JoesKayak's Submission - Entered on 4/3/2015 4:56:00 PM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 2/23/2017 5:22:01 AM)
NF SNOQUALMIE RIVER NEAR SNOQ
||NWRFC | FC Page
3rd Party Gauge
||2/23/2017 4:15:00 AM
Minimum Recomended Level: 300 cfs Maximum Recomended Level: 750 cfs
You have to hike in using the Spur 10 gate road. At the first fork in the road go left, then at some point you come to a more overgrown fork in the road, take the right fork (you'll see a striped flag marking it)and soon you'll be hiking downhill until you find yourself along the river. climb down the steep forested bank and there you are. Best to go with someone who knows, though. There's enough roads in there to potentially get lost otherwise.
See access details.
read the bennet book or check AW. It's just outside of North Bend and relatively easy to find. Basicly the take out is at a park beside a bridge where 108th and Reinig Road meet.
Issues? If you got issues you don't want to bring them into here! Uncle Ernie doesn't mess around. He's somewhat fair and even handed, but if you fail to tow the line, there can be deadly consequences.
Plan on scouting a lot just like all other reports will advise. A few scouts into the run and you'll see literally hundereds of good reasons to scout!
It is a beautiful and unique place, and reasonably boatable. It's also a very gloomy, spooky place to be having "fun". That said, qualified paddlers will have fun, even if it's mixed with seriousness and some nerves.
Jim Good and Matt Davidson were the first to explore this run. They took 14' glass race boats, and Matt broke his on the first rapid. They returned later to claim the 1st Descent, portaging 5 or 6 times. Jim told me this run is named after Ernie's Grove, the little community near the take-out.
Run Description [Season: spring through mid summer]
Along with Robe Canyon, Ernie’s Canyon is the staple of local Seattle class V boaters needing their fix. Located forty minutes from downtown, the river flows at runnable levels on and off practically all year long. On the run are twenty or so high-quality, creeky, boulder-garden drops nestled within a dark canyon. While Ernie’s reputation as extremely dangerous and difficult is not without merit, this run is accessible to the experienced class V creeker. Careful though, this is no place to be out of control. Before committing it is advised that you carefully evaluate your skills or consult with someone who has done the run. Most of the rapids can be scouted and portaged fairly easily, but doing this run for the first time with someone who knows it is highly recommended due to the continuous and unforgiving nature of the whitewater. Until you are familiar with this run, its best to avoid it during winter when ice may be present, otherwise getting out of the river to scout or portage may be difficult at best.
Ernie’s Canyon is divided into two sections, above and below the rarely-run “Jacuzzi Falls”. Below the put-in are a couple miles of class II-III. After one class IV drop, the rapids swiftly become Class V as you enter "Raft Cache". The whitewater is powerful and complex, and the first drops are quite stacked. After a dozen or so Class V rapids the section culminates with the “Big Three”: “Cool Rapid/The Slide/Big Nasty”, “Split Falls”, and “Toilet Bowl”. This last rapid is especially dangerous: the paddler must negotiate across a boily room on river left and then over a six-foot drop. After rolling up after the all-too-probable flip, you must charge hard to the right to avoid a terminal sieve lurking thirty feet downstream of the drop. Sound sketchy? If you lack basic skills like the ability to roll quickly and reliably, this river is not for you. Toilet Bowl can be portaged by rappelling off of a tree on river right, or boofed on the right at sufficiently high flows.
Below Toilet Bowl there is a bit of Class II-III. After nearly a mile, you may see some logs on the river right bank. Best to eddy out on the left sooner than later. The river quickly changes to class IV, and then plunges over the extremely sketchy-looking "Jacuzzi Falls". Eddy out well before the falls on the left and portage over the bench of rock high above the falls. There is a last chance eddy on river right at the lip, but best not to mess with this. Below this are three or four more rapids culminating in “Crash Test Dummy”. Enjoy the spectacular views of Mt. Si as you float a mile to the takeout.
Props to the brave souls who unlocked the canyon with their first descents more than two decades ago. Jim Good and Bob Duffner are two of the guys who ran it first.
Here's a link to an article detailing early descents...
Ernie's Gorge is under threat! Support AW and their fight against the Black Canyon hydro project. Flows in this video are around 500-600cfs.
The flow for this video was in the mid 300's.
Tiziak and Kurle at the low end of flows. most drops were fine. but add a little more water, and things clean up considerably.