Sidewinder, Part B

As the river reconverges around the island after Sidewinder Part A, there is a lull before the river drops again and bends long and hard to the right. This kicks off Part B of the rapid. This portion is far more challenging and at high flows is an exhausting paddle as it’s basically all forward until you clear the corner. What you are trying to avoid are two items: 1) Patch Corner eddy, which is an almost inescapable eddy at high water. And 2) The Bunny Box, a rock feature that can flip you, which is immediately downstream of Patch Corner Eddy and is on river left.

While many rapids on the Lower Kern have two names, this is the only rapid that has four. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, this rapid was referred to as Patch Corner or Bail More. The name Patch Corner came from having to patch your rafts here after putting a hole in it. Forest Service maps even have named a trail Patch Corner that leads you to this spot from Highway 178. The name Bail More comes from the non-self bailing days and is a reference to the non-stop bailing you had to do in your bucket boat. Then the name Sidewinder appeared, although I’m not sure of the history of it. And finally, Eat Rocks and Bleed.

Above 3500 CFS: In the slack water above, work your way to river right. As you drop in, fight hard to hug the inside corner on the right. You will have to encourage your paddlers to keep going because it is a tough move to make.

3500 to 2000 CFS: Same as high water but you will find yourself having to deal with more exposed rocks so be wary of getting too far inside the corner.

Below 2000 CFS: Due to the width of the river, low water calls for a lot of read-and-run picking the channel with the most flow. At very low flows, you will find this on the left-hand side which will make for a hard ferry to get back to river right through the curve.

This video shows Sidewinder at 3,400 CFS. You can see how hard the river wants to push you hard to the left.

ERB “B” starts around 7:30. More rocks are starting to get exposed at lower flows. Note the left entrance.