Wenatchee River (House Run)
|Stretch:||Last Exit to Icicle Road|
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV|
|Flows:||~800 to ?0,000 cfs. Check out American Whitewater's current flow gauge.|
|Gradient:||64 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Just below the crux of Last Exit via roadside turnout|
|Take-out:||Bridge on Icicle Rd|
|Shuttle:||1.4 miles, less than 5 minutes one way|
|Season:||Spring and Summer from snowmelt|
Jobless Summer 2019 Roadtrip - Day 13b:
Not a whole lot to say about this run. I would have thought it wasn't considered a separate run and scoffed a little when I first read that in the PNW guidebook. But then as we drove up, sure enough, there were folks putting on below the run out of Last Exit. So apparently people really do put on here. So anyways, this is nice enough run with a couple of class III to III+ rapids, and for those wanting more, you can put in upstream at the base of Last Exit and get some more solid IV to IV+ moves to add on to it.
Since we were paddling through from the top, that is what we did. Using a small trail that drops down from the road to the base of the rapid, we portaged Last Exit and slid back into the water. The first rapid is by far the biggest and quickly tapers off to busy class III. Downstream there are a few standout rapids but everything is boat scoutable and the river more pool and drop in nature.
The run gets its name because there are houses lining the river after the first rapid. So don't expect solitude here, though the mountains still are spectacular. Quickly, you will find yourself at take-out though since this run is very short. Take-out can be a bit of a cluster since this is where the inner tubing companies all put-in. So be prepared for the chaos there.
3,450 cfs seemed like a fine flow. Probably makes it so class III boaters might not feel comfortable, but it could also be run much higher for those who are comfortable. I thought this section was worth doing. The portage of Last Exit was easy, so it isn't like it added a bunch of work. And it added some nice whitewater and made the day a smidge longer, which was also nice. I can see why people add it on to Tumwater, as well as run it by itself, though the later would be a really short lap. For me though, it was nice and I was glad we did it.
Previous: Jobless Summer 2019 Roadtrip - Day 13: Wenatchee River (Tumwater)
Next: Jobless Summer 2019 Roadtrip - Day 14: Cooper Creek
- Last Exit's Exit (IV). Putting in at the eddy below the main ledge of Last Exit, you are immediately in a good size rapid. We went down a big wave train which then went over a ledge with a nice window, basically just a smidge left of center in the river. Below that, the rapid eases up to be open read and run boogie.
Slalom (III). As it gets mellower, it is nice slalom practice with nice mid river rocks and holes to negotiate. Great little section really.
- Alternate Put-in access via some stairs and the turn out just as the road exits a rocky canyon section and begins going up the river directly. I think you would only use this put in to add some spice to the run if you are planning to continue past the normal take-out. Otherwise this would be a very short run by itself.
- S-Turn (III+). A nice rapid that was a little blind from above. We approached on the right shore and went down that channel heading into the middle. The middle in hindsight went fine as well.
Take-out: From Levenworth, take US-2 west. Just as you exit town, before you start heading up river, turn left onto Icicle Rd. Follow this for 0.8 miles and park on the left, just before, and under the bridge over the river.
Put-in: Go back out to US-2, turn left and head up river. After 0.6 miles you will see the huge Last Exit rapid. There is a turn out just above the rapid on the river side. Park there. From there, walk down the road, downriver, to just below the rapid where there is a steep trail down to the river just below the crux of the rapid and above the runout rapid which you will run.
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