Sloan Creek, Washington, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||265 fpm|
Character: Continuous boulder gardens
Put in: Old bridge site (campsite) approximately 1 mile above bridge over NF Sauk
Take out: NF Sauk confluence at Sloan Creek Campground.
After several miles of meandering through its upper valley, Sloan Creek makes an abrupt loss of elevation as it carves its way between Sloan Peak and Red Mountain, before dumping out into the NF Sauk Valley. This short pitch is studded with successive boulder gardens combined with a notable lack of wood, resembling more closely Money Creek in the Sky Basin than its nearer cousin, the NF Sauk. This short but sweet run fills a nice class V void in the upper Sauk Drainage. You can run a couple laps on Sloan Creek or link it with a run down the NF Sauk, for a fun day of creeking.
From the putin at the old bridge site (currently a roadside campsite), the rapids build in intensity throughout the first half of the run. The creek bed starts out well defined then begins to diverge into several channels as you approach the most difficult section. The gradient is continuous, but no single drop exceeds ~ 5 ft. This section culminates at the Boulder Sifter, a noticeably steeper rock garden drop with some particularly sievey areas that are not visible from the top. After the Boulder Sifter, the pace gradually slackens back to class III before one final drop: WoodÃs Den, a bedrock slide dropping 5 -10 feet beneath several overhead logs.
This Report was based on a low water exploratory run on July 20, 2004. Everything was run except Boulder Sifter, and anything can be relatively easily portaged at river level. Look to run Sloan Creek during Snowmelt, after the road to the takeout opens up. Look for levels exceeding ~1200 cfs on the Sauk above Whitechuck. The Lower Pitch probably has a season similar to the NF Sauk.
contributed by Scott Sills