Trip Report: Green Truss White Salmon River
Trip Report: Green Truss White Salmon River
Difficulty: Class IV+ to V depending on flows. (Summer IV+ Winter V)
Kid Friendly? If your child is one of those young bucks.
Pet Friendly? Kyrpto the Super Dog.
The Report: The Green Truss of the Middle White Salmon River is one of the most fun summer runs for the competent Class IV+ to V boater. During the summer months the water level drops to a 'relaxing' level and the holes lose some of their teeth easing the grade to IV+. With three big waterfalls and a handful of intimidating rapids, the Truss is a wonderful training ground for winter. Throw in stacked, read, and run drops and you have a recipe for summer delight.
From the outset, the Truss brings the ruckus. A few drops in and you come to Meatball, a twisty number with a few doors to choose from. Meatball is followed up closely with Bob's Falls, which at winter flows has a keeper of a hole. A few more delightful drops, one containing a sweet s-turn to boof, which I love, leads you to Big Brother.
Big Brother is a pretty serious waterfall. At 22ft* drop with a keeper eddy (see: cave) on river right and a shallow shelf on river left. Big Bro leaves you with a very small landing zone. A tricky entrance with cross currents and a three foot wide (barely) boof flake complicate matters further. The portage is easy. Once you've gotten the line down (physical and mental) on Big Brother it is easy as well. Still consequence looms so huck carefully.
Directly below Big Brother is Little Brother or the Spout. A fun 10 footer* with a delayed boof (canyon creek practice is useful here). The fun doesn't stop as you roll into Double Drop an 18 footer with a rapid leading into it. I've never actually looked at this drop. You can scout it on river left. I probably should. It can hand out a beating. That said as long as you don't fall into it sideways, generally, you're going to be ok. Also don't roll. This falls is a poster child for rolling the dice. Lean forward paddle hard and boof and you'll end up at the bottom.. You may or may not see what actually happens between leaving the lip and surfacing in the pool but that is half the fun.
After Double Drop a multitude of springs cascade into the river both dropping the temperature and increasing the flow. A few more significant rapids (the rapid immediately below Double Drop reminds me of thrasher on Canyon Creek)) you'll find yourself on your way to the Zig Zag Canyon.
If you've been portaging the big stuff til now, this is your test. Upper and Lower Zig Zag are complex and fun but completely deserve their Class V rating. The large offset holes at the top of Upper Zig Zag require precise boat handling to avoid. The center boof in the lower portion of Upper Zig Zag is beautiful.
Once out of Upper Zig Zag you should eddy out on river left and scout Lower Zig Zag. A massive logjam blocks the outflow of this rapid so if running a grade IV+ to V rapid cleanly and in control is in question: Portage. The portage is up the rock wall river left and requires lowering your boats down and still running the wood so take that advice with a grain of salt. The portage isn't easier, or necessarily safer, but it’s the devil you know. That said, this rapid is fun. You'll boof, hole crash, and generally enjoy a raucous good time all the while staying focused on the deadly wood downstream. If you run Lower Zig Zag the beta from your scout should be sufficient to see how much fun it could be balanced against the wood at the bottom. Make your own choices.
After the Zig Zags the Truss mellows out through the Orletta section. There are some rapids of note. A twisting drop shortly after the Zig Zags brings their movements back to your mind then later on Sticky Hole will try to give you a thrashing. The Flume, signaled by water pumps on river left marks your approach to the end of the run and the last falls; BZ.
BZ is a tricky, meaty, fun, and spicy dish. In the summer the hole probably won't kick the crap out of you. But you may hit the shelf and break something (boats,ankles, backs) In the winter all of those things can happen as well. Eddying out above BZ requires precise eddy catches in one of three eddy's immediately above the drop. If you're worried about catching those DO NOT run the class III entrance rapid and instead portage below the Flume on river right. All the portage routes are on river right and offer a wonderful trail and viewing station to watch those who have opted to give'r a go.
BZ like all the drops on the Truss is fun when you're ready for it. Weigh the consequence choose your line and huck. Or walk and do a pretty vertical seal launch below the falls. The take out is just above the put in for the Middle White Salmon BZ- Husum or you can run all the way down and enjoy a low stress lap on the Middle.