About Rock and Roll Rapid
Class III. Rock and Roll is considered Class IV above 13,000 CFS by Douglas North. There are many ways to approach this 200-yard stretch of whitewater. You can break it into four main parts: Guide Rock, the Eyeball, the Asshole, and the wavetrain at bottom left. Some swear by right-to-left momentum from top to bottom, others will hug the right side of Guide Rock (the most prominent rock in the lead-in) and then work left through the waves from there. The most conservative line at flows below 9,000 CFS is tight to river left, nearly onshore. You’ll feel like you have to hit the final wave train, but it can be skirted by bumping down the rocks. Above 9kcfs, the conservative line swaps to far right, avoiding the Eyeball and everything else completely. What goes and what doesn’t depends on your craft of choice, with bigger, heavier boats getting swallowed but generally staying upright and smaller boats getting jangled about and flipping here, there, and everywhere.
Flows below 3,000 CFS mean that the Eyeball is just a pourover or exposed rock, and the usually heinous Asshole itself is just a dry rock. Between 3,000 CFS and 13,500 CFS, the Eyeball is definitely hittable, though it grows bigger and requires being T’ed up to the hole. Carrying a little left to right momentum helps keep it upright in the backwash and set up to make the ferry to get left of the Asshole. At 10,500 CFS, the Eyeball can swallow a 16-footer; at 15,500 CFS it manages to green out into a towering wave that can stand a Super Puma on its stern.
The Asshole has a smaller window of anger, but it rages harder than the Eyeball and is almost always avoided, either to the left or the right. Between 4,000 CFS and 7,000 CFS, it lurks below the horizon, nearly invisible from upstream until you find yourself stuck in it. This hole builds in intensity and size all the way up to 9,000 CFS. The Asshole has surfed rafts from 7,500 CFS up to 9,000 CFS, whether the guide or passengers meant to throw down or not. Above 9,000 CFS, the Asshole washes out, becoming just another wave in the fun train on the left.