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Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack

Idaho Panhandle, Idaho

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Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack

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  • Flow check at the bridge. - Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • The main attraction of this section is the Slides.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • Lower part of the Slides.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • Entrance to the Guillotine.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • The crux move at Guillotine.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • The crux move at Guillotine.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • Maneuvering wood in one of the ledges.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • Easy scouting on the right of the Gorgette.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • The entrance to the Gorgette.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • The final ledge in the Gorgette.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
  • Take-out beach if you do both sections. It is helpful to mark it from the river so you don't miss it.- Pack River: The Upper Slides, Middle Upper Pack
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Granite slides. Easy access.
Cons: 
Roads may be rough. Potential for wood.
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Alerts: 
Be sure to scout the run thoroughly each year as strainers are common.
Region:
Idaho Panhandle, ID
Average Gradient: 
150.00 ft/mi (28.41 m/km)
Route Characteristics: Character:
Pool Drop, Continuous, Gorge, Steep Creek, Wooded (Forested)
Gauge URL: 
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv?site_no=12392300
Overall difficulty: 
IV+
IV
V
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring
Put-in location (lat, long coordinates): 
48.597, -116.6344
Suitable for:
Kayaks, Rafts
Take-out location (lat, long coordinates): 
48.5766, -116.612
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Current Local Weather:

Notable Hazards + River Information

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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

This section of the Pack River starts with about a mile of somewhat continuous Class III to Class IV boulder drops. If this is your first time down, be sure to scout for strainers, as wood placement can change every year after high water events and winter storms.

As you get further into the run, you will note a pile of large boulders that constrict the channel.  This marks the beginning of the steeper bedrock rapids. This section starts with a fun series of clean 4- to 5-foot ledges. The highlight of this section is the two clean rock slides that are 15 to 20 feet high and 30 to 60 feet long. Both are relatively easy and can be scouted on the left side of the river with ease. 

The next major drop is the section's crux rapid, called the Guillotine. It is so named because of an innocuous undercut rock on the right side of the river at the bottom of the drop that has the potential to hand out some serious injuries. The difficulty of this drop varies significantly with flows; however, it is a longer and more technical rapid than the previous ledges. The Guillotine is the only rapid within the Slides section that approaches Class V, and it is easily scouted and portaged.

After a slide following Guillotine, the bedrock disappears and the river turns into fun and continuous Class III and Class IV stretch (mostly read and run) consisting of boulder drops for the final 1.5 miles to the take out.

The Slides section is likely to be most popular section of the Pack due to the ability to easily scout and portage the more difficult sections. This section of the pack is a wonderful opportunity for non-expert paddlers to experience beautiful, steep alpine creeking without running committing rapids.

The Gorgette Section

You can end your day after the Slides or continue to the Gorgette. The Lower Upper Gorgette starts out as a Class III continuous section with small eddys, holes and waves. Again, stay on your toes and keep an eye out for wood as the situation changes annually. About a mile into the run you will come to a sweeping left turn with a few broken ledges and boulders. This turn signals the approach into the class IV+ Gorgette. Beyond this series of ledges you will soon see the river narrow into a canyon and turn to the right. Catch an eddy on the right and scout the whole Gorgette from the right bank. After the Gorgette, the river returns to small read-and-run boulder gardens. Again, stay on your toes and boat scout for wood until the take-out.

Gauge Information

The gauge is just upstream on river left from the second bridge that spans the river as you head up the Pack River Road. If the river looks high and/or is past the second line on the marker, you'll probably want to reconsider running the Grottos and the Slides. Conversely, you may want to forego the Gorgette if the river is looking a little bony and is closer to the first marker, but the steep sections will be fine.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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