Monday, June 18, 2007

Farmlands/Upper Truss

Last Saturday (June 16th) Theron, John, Nick and I ran the Farmlands section of the White Salmon. While we met up with two other groups at both Lava and Off-Ramp, we mostly had the river to ourselves. The level was 2.75 - a good enough level - but it is starting to get pretty low. The Doorbell Rock is a factor, but still has enough water moving by on the left to make it a low-stress move. The water was much lower than the last time we ran it(3.5), so the level of anxiety was way down along with the water level. We put in below Sidewinder and I don't think any of us missed the warm-up too much. This put in allowed us to get into the first gorge right away. After a couple of class III's we arrived at Doorbell. Everyone did fine here and set a good tone for the rest of the trip. The next few ledges were very fun and before we knew it we were in the pool above Lava. John in the drop below Doorbell The log is still there, and at this level it is better to just charge right and into the eddy than go left and ferry across. At this level Lava looks great, with no lead in and a very clean falls. I guess two people have been trashed in the falls in the last couple of weeks (one of them ended up behind the falls), so it is still not a drop to be taken lightly, even at low water. Luckily everyone who ran it this day had great lines, including the IK, which I heard inspired one of the portagers to run the falls. Theron probes the drop Nick John The guy who was inspired by Nick to run the drop The drop below Lava is always fun and I got plenty of video. There is one more drop at Triple Drop. The river turns class two for a couple of miles, then picks back up in a fun gorge above Off-Ramp. The run out from Triple Drop At Off-Ramp, low water makes the move at the top easier, but the lower drop becomes manky, bouncing boaters back towards the undercut cliff on the left. The author running Off-Ramp Below here are a few more fun drops above the Green Truss bridge. Me in the drop below the bridge. When we arrived at the bridge I decided to head down with Theron and John to Big Brother and hike out there to get a feel for the Truss, while the other two continued the rest of the way. Nick decided it would be too difficult to lug his IK out of the canyon, so he decided to meet us at Big Brother and set safety. In the end, Theron and John decided they were going to hike out at Big Brother too, because John needed was running short on time. The first mile of the Truss is one of my favorite sections of river because it is steep and ledgy with plenty of boulders - a great combination. We boat scouted the first few rapids, then got out to scout a sliding rapid that was pretty narrow. Theron went first and got pushed into a rock on the left and flipped for the first time that I had seen since we've been paddling together (perhaps an omen of what was to come?). John and I corrected off his line and drove right, which worked great. S-Turn and Meatball were both very fun (even though I almost flipped in the bottom drop of Meatball), and I was feeling pretty content with myself by the time we made it to Bob's Falls. I got the camera out as Theron paddled to the lip of Bob's. He got a boof and landed far enough out to paddle out of the hole, but the falls grabbed his tail as he was resurfacing and he flipped. From all the tales of this drop I had read and heard about, I knew what was about to happen. He made his roll, but was sucked into the U in the middle of the falls. He braced up twice more, but didn't get much air and it didn't look like he had any chance of escape. While he still had some air left he pulled. He bobbed up on the boil and John nailed him with a throw bag, but Theron didn't get his hands on it. He was sucked back in two more times before he was able to swim out the river right side, where, luckily, his paddle and boat flushed right to him. As I said before, the first time I had ever seen Theron flip was about ten minutes before, so to see him swim was a little unnerving. Both John and I paddled to the right side and portaged to where Theron was, where we determined that side was much better for setting safety in the future. The video from our trip After Theron caught his breath and we drank some water, Theron once again took the lead position and we followed him down to Big Brother. I think after his swim niether he nor John was feeling up to Big Brother on this particular day, especially with 50% of the water in the landing funneling into the cave. So, after scouting for a while, we started the 45 minute hike out of the canyon. John and Theron ended up finding a road, while I followed an overgrown trail to a barbed wire fence that I had to negotiate. We then all hooked up with Nick and headed to our next events, which for me, included my first speeding ticket - doh. I hope that I will be back to complete the Truss soon, so I am quite excited. Until next time. The last part of the hike out from Big Brother -Jacob

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Canyon Creek video

Here is the video of Nick and my first trip down Canyon Creek. The trip was pretty uneventful, so I will let the video do the talking. Jacob

