5' on sf sky gauge. Water looks a little more brown coming in from the Tye. Level: med
8.0' dropping on sf sky guage. Sky @ 18,000cfs. Less than 2' mark on bridge guage. Medium High-ish.
7' dropping on sf sky guage. Sky @ 11,500 dropping slowly. 1' mark on bridge guage.Medium-ish. Residual snow melt after several days of heavy rain on the pass.
At the Foss River Bridge two different visual guages that can be helpful. A flat Table Rock on the downstream side of the bridge has a Mossy Table Cloth. If this table is underwater or flush with the river level, expect some pretty high water. If you can see 3-6" of the side of the table rock, it should be somewhere in the medium fat range. If all of the mossy table cloth is exposed and you can see bare rock above water level, it may be more of a rocky medium. Once more of the smaller rock scattered around the bridge is exposed, it is manky low. The Foss doesn't boat so clean if its boney.
The other visual reference at the bridge is a spray painted guage on the concreet bridge pylon. There are numbered lines. The 2' mark seems to be a medium high, pushy, and full on. The 1' mark still being a fairly filled in medium with just a few stern bangers and other assorted rock.
Run Description [Season: Rain or snow, it's a go.]
Road scouting this one isn't really possible. To scout before you put on you have to bushwack through thick forest. Best to be ready for a nonstop class IV-IV+ adventure and just put on, or otherwise go run the Rapid River instead. The Rapid is usually a half step down in intensity, assuming both runs are fairly clean. Generally if your lead boat knows the lines, you can bomb this one and just follow helmets as they bob down ahead of you.
It's continuous right off the bat. Usually the wood seems to be more of an issue higher up. You will quickly approach "Ken and Barbie" and will notice a steepening gradient, followed by a collection of larger boulders scattered throughout. Eddy out here on either side (usually the right)and collect your group. At medium flows and higher, some people in your group may need to take a breather by now, and the next 1/4 mile is the crux of the run.
Scouting on the Foss is not tough, a solid class IV boater can catch eddies along the way. Some people get out here above "Ken and Barbie" to get a peak at it. It has multiple approaches, but basically you want to avoid the sievy pile of rock in the lower right portion of this top 30 yards of the sequence. There's also a cool S-Turn you can follow around to the left. It all goes, paddle hard!! It's tight in here, focusing all of the water through this crux drop. Immediately below this drop on river left is probably the best place to set safety here. There are also eddies along the right.
Below Ken and Barbie there are two or three more distinct drops in the form of broken ledges. Staying right of center generally provides the best lines while also giving you access to some technical eddy clusters and sneak routes depending on water levels. Somewhere in here is a route you can take towards the right through a series of these eddies that leads you over a ledge against the right bank. It's sort of a "Pressure Release Valve" because you can utilize the slack water to slow down. This route is good for anyone who wants to tone down this crux section. Boof this 4' high ledge on the right and land in the eddy. Careful though, because the ledge can be sticky enough to chunder ya.
From here on out the action continues over a few more broken ledges, but gradually tapers off. You'll see one particularly manky looking cluster of boulders in the center at some point. Through here follow the current as it hooks around to the right behind a boulder. Hug that boulder tight because there's a nasty fan rock there that could flip you. Further left could be a bad place to pin.
As the boulders get smaller, the gradient lessens, and you start to pass over more gravel bars and braided channels, especially at lower water. There are log jams that collect throughout this run, against the outside of turns and trees simply eroding from the bank and falling in.
Before long you come to the railroad bridge that most people use as an early takeout. The rapid under the bridge is manky and unnatural, so if you run this one be sure of your lines. More water is better.
You can continue down further to the bridge where the road crosses the Foss. There's more class III whitewater and some fun small boulders to boof, but the floods have scoured the rock a little and so it's a bit mankier overall than the rapids upstream. That said, it is a fun section and if you only have one day and want to make the most of it, go ALL the way down and take out at the highway 2 bridge. You'll find some treats in there. Most folks take out at the railroad trestle bridge and run laps.
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