Class V, 80fpm, ~500cfs
November 24, 2002
Ben, John, Travis, Tom
None of the rapids on the Cascade are particularly difficult. The main reason that I've put it off is due to the history surrounding Bridge Drop. Several people have died here in recent years, most likely due to the bridge debris that create a sieve below the most difficult stretch of rapids. Even at this low of flow, we made sure we knew what was coming by thoroughly scouting Starts with a Bang. The holes were relatively harmless but I can see how someone might be forced to swim at higher flows. It's best to take it slow and set up safety wherever possible. Swimmers should be advised to avoid going center in Bridge Drop. We ran it left and had no trouble avoiding the sieve. From there it was pretty steady Class III until we reached Premium. A quick scout from either bank offers a choice of routes.
Travis running the first drop of Starts with a Bang.
Travis running left in Bridge Drop. Part of the sieve can be seen in the center.
Travis goes beneath some logs in Bridge Drop.
John running right in Premium.
Next comes Monster. Make sure to scout this drop on the left. The right side is nasty but there is a clean series of slides on river left that we chose to run. You could also ferry right midway for an exciting ride through the final hole. A neat waterfall comes in on river left at its base. A bunch more Class III and IV leads to Shark's Tooth. The book advises running it on the right but we had no trouble bumping down on the left.
When you reach the private bridge, it's over. The few miles between there and the fisheries bridge felt long so I suggest taking out somewhere in-between where the road parallels the river.
The Cascade was a great river my first time down but the rapids are nothing special. The surroundings are what make this river memorable and provide as good as any reason to return.