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Thread: Packrafting Chetco River - Partner Request

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    Packrafting Chetco River - Partner Request

    The Chetco is a rugged and isolated river that descends rapidly through the Siskiyou Mountains to the Pacific Ocean in southwestern Oregon. Because of its origins high in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, itís known for its very high water quality supporting a large population of salmon, trout and over 200 other species endemic to the Oregon Coast Range. In 2002, the largest forest fire in modern Oregon history (500,000 acre Biscuit Fire) torched the area making access very difficult and therefore preserving the wild and scenic nature of the river.

    My plan this spring is to backpack in 9 miles from the Babyfoot Lake Trailhead, descending over 3400 feet to the Carter Creek/Chetco confluence. From there it is roughly a 30 mile float, with over a 150 rapids to the South Fork of the Chetco Bridge near Brookings, Oregon. Make no mistake; this is a whitewater trip through an incised canyon in the middle of nowhere. There are at least two class 5 rapids, ten class 4 and numerous 3ís and 2ís. All rapids are scoutable and have portage options, but Iím sure there will be a lot of read and run along the way. Needless to say, at least class 3 paddling skills, solid backcountry skills and a healthy penchant for adventure are a prerequisite.

    Ideally I would like to take four days to float it and have flows somewhere between 400 Ė 1500cfs on the Brookings gauge. This means that flexibility with scheduling will be required because of two or three moving variables: First, is the sporadic rise and fall of the river, particularly early season. Also In early spring there are more low elevation streams adding to the flow at the Brookings gauge, meaning there is less water in the upper river where we will be floating. Second is the high elevation of the trailhead, which is at 4800 feet. And lastly is the weather. Letís not forget this is a costal range and subject to fierce changes in conditions in a short amount of time.

    If this sounds like something you might be interested in, and are the type of person who takes a masochistic delight in uncomfortable situations, I would love to hear from you.

    Mark

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