Rapid Rating


River Mileage

About Snowblind Rapid

The major dividing line of Snowblind is 2,000 CFS. Another one exists at 15,000 CFS.

The infamous Z-Line shows up in Snowblind at 2,000 CFS and below, though you can still bump and grind down the outside right as low as 1,600 CFS if you miss the first eddy. It’s not pretty, but it can be done. The Z-line is the only way to get through low-water Snowblind. First, pick your way down the Class I shallow bedrock as the river goes down a straightaway before it starts to bend left. Your goal is to make it almost completely to the outside right while avoiding the rocks and ledges that are just deep enough to lure you into thinking you’ll make it over before you get stuck. There is an eddy on far river right, just beside the bank, behind a cluster of ledgey rocks. You want to get in there. There’s room for two, maybe three rafts depending on how tightly you can snuggle. The other rafts in your party can wait upstream in a higher eddy on the right side. Once you’re in that eddy, look out towards river left. See the deeper green channel that terminates on the far side of the river? That’s your line. Get an upstream angle, stay as high as possible in the eddy, and wait for the right moment to begin the ferry move out of the eddy and into the current. Catch it well, call for strokes as needed to stay in the main channel.

Once you get far enough towards the left shore that you can see another headed back to the right, make an upstream turn and get yourself headed down the channel that, all the way across the river, flushes down into a wave train. Call for strokes as needed to get through the choke point, ferry right, spin so your nose is facing downstream into the waves, and be stoked that your craft made it down! That’s the Z-line. It gets spicy. Take your time to make the moves spot on – rushing increases the likelihood of a stuck boat.

Above 2,000 CFS the game changes. There are lines to the left, right, and center of the rapid coming in from the top, with some being splashier or stickier than others. There is a green highway at almost all flows at center left, just make sure you shoot the center between the holes known as “Safeway” on river right (3,000 – ~10,000 CFS) and “Snowblower” on river left (4,000 – 6,800 CFS). At and above 7,000 CFS, Snowblower becomes a tall, towering wave on the left side that can hide a pretty chompy hole in the middle.

Snowblind goes through another mood swing at 15,000 CFS. Watch out for the Avalanche Wave on the top right. It is a seriously big hit do not drift into it leisurely. Below Avalanche, everything is big: waves, holes, more waves. This is a great read-and-run big water rapid, but be warned that the bedrock ledges are still lurking below the surface. People have gotten bruises from the bottom at 15,000 CFS.