Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Western Whitewater From the Rockies to the Pacific, 1994 (river guide - book review)

Encyclopedia of Whitewater Rivers in the Western USA

This is a giant 590 page book of dreams about where to go on your next whitewater vacation.

"A river guide for raft, kayak, and canoe." The book is divided into 6 regions covering 11 states in the western USA (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming). Detailed descriptions are given for 115 rivers and brief notes for an additional 38 rivers. Each of these rivers may contain multiple river runs, so it adds up to an even larger total number of runs described. The book is densely packed with great information for river boaters, as well as a few pictures and maps.


Cassady, Cross & Calhoun wrote: "Disclaimer. This book is a guide to the West's finest rivers, not an instruction manual on how to run them. A guide book can no more teach you how to run a river than a road map can teach you how to drive. Before you run any river, you should learn whitewater skills and safety techniques from a qualified instructor.

River sports are inherently hazardous, involving potential risks that include loss of equipment, injury or death. You are responsible for your own safety, and you assume all risk for your actions. This book does not constitute a recommendation for any person to run any river, and it is no substitute for experience, skill, prudence, common sense, and first-hand observation.

We have tried to make this book as accurate as possible; however, there will inevitably be mistakes and omissions regarding the location, rating, or description of rapids or other features. Our river descriptions do not point out every rapid or hazard. Whitewater difficulty ratings for rivers and rapids are inherently imprecise and subjective. The authors have not run or seen every river in this guide; some of our information, though based on the best available sources both written and oral, is second-hand.

Rivers and rapids are constantly changing, so descriptions that were accurate when they were written may no longer be correct when you run the river. Fluctuations in water levels can dramatically alter the difficulty of any river or rapid. In addition, obstacles and hazards like rocks, falls and logs can and will shift and change from year to year. New dangers may arise or develop at any time. Be prepared. Always trust your own eyes and your own judgement first and foremost. Scout carefully before running any river or rapid, and seek additional advice and information from people who have recently boated the river you are considering.

Boaters should not rely exclusively on the information contained in in this book; they should consult local guide books, local river runners, and government agencies. For more information on river safety, refer to the Introduction in this guide.

We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on land ownership and public access. When in doubt about land ownership and legal access, inquire locally. Nothing we say should be construed as an invitation to trespass.

The authors and publisher assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever with respect to personal injury, property damage, loss of time or money, or any other loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book."


The book is over 10 years old now. The rivers don't change much over that time span, so the information in the book is generally still very useful. The book was written before online flow sites and online maps were popular on the Internet, so it doesn't provide any links for whitewater resources on the Internet.

The authors have selected some of the most popular rivers in each region to include in the book, but many fine rivers were not included. Only a 10 volume set of books could cover every boatable river over such a wide area. This book is useful to pick out a region and some major rivers to explore, but then travelers may want to get a specialized guide that provides more comprehensive coverage for the additional rivers in the region of their boating trip. (**** - my rating 4 stars out of 5 - recommended!)

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