Epicocity Project checks out the flooded White Salmon River

Heavy rain, above normal temperatures and a healthy snowpack are making for epic paddling conditions in Hood River right now. After a night of warm temperatures and steady rain, the three feet of snow at BZ Corners melted down to only six inches, and the river level spiked from 600 CFS to 5,000 CFS.

BZ Falls

Austin Rathman called me yesterday morning saying that he had his eyes on Conduit Dam, the dam that forms Northwestern Lake on the White Salmon River. While I’d spent the summer living on Northwestern Lake, I’d never seen the dam, and was pretty curious about what it was all about. The plan was to have a huck session at the dam and then head upstream and do a richter-high run of the Green Truss.

The view below BZ Falls.

I met Tao, Austin and a crew of eager photogs and videographers at the dam. The dam was huge – a 35 foot off vertical freefall that trannys to a 20 foot slide before disconnecting for a 30 foot freefall. Tao and I opted out, but Austin fired it up and stuck it.

Conduit Dam

Next, we headed up to BZ Corners to set shuttle for a run of the Truss. Austin had stopped and checked the gauge at Husum, which was, at that point, underwater. We talked about it and decided that it might be a good idea to walk down and take a look at the river before committing. Luckily we did, because when we got down to Maytag rapid, we realized things would have been a little bit out of control on the Truss. The rapids would have been manageable, but there would have been a serious risk of not being able to stop before Big Brother or BZ.

Husum Falls

We set shuttle for a run of the Middle section, putting in at BZ and taking out at Husum. The rapids were very pushy, the holes big and the water freezing. It was definitely a great run and a fun new experience on a river we’ve paddled dozens of times.