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Lewis river falls

This past weekend Nick and I had been chaperones on a middle school hiking trip near Mt. St. Helens. We first went to Lava Canyon, where the road is washed out so it involves a 12 mile round trip instead of the 1/2 hike it normally is. After this Nick and I headed to the Lewis river falls while the class went swimming in Swift resevoir. We were expecting low flows, but were suprised when we got there by abundant flows. It is nice that Washington has such good snow melt runs. It is still fascinating to see 1500 cfs in a river in the mountains while all of Oregon is drying up. We started with lower falls, which is pumping at this level, with many reasons not to run it. Then we drove/hiked to middle falls which has a super-sweet slide down the right. After this we ended up checking out three more waterfalls and were set on making the trip back up there with more people and boats the following weekend, and this is were the story really begins. On this trip Theron Jourdan joined Nick, my dad and I for the 2 mile run and another park and huck higher up. The drive from Gresham over on Wind river road took a little over two hours and we arrived feeling excited. We looked at lower falls for a while until Theron finally decided that living was funner than being stuck in a super airated cave with a sheet of water blocking the exit and a thousand cfs falling on him from 40 feet up. We drove around looking for a take out until we decided on taking out 200 yards above lower falls. Then we hiked in to upper falls and Taitnupum falls to scout our portage and let Theron scout the monster. Our next objective was to park and huck twin falls, which is a nice 25 footer. This was very enjoyable and was a good start to our day. Everyone landed this falls cleanly. Nick and Theron We then traveled to our put-in at Quartz creek and had a couple portages until we hit the Lewis river. Which had a splashy class two lead up around a corner, from this first right turn we could see the mist created by the first twenty footer. We eddied out on the left and proceded to scout the falls. The falls was about twenty feet and had as nice a lead in and take off as we could have asked for. The landing was a little deceptive as one roll and two braces proved. The falls consisted of a nick rolling drop that landed in a hole that was created by a slightly U-shaped twenty foot falls with 1500 cfs going over it. The hole was avoided by getting right by the left bank and landing on the left side of the boil. Below this was a sticky ledgehole gaurding the pool below. Theron decided to go first, having lots of right to left angle, landing a little sideways with a brace, having the best line of the day. Nick went left and aproached slowly, having no boof coming off the falls. he went deep and came up with the biggest brace an Ik should be capable of. If you watch the video you will be amazed. I then came next with no left angle, got a huge boof as I turned 90'. I still submerged in the very airated water, I flipped as I resurfaced, then rolled quickly. I was suprised by how quickly I flipped and how difficult the landing was for such a clean drop. After this we scouted the next drop and all went down the 50 yard slide on the left that was pretty fun. The right side can be run but it looks like a sticky hole. There was one more small slide then the gravel bar that marked the eddy for the big portage. We ran the second slide down the left, then had to have a solid ferry to make it to the eddy on the right. I would definately suggest running right or middle on the second drop below Taitnapum. My dad had decided it was not worth the work to run Taitnapum, so he had a rope ready for us to get out to the trail. This helped a lot, I am not even sure that this would be possible without a rope. The portage was probably 30 minutes, but could be cut down with a throw and go (70 feet). Theron and my dad walked the trail with their boats and were kind enough to retreive Nick and my boats as we did the throw part, then walked down the trail. We all put in at the pool below the falls and paddled around a bit. Then we started down towards Middle falls. It arrived soon enough and we pulled over towards the left bank to scout. We hopped out and turned back to see Theron having difficulty exiting his boat. As we grabbed his loop to pull him in, my dad's boat was kicked loose and drifted downstream towards the falls. Nick tried to get to it but it was too far out, We watched as it headed towards the falls. I had already seen the slide during the scout, so I took off downstream and ran the slide on the right. The slide was very neet, being steeper than had looked during the scout. I dropped over the first ten foot ramp worried that I might piton, but the slide shot me downstream over a very low angle, yet speedy slide, then abruptly ended in an eight foot ledge with a hole at the bottom. I corraled my dad's boat right after the next small slide. I then paddled my dad's boat to the right shore hoping to be able to get it high enough above the slide that my dad would be able to get to it because the portage on the left was very difficult at best, maybe not possible. After deciding the left side was too difficult my dad jumped in with Nick and they tandemed the slide with Theron leading. The tandem crew almost swam in the bottom ledge, but pulled it off with legs flailing in the air. In a stroke of brilliance I neglected to bring the camera with me and missed this fascinating line. Below here were some other small rapids before the take easy take out above lower falls. Right above the take out was a small surf hole that might turn into something interesting at higher water, it was right at the end of yet another long, low angle slide. Here is the video This run was one of my favorites because of the two high quality, clean drops and the scenic falls, along with the exploration factor. The best asset to this run in my opinion is that it runs at medium flows when everything else is dry, meaning that it is a good end of spring run with anywhere befween two to five falls depending on how huge people want to go(upper and lower have been run). There are also a multitude of steep side creeks that could be explored with falls of there own if one was feeling adventurous. (as a side note we ran this June 3rd with no shortage of water) -Jacob

Wind River (upper)

Photos by Nick Hymel

We ran the upper wind river at minimal flows (300). Everything was still runnable. We had two IK's paddled by Nick and my dad and they did fine. The put in is pretty and gives no indication of what is downstream. We headed that way and were greated by a couple of class threes before trout creek enters at the beggining of initiation.

 The view from the put-in
We got out to scout the beggining of initiation on a convenient gravel bar that are almost always present on low water runs. The first bit of this rapid was a good indication of what was to come. All of initiation was steeper than it felt with only one good route through each drop. We only had one portage around a manky ledge right above Ram's horn that a buddy of ours has run at this flow (accidentally) and made it through up right, but the chance of a pin is pretty high.

This is the beginning of initiation 

Next up was Ram's Horn which was the only totally clean rapid on the run. At this level there is no sneak on the left. My dad ran right, then got typewritered left for the bottom drop. I went right, then middle and Nick went left middle. At this level this was the only class 4ish rapid on the run.

This is the lead in to Ram's Horn and the end of Initiation.

Me, getting middle for the second drop after being moved left by the hole

My dad in the middle of his typewriter move.
Below here was a couple more class threes, then Climax, which was super easy at this level with no hole. It had a pretty fun boof though. From all the reports and talk I had heard about this run I was expecting the rest of the run to be pool drop 2-, but it kept moving and had a couple more class threes. In here was a surf hole that produced my only flip when I was run into by a big blue duck:)  It was a nice day so the rest of the paddle out was managable.