Playing in the hole at Hollywood Rapid

Playing in the hole at Hollywood RapidRiver levels are so low on the James right now, and while that might keep paddlers from enjoying a full run of the river, it certainly doesn’t stop people from finding new ways to play in the water. One opportunity that has been suggested is to play in the “hole” beside Hollywood Rapid. There is a very large hole in a granite boulder on the north side of the rapid that many swimmers jump into.  I’ve been told that when the water levels are below 3.5 feet (Westham gauge) that it is safe and easy to exit the vertical hole. Take your goggles or mask and be sure to have swim buddies if you try this one out. Have you ever tried this? Does the hole run through the boulder and out into the river? Has anyone ever encountered problems trying this legendary rite of the river?

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4 responses to “Playing in the hole at Hollywood Rapid

  1. I will grab my snorkel and head down their after work and provide a detailed report on this magical granite hole and treasures found upon exploration.

  2. I’ve done it. The hole is about 3′ in diameter. You jump in straight down, feel for the ledge about 5′ down, pull yourself down to the ledge, and then swim straight out into the rapid. One word of caution…be careful when you pull yourself out at the bottom that you don’t go too far out because there is another rock about 4′ out from the ledge that you’ll slam your head into as you swim out. I speak from experience. I did it with my eyes closed because I had no goggles and nearly knocked myself out on the exit!

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