Accident Database

Report ID# 442

  • Impact/Trauma
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Joel Hathhorn, 31, a  strong expert boater, died on May 12, 1997 during a first descent of Warren Creek . This is a steep, fast run with lots of gradient and few eddies. About a half-mile above the confluence with the Main Salmon near Riggins. Part way down the group encountered a Class VI rapid. After scouting, Hawthorne tried to catch the lowest eddy to shorten his portage. A barely submerged rock knocked him back into the current, and he washed over the drop backwards. His buddies, who eddied out higher, found his kayak and paddle downstream, but never saw his body. It was briefly spotted a couple days later at Vinegar Creek, miles downstream on the Main Salmon. 

SOUCE: Vince Thompson, Vince’s Idaho Whitewater Page

ANALYSIS: Class V exploratories are very demanding. In this case, a small error in water reading and boat control was fatal!


On May 12 Joel Hathorn , a "strong, bold" paddler from Boise, Idaho, died during a first descent of Warren Creek a half mile from its confluence with the Main Salmon. He reportedly missed the last eddy above an unrunnable drop.




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