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

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