Monday, March 30, 2009

Wildboy Creek


Stream: I took vague notes on this one, so for a more robust beta page check out the first descent description.

The best drop is the falls at the put in and the couple slides just after.  There are a good number of fun class III-IV bedrock rapids spread throughout the rest of the run, then a good set of class IV rapids near the confluence with the NW Fork Washougal.  Unfortunately there was a lot of wood in the creek in 2009.  If everything in the area is way too high, the put in drop is a squeaky clean waterfall. Very clean and perfect landing pool.  At the flows I was there, the artificial lip looked abrupt.

Flows:  For the run, 5,000 in the Washougal is a reasonable flow to shoot for give or take.  If I were planning to run the falls I would want a minimum of 10,000 in the Washougal and preferably higher though it has been run lower.  Over 10,000 cfs I would only do the falls and skip the rest of the run (because of the wood).

Access:  There is a gate on the most obvious access road a couple miles from the put in that is usually locked.  It's an easy downhill hike from there, but if you are just park and hucking the falls the walk back out might be a bummer.  I got lucky once and was able to drive down, but every time since then it's been closed when I have been in the area.

The take out is the mercantile at the intersection of Washougal River Rd and Canyon Creek Rd.  To get to the put drive to the Hagen take out, from there you have a number of options.  Use a map (I recommend one with satellite imagery) and choose the route that suits you best.

Directions to the mercantile and Hagen take out are described here.

Here is a map showing the area, if you are crafty the hike can be reduced to under a mile by connecting spur roads.
Waterfall Location:  45.671, -122.2185

Original Write-up

Tried to run Wildboy creek Saturday as plan Z as Rick put it after failing to get on Stebbins due to snow, then the Upper Upper Washougal, then Siouxon, then Dougan, and so on until we made it to the NW fork Washougal drainage. We decided to try Wildboy, the good news was the gate was open for a boyscout camp so we didn't have to hike in.  The bad news was it was painfully low.  We put on below the put in falls anyway.  Rick ran the first Flume drop in its entirety, I seal-launched in half way, then eddied out to hear that Rick had broken his boat on the left wall.  It was a glancing blow so Rick wasn't hurt but his boat wasn't operational so we hiked back up to the put in.  After a few hours of driving, we ended up running one rapid, that's the way it goes sometimes.

The next day (March 28, 2009) Jean and I returned with a touch more water (3400 and dropping fast on the Washougal @ Hathaway gauge) and ran all the way to the store on the Washougal.  Without wood Wildboy would be an awesome creek having so much bedrock.  It isn't all that hard, but lots of bedrock and without wood would just be a joyride from put-in to take out.  As it is there are a lot of strainers in the form of fish habitat, designed to cover the bedrock with boulders and debris.  This project was done when they were just figuring out how to place wood habitat, so there is plenty of left over cable (because the trees got ripped downstream) and it is configured in hazardous ways.  We portaged 7 times, but probably should have done a couple more.  I took one good shot to the head trying to duck a log, and had a large tree as a bench press bar for a minute.  I'm not sure whether the situation would be better or worse with more water?  There were some bouldery sections, but lots of bedrock too.  Waterfall at putin would be great when there is a more airated landing and the lip is less abrupt.  NF Washougal was fun, Jean got a couple good knocks to the head after rolling in a shallow section, no swims though.  
              We took footage, we will see if Jean does something with that, wouldn't hold my breath as he has father duties now!
           If I venture into that drainage again I will just stick with a clean run down Hagen, but it was fun seeing a new section of water.  And thanks to my dad for running the never ending shuttle on Saturday.