South Silver is the run everyone thinks of when
in California is mentioned, yet I had never made the trek down to get
on it. A tributary of the South Fork American, South Silver has been
well documented in both video and picture.
Another sunny California day foundChris
roaming around the state looking for the goods. Due to a serious lack
of snow pack we were looking hard and moving fast. After a quick run
made some calls and
found that the run we were looking at had already dropped out, but
Kevin Smith thought South Silver would be at perfect to high flows.
South Silver had been on both of our radars for a long time. Over the
years I had also developed a vague impression that the run was
over-rated and a bit played out for lack of better words. Chris had
similar feelings but we were looking forward to finally getting on this
We arrived the night before our run and hiked up
House Reservoir to check flows, which we quickly deemed to be perfect
and then we spent some time contemplating Skyscraper, an aptly named
drop on South Silver.
The next morning while driving back up we met up
another boater coming down who informed us it was “way too
high” which surprised us considering out scout with ideal
the previous evening. Kevin arrived after a short wait and although it
was higher than he had seen it before, he agreed it looked good to go
so we were off to the put-in.
A ten minute hike found us at the top of Autobahn, and after quick
verbal instructions I took off down one of the best starts to a day I
have ever had.
Smith boofing the top of Autobahn.
finishing Autobahn on the right.
up were several more drops, many that I don’t know the name
but they were all good fun.
Korbulic running a set of ledges.
on boof, boof, slide.
up were the tea cups, which at these flows were really just a sweet
lead in for Skyscraper. There was an eddy on the right and one last one
on the left above Skyscraper. Chris
Korbulic boofing through one of the tea cups.
another with the big horizon line downstream.
Skyscraper is the largest and much photographed drop of South Silver,
and it’s a clean slide that at these flows leads straight
Off-Ramp, another slide that has a sieve on the bottom right,
necessitating left angle at the bottom.
Korbulic probes away through Skyscraper and Off-Ramp.
styling down through Off-Ramp.
really isn’t as steep as it looks, here is the view from up
We took turns filming, setting safety and getting shots while Chris and
I each took another lap through Skyscraper and Kevin had a good line
his first time running Skyscraper. After a quick portage around the
sieve below Off-Ramp we made quick time down through several more
drops, not sure what this fun one is.
having fun on South Silver.
We gave Plastic Surgery a good long look, because
flows the holes get greedy and the pool above the final drop is just
backwash into the hole, so speed is needed.
working his way into the center of the final drop on Plastic Surgery.
South Silver is an absolute classic, and I thought we had optimum flows
for class V boaters. It’s pure fun with good coverage at
flows, and although some of the pools get short there are still enough
eddys and the coverage is superb. South Silver is often run with a lot
less water and mellows out quite a bit, making it a great place for
strong class Iv boaters to get a taste of the high sierra. It
would get full on pretty quickly with much more water than we had.
Dreamflows has adetailed
shuttle directions and pictures. Flows are best ascertained via word of
is a good resource.