Friday, March 23, 2007

White Salmon: Oreletta


Stream: The Oreletta section of the White Salmon is a nice intermediate run that flows all year.  It consists of the final 2-ish miles of the Green Truss, dropping boaters in just below Lower Zigzag.

Boaters have just a hundred yards or so before the first rapid, a steep rapid with an island in the middle that can be avoided right or left.  The most common line is to stay along the right bank, without crashing into the right wall at the bottom.  This kicks off a long series of fun class IV rapids in a class White Salmon Canyon, keep an eye out for Sticky Hole.  Sticky Hole is a small ledge in a narrow part of the river, it takes up 90% of the river with a nice tongue existing on the right that avoids if it you know its coming.  If not, make sure you have a quick draw when it comes to big boof strokes.  It can be surfed out to the right, yet rafts have been surfed upwards of 5 minutes in it.

Sticky Hole, be further right at this point or have a good boof.

Eventually the rapids ease off and there is some class II-III floating before the river bends right and enters Broken Paddle/Triple Drop, the easiest line to remember and execute is to run the first ledge on the right, moving back to left and hug the left wall the rest of the way down.  Other lines exist once you know the rapid.

A bit of fun boogie exists before The Flume, signaled by a flume of water falling from a manmade structure on the left and a narrowing of the stream bed.  The trick is to stay center-right the whole way down.  The bottom part accelerates through a fun ramp with offset hydraulics that ends in a nice pool.  If it's your first time down and you are not with anyone who knows the run, it's safest to get out in this pool and walk down to check out BZ.  There are a couple last minute eddies right at the lip that can be caught for a shorter portage if you know where it is.

BZ Falls gets run all the time, but it also dishes out big beatings on a regular basis.  There are a couple seal launch options on the right for portagers, its also possible to get back down to river level to laun

Boogie water leads to a set of rudimentary steps on the right that marks the take out for the Green Truss.  Most people running the Oreletta will continue down through the Middle White Salmon to Husum Falls.

Just below the steps the river enters Maytag, where the main line is left through a large hole, or right over a double drop.  If the water is low you can scout left before entering the rapid, if the level is high I'd recommend running right your first time through.

Halfway through this rapid you enter the Middle White Salmon.

Flows:  This section flows all summer, for quality class IV action look for 2'-3.5' on The Husum Gage.  It can be run lower, or higher.

Access:  Get to Hood River, Oregon.  Cross the bridge over the Columbia River ($1 toll in 2016).  Turn left at the stop light, then make a right in 1.5 miles on Hwy 141 (the turn comes up kind of fast, if you cross the White Salmon River you have gone too far).  Continue about 2 miles to a stop sign, then turn left.  In about 4 miles you come to the town of Husum, where you can leave the take out vehicle, check the gauge, and scout Husum Falls. 

To get to the put in, continue north along Hwy 141 about 5.8 miles (pass the BZ launch site at 4 miles) to a bridge over Wieberg Creek, which you walk your boat down the middle of to the river.  Stay off any private property, don't ruin the access for others.  There is a parking spot on B-5000 a hundred yards past Wieberg Creek on the left.

A video from our younger years (High School) on the Oreletta.

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