Re: Anyone know about the Deadwood in Idaho?? by osteinle Aug 09 2003, 0:55 GMT New
Date: Aug 09 2003, 2:42 GMT
The road to intermediate putin/takeout is washed out so you will have to the whole river from the dam to the SF Payette. It is over 20 miles, but the river has fast current so it will take about five hours. Takes an hour and a half to drive into the dam on the gravel road, so get a shuttle driver if you can. Drive is spectacular, however. It is running over 900 cfs, contrary to what some books suggest, this is not low, in fact to my mind it is moderately high and fairly pushy. The water is very cold so take pogies, it comes off the bottom of a deep lake. Take a breakdown paddle too since the run is very remote.
The run is mostly class 3-4, but there are a couple of more difficult sections and STRAINERS are a significant hazzard.
A couple nig strainers/logjams lodged in ledge drops in the first third of the run will require quick portages... usually on river right. These were fairly easy to see from above.
Also in the first third of the run... (last year) there was also a river wide log just under the surface of the water in the middle of a class 3 flushy rapid...it went the whole way across the river and was hard to see from above. We managed to catch a small eddy on the right above it. Be careful, it is hard to spot, and may have moved. Also, new strainers may also have appeared anywhere on this river so always be very heads up. Strainers are clearly the biggest hazzard on the Deadwood. There arent that many, but they can be nasty.
About half way down the run you will pass a bunch of huge dome shaped rocks on the right side of the river (the water is flat here). Not too far after that there is a straightaway, then you can tell that the river is going to turn right below the straightaway. There are a couple of ledgy boulder drops in the straightaway, they almost always seem to contain nasty strainers. The boulders are also undercut. These drops may or may not be runnable, look at them. Immediately after the right turn there is a slide/flush with pinning/ piton potential a punchy hole at the bottom. Look at it too and decide for yourselves. Some people portage this whole mess over the hill on the right, there is the semblance of a portage trail here.
Just below the slide/ hole there is a long class IV rapid that last year had a tree near the bottom that needs to be avoided. So eddy hop down this rapid and keep your eyes open. Again, it may have moved, it was possible to catch an eddy and sneak around the tree on the left last year.
You will eventually go under a nice bridge...the road to this bridge is gone. The rest of the river, (Lower Deadwood) alternates between easier and harder section but is generally less intense the the Upper Deadwood. But there are some strainers here too, so dont get complacent. Look for moose and bear on the lower section, we have seen both in the trees.
All in all a beautiful wilderness run. one of my favorites. The strainers are a bit of a worry, so make sure you have a competent group and dont let your gaurd down.
I am making it sound nastier than it is, the Deadwood is certainly not nearly as difficult at the NF Payette. Just dont underestimate the trees.
Have fun and let me know how it went.
Road washed out - can only be run now with the upper stretch. See comments there.
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