|White Salmon — 3 - Green Truss Bridge to BZ Corners ©|
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Minimum Recomended Level: 2.25 ft Maximum Recomended Level: 3.75 ft
Steep class V put-in along Highway 141. Easy takeout
Talk to some local paddlers to find the Green Truss bridge just off of Hwy 141. Its on the right side just past the huge clearcut, about 4.5 miles from BZ Corner.
You can drive in to where the bridge crosses the river and unload, but then you need to park out on Hwy 141.
Take out above or below "Maytag" Rapid in BZ Corner, and hike up the trail with rails (used for sliding rafts down to the riverbank)to the parking lot in BZ.
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The put-in involves an arduous drop down a rock cliff to the put in. This is one of the most dangerous parts of the run, and I wouldn’t recommend doing it without lowering with a rope. There is often a fixed line or two just downstream of the Green Truss bridge, but it is still really sketchy, and sometimes the upper rope is missing.
Northwest proving ground for Class V creekin’! If you are a strong paddler and have someone to follow who knows the lines, you can run this section with minimal scouting. Otherwise, if you are figuring it out for yourself, or are new to class V runs in general, you should plan on scouting all the major rapids and anything else you are unsure of.
Run Description [Season: Year round]
The Green Truss is one of the gems of northwest creeking.
The run begins with some really fun Class III+/IV- warm up rapids. Each one ends in a pool with a bit of recovery and they are easily boat scoutable. But if you are a chronic ELF boater, beware of the rapid that has a manky entrance and ends in the narrow "elbow banger" slot early on (at levels of 2.5' and less).
Meatball is the first rapid with a name: There is a short lead-in drop into a moving pool. The Meatball Rock is right of center in the riverbed, and most of the current goes left of it. There is also a route on the right side of it, but most people run it on the left. The water twists around Meatball and drops out from under you- maybe a 5' or 6' drop or so.
Right below Meatball is Bob’s Falls. This rapid actually has two drops. The first is a stout ledge with a strong recirculating hydraulic at the bottom, especially in the middle. Generally the line is down the right, boofing a sloping plume of water. At lower flows the left side is run as well, just stay out of the middle. Below this ledge is a very short moving pool that funnels over a steep drop. You can run this anywhere- just be aware that Big Brother is not very far downstream.
Immediately below the two drops that make up Bob's, there's a short and sweet rapid you enter in the center and finish on the left. Good boof/pillow move at medium to low flows. Eddy out now on the left because the next horizon line you see is Big Brother.
BIG BROTHER. Does it really need to be described? Maybe a Youtube search will serve you better than anything that can be written here. It's a fairly well known 25-28 footer, and it gets run A LOT. It's not uncommon to spot a "who's who" of "Pro" paddlers and other assorted local rippers fire this one off. Regardless, you should scout it and treat it with the respect it deserves. It hands out beatdowns on a regular basis and isn't really that easy of a waterfall to run. The approach to the boof flake schools a lot of boaters. Most folks know about the infamous "cave", which is better described as an eddy carved out of the right corner of the falls. This eddy gets mean at higher flows. Any further description won't help you. Watch some videos and then scout it when you are there. If there's no "talent" on hand to show you how it's done and you want it bad enough, you'll have to figure it out yourself! Just be sure to set safety beforehand ;)
Right below Big Brother is Little Brother (Also known as "The Faucet"). If you portage Big Bro you can lower your boat down with a rope that's usually there and put back in for 'Lil Bro, but at higher flows this is a precarious proposition. You may find it best to portage 'Lil Bro as well. This drop is sweet and straightforward. At lower water the line is left to right, driving over the glassy hump to clear the hole at the bottom. This hole on the left side of the river gets sticky at higher flows, though. Scout carefully while you are out of your boat. There's also a cascading line down the rightside you can run at medium high flows and greater.
