Kettle - Orient to Barstow

Kettle, Washington, US


Orient to Barstow

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 12.8 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-12404500 800 - 2500 cfs II-III 00h45m 867 cfs (running)

River Description

There are three seasons/levels on the Kettle River: Spring/High water; Early to late Summer/Medium water; Late-Summer to Spring/Low water. Unless you're an expert, there's one area to avoid at high and medium levels: The Gorge.

Spring/High water is the result of snow melt and spring rains. The Orient to Barstow run will produce mostly Class 2 and a few Class 3 sections that are easily avoided. High water generally starts about late April and decreasing until late June. Most rapids are rolling with some holes and choppy sections. Unless you're an expert, you must put out at the Beach or have a very difficult uphill portage' over private property. There's a large eddy on river right before The Gorge. Pull out here and scout first. The Gorge is a Class 5 at high water with wicked holes, deep kettles, odd shaped underwater rocks and cross rapids. It's doable but you'd better be good or very lucky. There's a 5 or 6 foot drop with very strong currents. Below The Gorge there's about 100 yards of Class 2/3 rapids that are a blast…if you're still upright! Often there's a Class 2/3 shoot on river left. Depending on the level there may be some large rocks exposed in mid-stream that you can land on and scout.

Summer/Medium water is the most popular time and runs roughly from late June till October. Expect barely Class 2 rapids. But again, The Gorge offers a challenge. It's a runable Class 2/3 but with a section that usually must be made…or else. Conditions vary depending on log jams or a change in the rock structure. It's easy to land on the large, middle rock section and portage'. This is a fun section in the summer but it's highly advised you use a spotter with a rescue bag.

Late-Summer to Spring/Low water. This is inner tube time with few serious kayakers. You'll be scraping bottom and The Gorge is mellow.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2003-08-07 12:47:59


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
5.5The GorgeIVTakeout Portage Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

The Gorge (Class IV, Mile 5.5)
Experts only at high water. Level 4/5 from melt off till early summer. Violent holes, 5 or 6 foot drop, powerful cross currents. Usually a Class 2/3 shoot on river left. Put out in large eddy on river right and scout first. Possible portage' if large rocks are visible in mid-stream.

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