Because of dam maintenance at Hebgen Lake, the water level at Quake Attack is the highest I have seen. It has been ranging between 3200 cfs and 3800 cfs. The character of the river demands full attention and endurance at these flows, as it more resembles a North Fork Payette than a Madison River Run. Although the majority of the rocks are underwater, they are still sharp and will leave a strong impression should you decide to face off with them. If you are in the area, it's worth a trip to look at it, as it is very easy to scout from the road and there are eddies above the S-turn rapid for an easy portage. It's a great run that demands your respect and attention to safety.
Quake attack! I was lucky enough to catch this stretch at 2700 a couple years ago. Sick!! If it happens again, go get it. The S-turn is the class-V ish section, more so because of consequence. The only time i have gone upside down, my helmet was destroyed after the same rock broke the shaft of my paddle. The run is Incredibly a fun continuous drop. worth many laps. I've often traveled through lines that i wasn't planning on and they were cleaner than expected. keep it upright.
I did this run at about 1100cfs and it was fun without being scary. The lines are fairly standard western runs - inside the bends and down the middle of the straightaways. You could probably run this as low as 800 cfs, but be careful the rocks are really sharp. No clue as to a maximum level. A couple of the bends are run in small chutes on the inside to avoid large holes running the width of the main channel.
Dam release, runs every day of the year.
River is much more difficult at higher flows.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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S turn road view
Pat Rogers, IPA, S-turn
IPA on S-turn
Mark at S-Turn
Jason Matthews in S-Turn
Jason Matthews at the S-Turn
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Wild rivers and their enthusiasts got some good news with the release of the new 15-20 year Forest plan for the Flathead National Forest. The decision newly protects 22 streams as eligible for Wild and Scenic designation, based in large part on the advocacy of American Whitewater and our awesome partners and members in Montana. These protections will serve as a vital steppingstone to the designation of some of our Nation’s most outstanding headwater streams.
The company that has been seeking permits to build three new hydropower projects in Montana announced today that they are abandoning their proposals - for now. This is a great relief for the many Montanans that care about the incredible paddling, fishing, and scenery of East Rosebud Creek, West Rosebud Creek, and the Madison River.
Earlier this week FERC granted a permit that gives a private company sole rights to study and seek to develop a damaging hydropower project on Montana's famed Madison River. The project would pipe water from Quake Lake around the Class IV/V Slide section of whitewater to a new powerhouse downstream. American Whitewater and regional paddling clubs have opposed this project and will continue to do so.
Fifty years ago today a 7.3 magnitude earthquake triggered a massive rockslide that dammed Montana's Madison River and buried a Forest Service campground beneath 80 million tons of rock. Recently, a power company pitched a plan to divert water from the lake that was formed behind the slide to a powerhouse in the valley below, which would severely impact the river. American Whitewater, Beartooth Paddlers, and the Jackson Hole Kayak Club filed comments last week introducing legal, recreational, and ecological arguments against the project.
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