Stillwater, West, Montana, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||140 fpm|
|Max Gradient||300 fpm|
|-||2 - 2 inches||IV-V||~ inches|
The West Stillwater is hard to catch at a great level. The window is short and has stumped
everyone who tries to figure it out. If you are in the area for Woodbine at a good flow, check
the gauge. The run is worth the long shuttle. Drive up the rough West Fork Stillwater road (Near
the Chrome Mine) about 8 miles or so to the Initial Creek Campground. This is the putin.
There are some tough creek drops about a mile above this. I have not seen them, but the word I got was they were a bit sketchy and need a fair amount of water. Below the campground the river starts slow and bony, but fear not, the run picks up substantially in the middle. There are few good eddies for a group of boats and there is plenty of pin and broach potential. I would not recommend this run to anyone who is not proficient with tight, technical creek boating. The risk of pinning is just too high.
There is one tough rapid named Crank that deserves a good scout. It has a nasty piton rock backing up a sticky hole and is found in the heat of the steep sections. If you are not with someone who knows the run, get an early start and scout as often as you can. The last few miles taper off considerably and are miserable at low flows.
Lat/longitude coordinates are approximate, based on online maps.
Montana National Forest Proposes New River Protections
July 31, 2017