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Lost    Drake Creek to Methow River confluence™ ©
Class IV-IV+(V)

River Mapplet
Zip Code : 98833 General Area
Put In Longitude : -120.38057 Putin
Put In Latitude : 48.8011017
Take Out Longitude : -120.50653 Take Out
Take Out Latitude : 48.6551628
County : Okanogan Shuttle
   Gauge Information (Professor Paddle updated levels from Virtual at )
Gauge Forecast Height Current Flow Authority Physical Update
Virtual n/a 0  Virtual cfs  3rd Party Gauge
Minimum Recomended Level:  850 cfs     Maximum Recomended Level:  1200 cfs 


The first 3.5 miles or so are relatively easy trail hiking, and it is mostly downhill once you round Eightmile Pass. But you will still want a very comfortable pack system for your boat. From where the trail meets Drake Creek, the remaining 2 mi consist of very technical hiking through dense forest followed by a traverse across a steep slope of sharp, loose talus. Wear excellent footwear, pack as light as possible, and bring topo maps.

Weekend warriors may want to consider having shuttle set on Friday evening, and maybe even hiking into Drake Creek before saturday.

  Putin Details

West Chewuch Rd follows the Chewuch river directly from the west end of Winthrop. After about 8mi, turn left on Eightmile Creek Rd. Follow all the signage for Billy Goat Pass. There is a lower trailhead for horses and an upper trailhead for hikers. Be prepared for up to an extra half mile or more due to road closure. From the uppermost trailhead, its approximately 1/4mi to where the trail branches off. Take a left here and follow the trail up the expansive drainage of Eightmile Creek for another 3 miles or so to Drake Creek. This is an advisable camp spot. While only another 2 mi stand between you and the put in, it will seem much further. There is a recognizable trail, but you'll be ducking under countless low fallen trees, and climbing over or bushwacking around just as many. Finally, the shuffling of small talus rock beneath your feet will challenge your balance. It will be tempting to answer the siren song of the Lost River once you get close to it, but you may be better off sticking out the harsh grind along the talus slope. Prematurely suiting up in an attempt to navigate the thick brush and logjams across the river may be counter productive.

  Takeout Details

To reach the take out, drive about 6 miles up Lost River Rd to a bridge over The Lost River.

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  Other Issues

The hike from Drake Creek to the Put In is a real bitch. You may be better off to allow extra time to complete it. Consider camping at Drake Creek, otherwise allow for more than the 6hrs Korb recommends in the Bennette Book. Once your feet are grinding beneath the weight of your fully loaded boat on the loose talus, you may find yourself wishing for more of the dense forest: the endless ducking of your 8' tall backpack and relentless wiggling through brush... Still reading? At the put in yet? Ok. Now its time to suit up, hop in your boat, and slog through numerous log choked class II portages. After it opens up to some boatable class II-III+, you will come to the lake. There is No Mistaking Lost Lake. It is small but distinct. But the Portage Quest is not over. A long gnarly class V+ staircase is squished against a dramatic wall on R. Right. The portage route down the left takes you over large talus chips to a forrested area below where you are finally allowed to go kayaking.

  Fun Facts

The Lake is a beautiful, tranquil place. Consider camping at Drake Creek (you may see some bear shit on the trail, so manage your camp practices accordingly), and then again at the lake. You'll find some sweet camping on the upstream end of the lake. The walls of the Lost River are monolithic and striking. Leave No Trace. This place is surely sacred.

Flow: Since your boats will be loaded with overnight gear, ideally you'll want about 1000 or 1100 cfs in the creek. A solid medium. Low flows could easily damage or break a gear laden boat, and high flows could get just plain scary. After the ordeal of hiking your boat in, you'll want to be rewarded with a nice medium flow. AW has a good formula for a virtual guage based on the square miles of the respective drainages.

   Run Description [Season: snow melt: June]

And now, the paddling! After you portage the gnarly whitewater ditch that drains the lake, you'll probably start wondering whether all the rigors of the trip thus far will be rewarded. Any random glance at the pristine beauty all around you will answer half of those thoughts, and shortly downstream so will the whitewater.
   But first you will still have more woody debris to dodge and deal with. But any portaging is easy enough, and most of the logjams offer a slot to squeeze through. Gradually the stream solidifies into a whitewater personality. Eddies are scarce, and good spacing is important.

About the time when you strart seeing more large, chunky boulders obstructing your downstream view, you'll be getting out to scout a distict S-Turn rapid. Boof a flake on R. Right and scramble high across the boils to the left to avoid a mean looking hydraulic. More indistinct boogie water will quickly deliver you to Monument Creek. This confluence is very obvious and a scenic place for a break. You've paid the price of admission at this point, so you may as well stop and enjoy yourself.

Monument creek contributes a significant amount of water to The Lost, and very soon after the run builds into a very consolidated gorge of continuous class IV+ whitewater. Considering the extreme effort it took to get this far, hopefully the paddling skills of those in your group are up to the challenge of running this section mostly blind and on the fly. Otherwise be prepared for more slow going as you scramble for eddies that do not exist to scout chunky, continuous stuff that basicly "goes". You will want someone solid in your group who is not afraid to probe, yet can do so efficiently and without incident.

You'll know that the action is tapering off well before you reach Eureka Creek on R. Right. The creek confirms that the whitewater portion of your trip has drawn to a close. There is a trail you can pick up on R. Right here should you need egress from the canyon on foot. Mixed class II-III boogie water continues for quite a ways until progress eventually deteriorates in a maze of messy log choked navigation challenges. So much wood is scattered over braided channels that finding your route can be confusing and hazardous. Don't let fatigue make you vulnerable in this sort of class II terrain laced with class V wood risks. But each challenge brings you closer to the bridge.

If the unbalanced ratio of hardship to whitewater makes you wonder about this trip, it may not be the trip for you. It is not the environment for occassional class IV boaters. One needs solid class IV skills at least. The best way to boost your margin of enjoyment for this run is by making the whitewater segment most efficient by running it on the fly with minimal scouting. Class V boaters will have a great time on the water, provided they take the time to "stop and smell the roses" in this excellent wilderness gorge.


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jP's 6/21/2012 Run SubmissionjP6/21/2012 12:42:00 PM
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