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Lower Malad at 1300 cfs

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Lower Malad at 1300 cfs

It takes about 3 hours and a half to get to the put in from salt lake, but it is worth the drive if you can get more than 4 laps and if the river is running higher than 1200 cfs. It is a pretty short section that is probably 1 mile long from the put in to the take out. The biggest rapid is right at the put in with two hole/waves at the right and left sides of the rapid. You could do an S move to avoid them, but it is more fun just to punch through them. After this rapid, you will not see flat water until the take out but it does calm down. I think the first rapid above 1200cfs is a class 4 and the rest are probably class 4- or class 3+. But you don't want to swim because there are a lot of rocks, few eddies, wood and the water is moving fast. On the other hand, if you run this during the winter, the water will be warmer than air temperature.

To check the level of the river go to the Idaho Power website and look for water flow information at Malad R, near Bliss, Id. The gauge number is 13153500. The link for this gauge is


There is another gauge labeled "Malad lower power canal near Bliss, ID" but that won't give you the correct flow.

I think this river at around 1300cfs feels a little bit like the narrows at 800 cfs or the runoff of Crunch at summer flows.

Here are a couple of clips taken the same day.




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Lower Malad at 1300 cfs :: Comments

Post on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 5:13 pm by Wil


Thanks for the info on this and the Malad post. Yeah looking at FSM's video and the YouTube one you had, it sure does look nice and continuous. A couple of questions for you if you don't mind:

1) How long does it take to setup shuttle for it?

2) Is there any kind of path or anything on the side so people can hike on and watch?

I might try and talk the family into a trip this weekend to beautiful Idaho.

Thanks again - Wil

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Post on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 8:09 pm by PeruH2o

Hey Wil, yeah, driving from the take out to the put in takes 5 minutes. I'm not sure there is a trail to hike, though. That was the first time I was there, so I'm not very familiar with the area, but I do know that the road sort of follows the river as you get closer to the put-in. A friend of us was with us, who is from the area and taking pictures from different locations pretty close to the river but I don't know how difficult it is to get to those places.

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Post on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 9:40 pm by wasatchbill

Nice Idaho turnout there! Even a cataraft.
Here is the shuttle it looks like they did. At the end turn left into that parking lot. Car camping is ok there if I recall correctly.

The satellite image shows a bit of a fishermans trail on the lower half; I don't see much in the brushy rocky upper half.
Here is the "upper" half mile above the dam where they put in. This half mile is what flows year round, with a few hundred yards of class IV at normal low flows, and class II/III above that (I guess there's only one boof that hardcores would call IV :-). You have to hike a quarter mile past a gate to get the upper 1/4 mile. This stretch has a dirt road that spectators could walk on the whole way. If the flow happened to drop, this is what would still be boatable. Yeah its only (edit: .8 miles), but its crystal clear warm spring water that is 56 degrees year round; and you can hike laps on the IV boof.

Last edited by wasatchbill on Thu 02 Feb 2012, 2:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post on Wed 01 Feb 2012, 12:29 pm by Vertder Miff

Are you saying the difficulty of this run at 1300 is similar to the Narrows at 800? I consider the Narrows at 800 to be harder than 3+/4-.

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Post on Wed 01 Feb 2012, 1:55 pm by wasatchbill

what is the story with the swimmer at 1:38?

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Post on Fri 03 Feb 2012, 10:59 pm by PeruH2o

Chris, I don't know why you would call this river a class 3+/4- when it has a pretty significant class 4 rapid.

Bill, his cataraft got pinned and he was trying to get it unpinned. I think he thought it was shallower than what it really was.

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Post on Fri 03 Feb 2012, 11:38 pm by Vertder Miff

I wasn't trying to rate the run, Christian, as I've never paddled it. I thought you were calling it both class 3+/4- and similar to Oggie Narrows at 800. I have run the Narrows at 800+ and thought it was much harder than 3+/4-, so I was confused by what you were saying. I think I was probably just misinterpreting your characterization of the run.

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Post on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 8:16 pm by PeruH2o

Yeah, I agree with you, Chris, about the narrows. I also think the narrows is a solid class 4 and I also think the malad is a solid class 4. Both, Malad and narrows, have class 4 rapids (the malad has 1 and the narrows has 2) and, in my opnion, the rest of the river is a class 3+/4-. I guess I wasn't very clear about that. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Post on Wed 22 Feb 2012, 11:47 am by brysonwhite

That is a beautiful run.

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