Ellingferd's Submission - Entered on 1/3/2012 11:13:00 AM
Gauge Information (Last updated with USGS at 9/22/2014 5:15:36 PM)
SF STILLAGUAMISH RIVER NEAR G
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3rd Party Gauge
||9/22/2014 4:15:00 PM
Minimum Recomended Level: 4.8 ft Maximum Recomended Level: 6.2 ft
Head out the Mountain Loop Hwy and just past the Al Paca Ranch on the left there will be a driveway at the bottom of the hill on the right with a wooden fence. Drop boats here, but park your car back at the Al Paca ranch, making sure to check in with the owner if you end up parking in their lot. They are friendly and accomodating, but you need to let them know if you are going to park there. You can also park in the turn out if you dont want to park at the ranch.
Drive out to Granite Falls and head out on the mountain loop hwy towards Monte Cristo. There is a large pull out on either side of the road just before a bridge over the river. This is also the parking for the trail that leads down to Granite Falls proper.
This run gets sandbagged by local class V boaters who run it a lot. Make no mistake it should be treated as a class V run. The canyon is remote, and hiking out can be a real problem. People get hurt in here. The run also changes frequently so even if you think you're familiar, don't take it for granted.
First off, it's interesting to note that the name "Stilliguamish" means "River People".
There are many rapids, with many of routes and moves. Due to it's changeable nature, it's almost never the same run twice!
CHECK OUT RECENT CHANGES SINCE THE 12/12/2010 FLOOD HERE (also watch the cool video below):
The run starts off with ~ 1 mile flatwater paddle before about 1/2 mile of II-III. Once you are wondering when it is going to start ... it does. The river quickly comes to a turn with a class IV ledge that can be run several different ways ("Funky Winkerbean"). Once you're past the first ledge you quickly come to "T1", "T2" and "Last sunshine". Do not run T1 if you want to scout Last Sunshine. You must look at Last Sunshine from a trail that starts above T1. T2 has an incredible boof between two humps of water in the center of the channel.
Last Sunshine is the most vertical drop on the run. You no longer can boof it in the center because a huge boulder got shoved there, blocking it. The standard line is to drive hard left against the R.Left wall,airing your boof out over a compound slope into some turbulent water where several seams of whitewater merge together. Exercise Caution: More than a few people have landed on their rightside shoulders here and tweaked, damaged or dislocated them. As you enter the slide you'll spot an abrupt kicker. Not the easiest boof, but when you hit it properly it feels great!
After Last Sunshine there's a log limbo and then about a half mile of solid IV-IV+ rapids (depending on flow),and as you go up on the water level it gets much harder. This section does not have any flatwater before it comes to a corner. There is a good sized ledge and then the river bombs down toward "Hotel California". At the bottom of the drop is a healthy hole. Avoid the center.You scout on river right.
After this drop you'll run some simple rapids. Then you'll see a huge remnant of the railroad- a concrete structure on R. Right. Just beside it is another ledge with an undercut cave room called "Hole in the Wall". Simply boof the ledge along the left side of it to avoid getting stuffed into the R. Right bank. It's generally not so bad. Below Hole in the Wall you will paddle through another 1/4 mile of class IV-IV+ before coming to "FacePlant". It has a manky boulder garden at the top that tightens up into a series of diagonal holes. There's a headwall at the bottom on R. Left with an ugly looking pocket of foam stuffed into it. The whole thing flushes and all though it looks big you come out one way or the other.There are some gnarly clusters of rock on the right towards the bottom, so stay center. The current will tend to push you hard left anyway you slice it.
Immediately downstream is "Catcher's Mitt". This is a ledge that has a great flake in the middle but just behind the flake is a dangerously positioned pin rock. If you hit that flake sideways you could be in a world of trouble... just like D1's Air Boof Pin. You can boof the ledge drop on R. Left- watch out- people occassionally get worked over here, or you can take a line down the R. Right bank: the flake rock recently shifted and canted to the right, providing a nice glassy fan of water to run through provided you favor the right side of it. There is yet another ledge drop immediately below here, so stay on your line.
