Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lower two medicine river

There is relatively little information floating around about the lower two medicine river near Browing Montana and Cut Bank Montana. For instance, American Whitewater only has a single entry about a surf wave somewhere near Browining. "floating and recreation on Montana rivers" by Curt Thompson is the only source of information I've been able to find.

Thompson describes the section between Highway 89 near Heart Butte to Highway 358 near Cut Bank as "nine class II to III rapids. A class IV is just upstream and visible from the Highway 44 bridge.". Since maps don't clearly show where the Highway 44 bridge may be, the difficulty of this run is uncertain. In addition, translating Thompson's float grades to modern kayaking grades is uncertain. For instance, the upper two medicine describes two medicine falls as unportageable and unrunnable. It is in fact only moderately difficult and very easy if one knows the basics of a body rappel (and has a throw bag). The falls are also a straight forward V.

While the section from Highway 89 to 358 is 40 miles, Thompson describes a shorter section from highway 358 to Sullivan bridge as a 14 mile section containing two class IV and two class III.

If anyone is interested in taking advantage of the rare flows on this run this Saturday, please email Chris at cgoble72 at gmail.


Did the bike shuttle on the middle run (89 to 358) and then ran that section.  Very flat.  Scenery is nice, but gets repetitive.  All the rapids are very small and would be fun in a canoe.  I would definitely not call the last 9 miles "whitewater".  There are some easy waves and the occasional wide ledge with a nice flat spinning wave/hole.  The last rapid is a classic.  Much better than it looks from the road.  Well work hiking up with your boat to run.

It would be interesting to see what the lower section is like.