Friday, June 25, 2010

East Fork Hood, Upper and Middle


You can find beta for the Upper East Fork Hood here.  The beta here is for the less desirable middle section of the East Fork Hood.

Stream:   This isn't a great run, but in a year without wood issues it could be considered worth doing. It begins at the take out for the Upper section and is fairly continuous class II-III all the way into Dee.  If you continue that far be cautious of some old dams just above the take out that could be tricky at high flows.  There is also a water intake at some point along the run to avoid.  Mostly it's just quickly moving water and try to make sure you don't go around a blind section that has wood hiding downstream.   I wouldn't call this section a portage-fest, but we probably walked 3-5 wood hazards.

Flows:  We had 3.8' on the Hood Gauge from snowmelt when I did this stretch.  For any section of the East Fork Hood I usually look for about 4' with a noticeable diurnal on the Hood gauge and will go down to 3.5' sometimes.  5' from snowmelt is better, and it can be run even higher but I hear it gets fast over 6'.  If it's running from rain I don't have any flow advice, Iv'e never run the EF Hood except from snowmelt.

There is a new estimate from Pat Welch for the East Fork.  I look for a diurnal of at least 50-100 cfs on that gauge.  It has been run with that gauge reading 300-1,000 cfs with little difference, so going off the diurnal seems to be the best bet.

Access:  Take Hwy 281 out of Hood River to the town of Dee.  A bridge crosses the stream in what used to be the middle of a town.  This is the take out.

The put in is accessed by continuing upstream on Hwy 281 to where it intersects Hwy 35 in the town of Mt. Hood.  Turn right onto Hwy 35, in a little over 5 miles you cross the East Fork Hood and that is the put in for the middle section.

Original write-up

all photos by Tim Brink of ORT
With water levels starting to hit the summer flows, it was time to start heading back to the go to runs. Usually this means the Truss and Little White. I usually try to stay off these runs as much as possible during the winter, knowing they will have water long after everything else dries up.  With this thought in mind, it was easy to be corralled to the other side of the Columbia and into the Hood River Drainage.

Day one was the Upper East Fork Hood, which Tim wrote up on the ORT blog .
I enjoyed the run and appreciated the extra flow from the last time I had been here. There was not a single pool on this run.
We put in a Sherwood campground, dodged a couple trees, ran a fun sliding ledge, then boogied down to the worm.
The author running the sliding ledge.
The worm was pretty fun, fairly trivial at this level still, but fun.

Here I am just below The Worm entering the best section of the river.

Then the river kept going for about a half mile of very fun class IV whitewater that tapered off to III-IV and a wood hazard or two.  Tim and Jeff from ORT had a good time in the Puma, so if you want to take a small raft down this section, it's possible.

We then continued down the middle section of the EF, which was all class II-III with a couple wood portages. At least we got to see a new section of river.

The author finishing up the middle section near the diversion canal. Not a hard move, but don't go the wrong way!

The East Fork is boatable down to 3.5 on the Hood gauge at Tucker. We had 3.8 ft for this trip.


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