Little Klickitat, Washington, US
Olsen Road to Klickitat River
||IV-V (for normal flows)
Signature RapidPhoto of Kory Kellum by Pmacy taken 03/30/18
This run starts off with a couple miles of easy but brushy moving water that belies the surprises
you’ll find downstream. Once you notice the canyon encroaching on river right, start paying
close attention. Eddies are scarce above the first main rapid and it’s easy to be swept
into it blind. The center of the rapid reportedly has a sieve. River left should be fine.
Set safety on river left if needed. The scouting eddy is further upstream than you’d
think and is only good for a few boats.
After this the rapids come fairly quickly one after another. The character of the river is such
that being upside down is a frightening prospect. An often shallow riverbed coupled with sharp
basalt makes swimming or even a flip fairly unnerving.
There are more than a few stand-out rapids but suffice to say that if you don’t have a
guide, you’ll want to scout. The potential for wood or a bad line is too great to simply
bomb through the run. There are very few holes that will hold you and normally more than one
option for a clean run down a given rapid. One large sloping ledge is best run right of center
and the main waterfall that marks the end of the largest rapids is best run off a variety of
flakes between the left and center, but not right. Scout the waterfall on either side.
There are various small islands on the run, strange cables in the water precede the waterfall,
and the water isn’t likely as clean as the water in the Gorge. That said, the Little
Klickitat is a great run with a character that is unique in southern Washington. If you
boat class V you’ll have a great day. If IV is your ceiling, you might be a bit gripped in
places. Put-on before noon as the river will take longer than you think.
See Jason Rackley's site for
important access information and flows.
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Last Updated: 2018-03-30 00:41:43