Flathead Search and Rescue had some advice for traversing the North Fork Wave, a frequent spot for summer rescues that has already had one incident this year. This stretch of river has claimed more than one life, and the organization had the following advice:
“The warm weather has brought river levels up considerably, and folks are getting out on the water. The “shelf” (aka. North Fork wave), the large hydraulic approximately 1 mile upstream of the Glacier Rim launch– 1/2 mile downstream of the Canyon Creek culvert– looks deceptively like a simple, short stretch of whitewater. It is not. It is a strong hydraulic which can easily flip and/or trap a raft. Rafters are either thrown out into the frigid water, or trapped on the floor of their raft as it’s held in place mid-river and pummeled by the water.
The shelf is visible in this Google Earth satellite image. The Canyon Creek culvert is in the upper left of the frame. The channel then widens and splits around the island, then narrows again. At the narrow point before the channel turns southeast, there is a very distinct line of whitewater that extents approximately half way across the channel. This is the ‘shelf,’ and it is best avoided, by staying river left (on the left side of the channel, when facing downstream.) Please exercise particular caution in this section of the river. And please, please, PLEASE wear a life jacket (aka personal flotation device). Everyone in every boat should be wearing one.”
The comments on the post verfied the river is dangerous: