water wacko's Submission - Entered on 5/3/2012 7:12:00 AM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 5/17/2013 9:16:40 AM)
A new 'foot' gauge is up on Icicle. Please post recent beta here until we get flows dialed in a bit.
The access for the Lower Icicle is a snap. The entire run pretty much follows Icicle road. You can choose your access points, but be considerate of the cabins and private property that border the Creek from the Snow Creek trailhead down.
Most paddlers looking to run the Lower Icicle put in at the base of the Snow Creek Parking Lot. The actual put in is a matter of preference. Many paddlers hike up to the tail end of the Snow Creek Cataract, the unrunnable jumble of massive boulder seives just upstream of the parking lot. Put in as high as you feel comfortable.
The guidebook lists the take out above the low head dam at the Icicle Creek Fish Hatchery, but most of us prefer the take out along the road about 1/2 mile after the first low head dam. This is a steep little hike, but it also cuts out about 1 mile of flat water. Its recognizable from the road as a tiny pullout just upstream of an RV campground.
A new gauge is being implemeted for Icicle. Here are some comparative values compiled by WA Boater...
Here are some numbers from last season over there:
Wenatchee @ Peshastin Icicle USGS Icicle Realtime
4100 800 4.1-4.2
5300 1050-1100 4.7-4.8
5600 1050-1100 4.8-4.9
6000 1200 5.1-5.0
5600 1200-1100 5
7200 1400 5.55
6400 1400 5.3
7800 1500 5.7 last years PP race
6900 1500 5.6
7100 1550 5.7
8000 1600 5.9
7200 1600 5.8
8100 1700 6
8000 1700 6
9800 2100 6.3
This run becomes much more difficult as water levels rise. Be on your toes with levels over 3,000! In general, its not a good run to swim on- people who swim on anything but the lowest flows will swim a long way and potentially get banged up. This run can dish out some carnage to "class IV boaters" who want to "step it up", so be sure your skills are up to it if that's where you're at. More experienced paddlers may choose to pump up the volume and run it when its a non stop freight train of waves and holes.
Great Combo run with the wenatchee. Another interesting fact is that most of the free and pay camping sites are located further upstream. So if you are boating on the weekend expect to see lots of paddlers out in this area.
Run Description [Season: Spring]
The Lower Icicle is really a short but fun run. The interesting fact about this run is that the difficult rapids are in the order of the run. This means that when you start the run everything just gets easier as you go.
The Recommended Flows are Only Recommended. This puppy gets hard as the water comes up, but it is always a doable fun run. Just be careful.
Most people put in somewhere above the foot bridge which crosses the creek to extend the class IV action as much as possible. Hiking a short distance above the parking lot and scrambling down a long steep jumble of boulders gives you a steep flume to run and a dynamic start!
The next rapid is a Class IV drop that passes under the foot bridge. There are a few holes but mostly just big waves.
Just after the foot bridge many eddy out to regroup. If you didn't scout the next drop before your run, you could do it now. At this point the creek spreads out into three different channels. Most of the water goes left over the ledge that is visible from the trail, and you probably should too. It takes a lot of water to open up the channels to the right.
This ledge is often scouted before the run and used as a visual guage to determine if its too high or low for your taste buds. Its considered one of the crux moves.
Just downstream is a boulder left of center that can collect wood from season to season. If there is enough water, sneak routes can be found to the right through manky clusters of boulders and rocks. But these routes can offer pin hazards. Busy whitewater takes you under a second bridge.
After the second bridge, the river fans out and drops through another class IV rapid that winds around a corner. This rapid can be run down any of the three channels if there is enough water. The left or right channels are the most commonly chosen, but sometimes wood can hide submerged in the left channel.
Next is another short rapid that sidewinds to the left of a large boulder between two healthy sized holes. It ends in one of the few pools of slackwater above a low head diversion dam with an obvious horizon line as you approach it. This dam is almost always run, but should be taken seriously. Paddlers run the dam on the river right most of the time. Be sure to get a real boof or you may end up getting stuck in it, low head dam style.
Just after the dam the a Class III wave train quickly funnels down into "Little Twister", a powerful yet fairly benign spot. Immediately eddy out on R. Left. This is the take out.
You could go around the corner and run one more class III ralid past the RV campground. Class II water continues to the hatchery.