There is a short rapid with three routes below "Catcher's Mit"- don't get complacent if you run the right channel along the right wall with most of the current-- The wall has a pocket indented slightly into it big enough to trap a boat. This is "Short Stop". A really junky boulder strewn mess is right below here traditionally called "Z-turn", which aptly describes the left most line. If you run down the center through the "Junkyard" be sure to favor the right as far as you can get- there's serious pin potential in the center of the river. Stay on your toes.
Another 1/4 mile or less of Class IV brings you to "Landslide Rapid". This is a complete Class V+ but at lower levels it is so sieved out it is hard to imagine. Totally clean of wood now. Most people portage it along the R.Right bank (the rock may not be stable every time you visit so be careful).
Below Landslide there's a simple class III+ ledge in the center of the river, followed by "Garbage". SCOUT This!! (on R. Left). Click on the Rapid description on the right side of this page and read it. Run the canter of the main channel as close to the R. Left boulder as you dare, watch for piton rocks further right of the boulder.Careful not to get to the outside of the turn on the left--There's a huge ugly log, and the water sieves out beneath the large boulder flanking the current. Lately (as of 2010)the right side of the river has cleaned up, offering a blown out flume into some rocks. Guys are calling this the "Dumpster Dive". It's easy to piton or pin in here, though, so be carefull, and make sure there's enough water.
After "Garbage" there's a long series of various class III-IV rapids with multitudes of runnable routes. Eventually you come to some more horizon lines cluttered with large boulders. There's a 5' wide boof (maybe a 6' drop or so) next to a large boulder on R. Left. Enter here, usually catching an eddy on the Left or in the center afterward. Below here you can take the tall boof in the center (It's been called "20ft falls" but it's really only 12'-15' if that.) or you can follow the main current around to the right (Rob calls this the "Cat's Paw"). There's a class IV runnout,and then some calm water.
The next big drop is "Off Broadway", named after a certain talented paddler who also has a talent for acting. **Paddlers should scout the lowere half of Off Broadway. The Right side seam is now a suck hole seam and paddlers should consider going left at most flows until the floods change this one again. **It contains a riverwide broken ledge that contains a variety of routes at different water levels. Scout on R. Right. The most common line is among two or three flakes in the center. Boof the flake that looks most appealing to you. Watch this drop at lower flows. The second drop in this rapid can be run right or left. Left is junky but it goes. The rightside is where you'll meet "Dolly Parton" and get to boof her gigantic hairdoo!You can boof her bangs high and get airborn, or fall off into her cleavage- whatever works for ya!
There's a class III rapid with a swell 'lil "death slot" in it: run down center Left with the main current and spot two medium small rocks. Bank the pillow between them and feel the love.
Shortly after this rapid you'll begin descending into "Conversation". The canyon walls narrow up and the waves are big and powerful. You'll get several facefulls of water that may obscure your vision, but quickly you'll find yourself in a short, swift pool above another broken ledge drop. Most people run along the right bank and find the obvious boof, although there are other routes at various water levels. There's a hole below the boof ledge that can be sticky!
Just below Conversation is a ledge called "Mrs. Robinson" that you can run left or right. The left is very sticky and the right is too but that is the route that seems to go better. Watch this ledge it is... you guessed it--sticky!!
- Just a quick Reminder - DON'T MISS THE GOBLIN BOOF - it may be dry at lower flows.
Another 1/4 mile of class II-III brings you to a final class III-IV drop called "Spinal Tap"or "Miracle Fabric", depending on which direction you drive from when you head to Robe. Run just to the left of the large boulder, or take an easier line to the right of it and boof a ledge. That opens the run up to about 1 mile or more of a flatwater paddle out.It's very scenic through here, and the current keeps moving at all but the lowest of low flows. Don't forget to keep your eye out for the stick guage on R.Right when you start seeing houses, and play the guessing game with your buddies about what you think the guage will read...
There is a class III rapid before you will see the Bridge Over head... Get out immediately below the bridge on R. LEFT, because granite falls is just below.