Wind - 3. Stabler to High Bridge

Wind, Washington, US


3. Stabler to High Bridge

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 87 fpm
Max Gradient 107 fpm

Rams Horn

Rams Horn
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/14/10 @ low runnable level

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Wind R. @ Stabler
wadoe-29C100 400 - 1500 cfs IV-V 04h25m 103 cfs (too low)

River Description

This run is one of the one of the true classics of the Columbia Gorge flowing out of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest then dropping through an impressive series of action-packed boulder gardens downstream of the community of Stabler that define this run. At lower flows this is a more technical creeking run with fun boofs and slalom moves through the boulder fields while staying alert for a couple of holes. At higher flows get ready for some continuous action-packed excitement with big waves, plenty of holes, and fast-moving current. Just be sure you know the run if you are out attemtmpting it at higher flows. Regulars can do the run in an hour or less and often shuttle back up for a second lap.

The run starts out with some good class II and III warm up rapids and when you see the river bend to the right and drop out of site through a boulder field, you are at Initiation. This is one of the longer rapids on the run but there are plenty of options to pick your way through. Most start center but you can find a more forgiving line down the right. From this point on down to Climax you can expect fairly continous whitewater action with pools that are generous at lower flows and diminsh as flows increase.

Below Initation you will encounter more fun whitewater as you approach a distinct horizon line marking Ram's Horn, the biggest drop on the run. You need to stay in control through the long introductory sequence and then work your way to the left to avoid the big holes to the right at the bottom. At medium flows there is a good eddy on river left to stage in above this last pitch. 

After a couple more rapids you will approach Balls to the Wall Right marked by a short basalt wall along river right. Keep your momentum and stay alert for a good-sized hole that develops in the river right chute. Next up is Balls to the Wall Left and some more fun rapids.

The next significant horizon line, and the last on the run, is known as Climax. As flows increase a good-sized hole forms at the base of this ledge. There is a nice boof flake on the left side. There are a few options through this rapid depending on flows and your confidence as some lines are more forgiving than others.

After Climax the action starts to taper off but there are a couple more fun drops before things really start to flatten out to class II. Enjoy the paddle out that includes an impressive waterfall on river right and the scenic gorge walls.

For more information and check out the Upper Wind River page on Jason Rackley's site.

Trout Creek can be used as an alternative put-in for this run, or those looking to make a longer run can continue on the Lower Wind to the Columbia River.

Logistics: From Highway 14 along head north into Carson on Wind River Road. To reach the take-out continue to mile 3.0 on Wind River Road and turn left onto High Bridge Road. Head 0.1 mile and turn right on Detour Road. Detour road winds 0.7 mile down the river. To reach the put-in, head back out to High Bride Road and continue north to Stabler. At mile 8.6 on Wind River Road turn left onto Hemlock Road, cross the river, and turn right onto Edgewater Road in 0.2 mile. In another 0.2 mile turn right on Linde Road which dead ends in about 200 yards. This takes you to an access under the Hemlock Road bridge. There is also a cabin here that groups of 6 can rent for the weekend (427-8780).

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-01-10 18:39:21


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.2Ram's HornVPhoto
1.4Balls to the Wall RightIVPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Initiation (Class IV, Mile 0.9)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/14/10 @ low runnable level

The first class IV rapid just downstream of the confluence of Trout Creek which comes in on river right. Head between the two boulders in the center and work your way down.

Ram's Horn (Class V, Mile 1.2)

Rams Horn

Rams Horn
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/14/10 @ low runnable level

This the longest and most challenging drop on the run. It starts with an intro rapid and at medium flows you can grab and eddy on the left to set up for the  last and biggest pitch.

Balls to the Wall Right (Class IV, Mile 1.4)

Balls to the Wall

Balls to the Wall
Photo of Steve Stuckmeyer by Thomas O'Keefe taken 11/14/10 @ low runnable level

Fun line down the right along the wall through a couple of holes. An alternate line is closer to center.

Climax (Class IV+, Mile 2.1)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 01/09/15 @ 760 cfs

The last big drop on the run. There are several options for this one with lines to the right or left but also some holes you want to avoid. It's best to get the beta above and choose the slot based on flow and your confidence to avoid the holes. Some lines are more forgiving than others.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
January 29 2017 (657 days ago)
T4eresa (153294)
As of the snow and ice storms of January 2017 there is a lot of dangerous new wood in this section.
May require class V skills.
April 17 2012 (2405 days ago)
Carter WrayDetails
Better flow than E. Fork Lewis is:
Sometimes this gauge is slow to update though.

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Associated Projects

  • Columbia River Gorge (OR & WA)
    Several rivers in Oregon and Washington were protected under the 1986 Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area Act.
  • Volcano Country (OR/WA)
    The rivers of Volcano Country within and surrounding the Gifford Pinchot National Forest represent some of the nation's most spectacular whitewater resources.


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November 2018