Darin McQuoid Blog Reviews Tutorials River Directory

Klamath River "JC Boyle Bypass" IV-V

The Upper Klamath has long been known for its daily summer releases that go long into the fall. Besides being a popular river for commercial rafting, the Klamath has been the spotlight of water rights and environmental issues.

This year the 50 year license for the Klamath is up again and many are curious to see what will happen with the dam, many dreaming of removal. This run is unusual for California, as it lies in a six mile stretch between JC Boyle dam and JC Boyle Powerhouse. I had heard of it being run during a flow study years ago, but Tristan and Devin told me that if the JC Boyle gauge is well above 3,000cfs the section is flowing. It’s been a huge snow year, so in rare form this run was flowing. Tristan and I made the drive out highway 66 from Ashland, and soon enough were at the JC Boyle dam, which sure was spilling, although Tristan mentioned it was down considerably from their previous high water trip.

Summertime flows.

With flows being down we figured it would be class III-IV with the possibility of some good surf waves, so I left the camera behind. To our surprise the run picked up fairly soon and was still surprisingly tough, consisting of classic big water hole dodging, but a lot more technical than the Scott or Salmon rivers. We were able to read and run everything through the run, and agreed that the run contains more large drops than either aforementioned runs, it seems like a consistent stretch of Caldera sized rapids back to back, for those familiar with the commercial Upper Klamath stretch. During the run we also thought that many of the rapids needed to be named, and Tristan started it off naming this one “The Hog”. The riverbed here is the same width as the Upper Klamath, so these are larger then they look from the road.

The Hog

Just downstream from The Hog was a larger rapid, which was quickly dubbed “Boss Hog”

Just upstream of The Hog is a long rapid in a straightaway, I couldn’t fit it all in one frame so here are two shots of “Hogwash”

If you feel at all nervous about this run, the signs are very comforting.

The shuttle for this run is simple, take-out at the obvious JC Boyle powerhouse and put-in below the bridge that crosses at JC Boyle Dam, Holbek & Stanley directions for the long Upper Klamath run put-in will get you there. Dam removal is projected to start in 2020, so this and many more sections will see reliable flows in the spring run off, making it potentially one of the finest, longest multi-day IV-IV+ runs in the whole state.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...