Mill Creek, Montana, US
|Usual Difficulty||V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||275 fpm|
|Max Gradient||390 fpm|
Also as the comment alludes to, there was a fatality on this creek in the Spring, 2002. You can read the eyewitness account here. As the Comment below points out, the combination of high gradient and constant strainer action makes this this a very dangerous creek, which most would consider not worth the trouble. Rather than being removed, it's being left in the River Inventory in order to warn paddlers who might otherwise consider running it.
In response to the Comment shown below, Cody Howard has sent the following to me. I believe it
gives a good description of the creek.
My name is Cody Howard. I ran the creek with Ryan when he died, and i would like to add to what Mr. Shawn Robertson wrote. I fully agree with him that this creek is really dangerous and not worth the effort unless you want to portage log jams all day. I think that this creek should definitely stay in the River Inventory to warn people of the dangers. Here's some info I would like to give about the run and some tips if (despite the warnings) you do decide to run Mill Creek.
- Start up high above the steep section and get a feel for the creek. It's extremely low volume and a different type of paddling. (Most of the time you won't use your paddle.)
- When you come to a steel pipe that comes out from underneath the road on the right, GET OUT and portage the next 100 yards (log jams and sieves).
- Put in right below there and you should be in the steepest section of the creek. The creek will take a few easy drops and then split around an island; take the LEFT-hand side and that will take you on a fast slide that abruptly turns left (try to stay left on the side because the right is dumping onto rocks) and then over a couple of drops. Try to stop after the slide and scout, from river left, the ending half of this drop, Mill Creek Falls. Nothing big, about a ten footer, but tricky approach and shallow landing on the left. Take the center slot in the falls and aim right so you end up in the deeper part of the pool, and then eddy out river left in the pool to portage a log jam.
- From there it's very fast and a there are basically NO EDDIES, and a few dangerous log jams. We were broaching on shore and grabbing branches to get out and portage. Don't underestimate this section, it's not as easy as it looks and it's extremely dangerous. SCOUT BEFOREHAND!!
- Finally there is a slide that you run on the right because of a piton rock on the left. And then you call it a day.
- Bring a hacksaw, your head on straight, and class-5 skills to run it. But I would not underestimate this creek. Good luck and happy portaging! If you have any more quesions about it, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CODY HOWARD