Cossatot Gauge Level Discussion

By Cowper Chadbourne

My personal favorite level is around 3.75 feet, because that is the 
optimum level for enders in a decked boat.  Most people want 4 feet or 
more, but it baffles me why the decked boaters feel this way - when level 
is over 4 feet success ratio for enders drops from about 50% of your trys 
to maybe only one good ender out of 10 to 15 trys, and many folks give up 
trying with 0 successes.  yet they continue to insist BOTH that they love 
to do enders AND that they like the higher levels better.  Some other 

At 2.55, I had a blast one summer.  We ran the drops down to/including the 
Machine, then got out of our boats, and swam in the Machine (with helmets 
and life jactkets), allowing it to tumble us.  It takes a silly, "I'm here 
so I'm going to have fun" attitude at this level.

At 3, you can run the Falls, but it is too high for some of the swimming 
stunts and too low for enders.

At about 3.3, depending on your boat design you may be able to get an 
ender at Shoulder bone.  At 3.5, enders are definately there but may not 
be good, especially if you have a Freefall LT or other boat with high 
volume bow.  For  LT, more water is needed to push it down.

At 4.6, very few enders - maybe none.  But it becomes possible to run 
Machine  "over the top" ((barely).  In other words, from 5 feet and up you 
are looking at a different river.

At 5.5, consider running Eye opener near the far left bank versus the 
traditional route, where a major hole is developing.  Depending on how 
good your eddy catching skills are, you may find Eye Opener, BMF, Washing 
Machine appear to be one long rapid.

At levels below 4 feet, I seldom run all the way to Hwy 4 unless that is 
the strong desire of my paddling buddies.  Spend your energy playing the 
falls, making multiple runs of the Washing Machine, etc.

I believe you will find a more carefully laid out description of levels on 
the ACC bulletin Board in the files area; this is just my impressions from 
looking over some of my notes from past runs.  Also, my impressions of how 
good any given level is tend to change whenever I change boats, due to the 
different play characteristics of each boat.

Hope this helps some.