Pack, Idaho, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||150 fpm|
|Max Gradient||250 fpm|
The Slides starts with a mile or so of technical, continuous class III-IV boulder drops. A jumble
of large boulders constricting the channel marks the beginning of the steeper, bedrock rapids.
Here the whitewater changes character as the continuous boulder drops are suddenly replaced by a
series of clean four- to five-foot ledges punctuated by two clean rock slides (15 to 20 feet high
and 30 to 60 feet long, both quite easy) that are separated by the section's crux rapid, the
Guillotine. Longer and more technical than the other ledges and rock slides, the Guillotine is
the only rapid within the Slides section that approaches, class V and it is easily portaged.
After the final slide, the bedrock disappears for good and the river turns back into fun
continuous class III-IV boulder drops for the final 1.5 miles to the take out. The Slides section
is probably the most popular section of the Pack , in part due to its easy-to-portage nature. It
enables non-expert paddlers to experience beautiful, alpine, steep creeking with out having to
run committing rapids. You can end your day after the Slides or continue to the Gorgette.
The Upper Pack is easy to find. Drive North from Sandpoint towards Canada and turn left on the Pack River road just after you see the meandering and well marked Lower Pack pass under the highway. Drive up the dirt road until you come to a small wood bridge spanning the Pack River. This is where the gauge is - just upstream from the bridge on river left. Keep following the main road to get to the put in. For the Gorgette run, keep your eyes peeled for an access point before the road begins to climb away from the river. There are many potential take outs, as the river runs close to the road for several miles. When you come to a second vehicle bridge you have come to the put-in for the Gorgette and the take-out for the Slides. The road gets rowdier past the second bridge and 4WD and relatively high clearance is recommended. If you plan on running the Slides but not the Grottos, keep climbing for 1.5 miles and start looking for a narrow dirt road that splits off the left and back toward the river. Don't actually drive down this road though, just park next to it (it washes out before it gets to the river). Walk down this side road to put in.
Page created by Todd Hoffman. Descriptions by local expert Natty Role, copied from September / October '05 AW Journal.
Lat/longitude coordinates for the takeout are a wild guess, to get you into the ballpark.
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