A few smaller rapids lead up to Double Drop, a monstrous 18 foot double falls through two huge holes. Many folks advocate not scouting this, because, as the logic goes, scouting won't help you! It's also harder to get out on the left to scout at higher flows. This is also the portage route. The first drop is about 9-12 feet straight into a huge hole. Enter just slightly right of center and pull a delayed boof stroke (a righty might serve you well by sending you slightly left-ish). The important thing is to try to land on the surface and not plug before you immediately flush into the second drop. Still in control of your boat? GREAT! You're in the minority - stroke hard into the second hole and resign your fate to the river gods- you're tumbling the dice now. back enders are common here, and often those who allow their boat to have any kind of rightward spin momentum between drops end up slamming their boats hard into the right wall before, during, or after they hit the bottom hole. But don't worry: usually one end of your boat or the other will hit the wall before you do!!
Below Double Drop there's narrow ledge with a nice boof followed by many class III+ to IV- rapids. "Cheese Grater" is a respectable class IV rapid though: It's recognizable by the abrasive texture of the surounding basalt, and somewhere on the right side of the rapid are some undercut hazards. This rapid can be run down the right, but it may be safest to enter left and curve your way back to the center at the bottom.
Zigzag Canyon contains the next notable rapids, and they are both formidable. this canyon is perhaps the most narrow, walled in part of the whole run. Scout Upper Zig on the right. Towards the top of this rapid is a powerfull diagonal wave than can flip a kayak easily or otherwise throw it around. Skirting it to the right will go a long ways toward maintining control through the series of offset waves and holes that follow. Watch out for the undercut pocket against the left wall at lower flows, but gnerally you'll flush out the right side of the rapid at the bottom, regardless of whether you are upright, capsized, or backwards or whatever.
Lower Zag can be scouted on the Left. DEFINITELY scout Lower Zigzag, because it has a nasty leaning log that's been there for some time and ain't leaving anytime soon. There's currently other wood down below the crux of this rapid as well. You enter Lower Zigzag by staying to the right of the first two waves. There is a riverwide ledge below these waves that is commonly boofed on the right over a pourover rock, or to the right of it at higher flows. This lands you in a fairly short moving pool toward the gnarly looking part of the rapid. With a strong right to left angle you want to drive just to the left of a nasty roostertail, and shoot between the leaning log and a carved out alcove in the canyon wall on R. Left. When you spit out the downstream side you can generally find routes left, right or center- just be sure to avoid the riverwide log jammed between the walls immediately below here.
As soon as you leave Zigzag Canyon behind, you'll see Orletta Creek enter on R. Right. This is the put-in for The Orletta section. There are a few more class III and IV rapids before you reach BZ Falls...
The first has a huge wall jutting out on the right side near the bottom. This wall is pretty undercut and all the flow goes right into it. Dodge the hole on left by starting right, and then cut back to the left of the cluster of rock in the center. This is the best way to avoid the undercut wall.
After two or three busy III+/IV- rapids you'll get to "Hers And His". If you look closely at the springs that come in on R. Left, maybe you'll figure out why this name is apt. Take a drink from the gender of your preference. Below this short class III the walls narrow, leading to the ledge known by many paddlers as "That Sticky Ledge That Kicked My Ass". Run this ledge on the right. Paddlers have been known to get stuck in this one and throw some ends before swimming out.
From here down it is pretty mellow Class III+ in a beautiful gorge. Check out the springs that come into the river on all sides out of cracks in the walls. There are also a few caves you can paddle into, usually found on R. Left. Its pretty sweet. After a short break in the action, the river comes around a sweeping corner right and enters Triple Drop. There are three distinct drops in here at lower flows, but they all run together when the river is pumping.
More class III rapids lead up to "The Mini Flume" and then "The Flume"- a really long narrow flush with powerful offset diagonal waves. Below this short pool is a brief steep slide of a drop, followed by the last pool above BZ Falls. Most paddlers get out here to poratge BZ Falls, but you can run the class III+ boulder garden down to one of the three micro eddies or so that dot the R. Right bank. or, you can opt to run BZ Falls. Plenty of people do. Just scout it carefully because the hole is violently retentive at higher flows, and there is a severe piton hazard at lower flows. Portaging BZ Falls, there are several ways to seal launch into the river, and even a way to hike down and around to where you can put in along the bank. This latter option is only marginally safer than seal launching, though. Whatever you decide, scout your options carefully, and ideally, talk to the locals.
A few short class III rapids later bring you to the take out just above "Maytag", or you can run it and take out below it on R. Right.
What a Classic Run!
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