Please note: This post was written by Luther Stephens and was imported from our former blog platform. It has been kept for archival purposes.
For the first time in well over 25 years, Vortex Rapid has altered its personality. And, we do not believe she has adopted a friendlier demeanor. . .
During the week of May 19th, under the onslaught of a flow in excess of 4,000cfs, the “slide rock” that so many guides have relied upon as a safe portal shifted dramatically to river right.
The enclosed photo is a panoramic that shows the entire rapid since the change (click on the image for a more impressive view). Most noticeable is the new position of the slide rock. The shift seams to have made the entrance far less palatable, to say the least. It appears the newly altered rapid has a much tougher second drop as well. Portage river left is an important option to consider as we all figure out the best way to negotiate this “new” rapid on the Forks of the Kern.