Saturday, January 3, 2009

Urban Creeking

Jordan Englert, Rob Cruser (my dad), and myself ran Rock Creek after a recent high water event.  Rock Creek flows through the town of Clackamas near the turn-off to Barton heading east on highway 212.  The take out is actually right under the highway.  We set up a rope before hand to help with getting out of the gorge at the end.  We drove up to Sunnyside road and put-in behind a neighborhood that was being constructed.  We carried our gear down through the woods and put in on the brown creek.  We took off and started dodging some wood.  We had a couple easy portages and one encounter with a barb wire fence!  We got to our first rapid(class 2-3), and it had wood in it so we portaged and I climbed up the wall to scout downstream .  I could see a horizon line and knew we had arrived at the falls we had seen while scouting in the summer.  We took turns running the class 3 lead in to the falls and scouted on the left.
    This scout is the number one reason this run can only be done on weekends.  When I had scouted it in the summer there had always been people working there and there are no trespassing signs.  This was as far as I had scouted from the top of the run.  So we took a look and took turns running it.  The right side looks like the way to go but there is a rock just under the surface that can only be seen at summer flows.  If someone else decides to run this, do not go right, you will get hurt badly.  I went first(far river left) and hit bottom slightly, but upright and it didn't hurt.  My dad went next and stayed off the bottom in his IK.  Jordan then went and hit his tail on something but otherwise it was a great line.   We continued downstream from here into the unknown part of the run for us.
   There were a couple fun drops in here.  In the best drop below the falls ( a small ledge drop), was a log/stick/hole combo in the landing, Jordan and I drove right to miss the wood and were successful, it was a fairly strong move.  My dad went next and crashed into the stick and broke it off, cleaning up the drop significantly.  This would be the worst rapid to have a bad line on it because of the hole and log combo.
      We continued on from here moving along quickly and portaging the occasional log jam.  Everything was portageble at river level and Jordan cleaned up one more rapid for us by removing some wood.  There was at least one time where we portaged straight over a log jam, but most portages were pretty easy.  There were a couple times when it was nice to have my dad in an IK so he could go first and not worry about eddies, since it is so easy for him to get out of his boat.  From the bottom of the gorge to below the take out the creek is in a gorge, so a log in the wrong place is a constant worry.  Scouting as much as possible before you begin the run is crucial.
There was one more ledge at the take out and a difficult eddy to grab, then we roped ourselves up the hill to our cars.  I really enjoyed the trip, it is a good place to go when everything else is starting to get blown out.  It is only 1.5 miles long, but is a great adventure for those who enjoy that sort of challenge.  
     The "Beaver creek at Troutdale"   Gauge needs to be above 7 ft. for this run to come in. This gauge needs to be around 8 ft. to be worth it however,  above 10 it is probably very dangerous with the wood.  The first mile can be scouted from the right bank, the last 1/2 mile from the left before hand or from the creek most of the time.  Down at river level it depends on where the wall is weakest.
After this adventure Jordan and I ran from Revenue to Dodge at 15 ft on the Bull Run gauge or so.  Big water, the usually flat first quarter mile was class IV, and the rock with wood on it visible downstream of the put-in was a serious concern with water pushing hard into it.  The entire run only took about 20 minutes with wood floating down the river the whole way and rocks heard crashing along the riverbed below us.
Here is a link to a map of the creek for those interested  


Robb said...

Thanks for the documentation. I used to boat with your dad long ago. I have been paddling for many years since and I see he is too! Nice to see he has a son into it too.

Tell your dad hi for me...and tell him he should be proud to have a fellow family paddler! Maybe we can do some trips.

Thanks a bunch!

Robb Keller

Jacob said...
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Jacob said...

I will let him know, and he does let me know how proud of me he is. Thanks for the kind words. My email is It would be really cool boating with one of my dad's old friends and a guidebook author. Send me an email and we will get out sometime, I'm sure my dad would love to see you again!