Little Luckiamute, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)|
This run is only accessible by vehicle during hunting season, but can be accessed via a 4 mile hike year round.
After hiking down a clear cut, there is a short warm up of class III-IV whitewater that is manky at low flows.
The main event is a 1 mile gorge with 4 drops. The first is a ramp into a ledge (Catalyst). This rapid can sneak up on paddlers, as soon as the first bedrock pokes up, get to the right bank immediately where there are a couple good one boat eddies. Scout right. Just below this rapid is a short pool and the Little Luckiamute enters a sliding rapid, scout from the right. This sliding rapid is the entrance to Osmosis Falls, one of the best drops in Oregon. After the sliding lead in the river turns sharply to the right and enters a fast and straight forward alleyway then over a beautiful 30 foot waterfall into a nice pool. This falls is best run center or just left of center where the falls is exceptionally clean. Extreme left and extreme right have hazards in the landing.
Downstream is a tight class III-IV gorge leading to Tough Luck, 40 foot drop that has no recorded descents. It has an untested transition and an undercut wall/pocket downstream and left. It has been portaged via a throw and go on the right (be careful, the landing zone is very narrow) or people have climbed up the river left wall and pulled boats up after them. The wall is very loose, mostly vegetation and soil and steep. If you portage left, there is one route back down which is not intuitive and requires a single rope lower.
Immediately downstream is Little Lucky, a clean 15 foot waterfall that can be scouted or portaged right. Downstream are a few more class IV rapids before the gorge is left behind and the whitewater eases to class II. At low water, the 2 mile runout is tedious but a small price to pay for the gorge upstream.
Currently locals look for levels of 300-900 cfs if flows are dropping on http://levels.wkcc.org/?f=8w3http://levels.wkcc.org/?f=8w3. Rising flows can get out of hand quickly, unless you are familiar with the river look for stable flows of 500 cfs give or take or dropping flows.
Wheels and Water