Mammoth Pool lies a rarely
run section of river known as Tied for First, named after the humorous
story of its' first descent in Holbek & Stanley's classic Best Whitewater in
This river is hands down one of the best IV-V runs in the whole state.
It is a good sized riverbed with countless boulder gardens, most of
pool drop nature and two half mile long rapids, plus two harder rapids
thrown in for good measure. Mix that with an easy (if long) shuttle and
fantastic scenery and the recipe for classic whitewater is complete
with the exception of one ingredient. Water. Unfortunately this section
of river rarely has water and has seen too few descents. Due to
maintenance on the turbines we had water on the last weekend in October
Looking downstream from
the spillway on
a cold November day.
It looks like it might
be tough to get
to the base of the dam, but there is a road to the left of the spillway
and it leads all the way to the water.
1,000cfs aka 6.9' direct from the big tube.
Daniel Brasuell and Shannamar Dewey at the gorgeous put-in gorge.
The run starts off very pool drop with nice big class IV rapids between
even larger pools. Will Pruett boofs an early one.
Will Pruett and Ben Scheib read and run a fun one.
No paddlers but a look at the river character at "Grandma's House"
Several miles into the run, Ben Scheib runs a great rapid above the
most dangerous rapid of the reach.
This rapid is worse than it looks, it really would like to put you in
the sieve on the right. Thankfully there is also an easy portage on the
right. Will Pruett.
Same rapid, pictures just can't do justice to the scenery on Tied for
There is a lot of class IV, a sprinkling of V and some fun little boofs
in mellower sections.
A little ways below here the river drops into a half mile of non-stop
class IV moves that are fantastic.
Near the end of the run is
the largest single rapid, Zero to Hero, which is big but safer than the
earlier sieve rapid. Just don't boat scout too far down the left,
because all the routes dead end. If you bout scout to the last eddy on
the right, you'll have to do some creative attaining to portage on
Will Pruett boofs into
Zero to Hero.
The crux is getting a good boof and then going left of the divider
rock. The right side would go too, but looks unpleasant.
Daniel Brasuell, Stefon
Logan Smith scouting Zero to Hero, it goes better than it looks.
It's a shame that
portaging Zero to Hero
is no easy task, it requires traversing a loose scree field and then
some rope work or throw and go to get past this section.
After Zero to Hero the river eases up and it's quick time down to the
Out: Near the small town of
North Fork head up Minarets Road for
~14 miles until a right turn on 8S03. It's a steep three miles to the
river - gear down. Parking and access is obvious.
In: Return to Minarets road and
head up river 24 miles to Mammoth
Pool Dam. You can just follow signs the whole way. Follow the road to
the left of the spillway all the way down. You can do this whole
shuttle with a regular car. ~3 miles is on good dirt road, the rest is
paved. Shuttle takes about an hour and a half.