Monday, June 15, 2009

Yellowjacket Creek

                                 all photos by Matt King               

            Matt King and I ran Yellowjacket creek last Wednesday.  The ride to Randle was longer than we had expected from Portland, but eventually we made it there and after one wrong turn we made our way to the learning center to hopefully find a guy named Drew we had heard of on the internet, and maybe secure a shuttle.  Drew wasn't there, but one of his co-workers, Layla, was kind enough to offer help on the shuttle afterwards.  When we drove over the take-out bridge we both took a deep breath, the water was looking a lot lower than we had hoped for as it flowed across a flood plain.  We decided it would hopefully consolidate upstream, and we could float down this last section, so we would at least make it down even if it was low.
          We drove upstream about five miles to the normal put-in and took a look.  It looked like it was deserving of the "class V scramble" reputation it had been given, we had already decided to use the upper put in, pioneered by Dave Hoffman and group in 2008 so continued up the road another 2-3 miles until we started catching glimpses of the creek and a short, dirt road went off to the left.  We took this turn and got dressed in a bit of rain while Matt's dog Oakland took care of some business.  Then we followed the short trail down to the river and got ready to enter the adventure.
          The first rapid was a steep boulder garden right off the bat with a small sieve on the right,  Matt eddy hopped his way down, then signaled me on through.  After this the creek was class two for awhile with some wood, but I don't think we portaged any wood between here and the first big drop.  

Eventually we came to the first real rapid since the put-in rapid.  We saw some wood so we scouted.  It was a 3 foot ledge with a weird hole, but all the water pushed into some wood on the left.  Below here were two small eddies on the left, then a nasty falls with wood.

From a return trip
photo: Priscilla Macy

Matt found a path on the right, so instead of running the marginal lead in drop and catching one of the little eddies on the left, we portaged on the right pretty easily.  Note: On a return trip, Whitney Butler ran the lead in down the left into an eddy then a number of us ran a lubricated seal launch on the left.

Matt and I ran a short drop right below, followed by a couple more fun boulder/ledge drops in the class four range, then before we knew it we were scouting another larger drop, which turned out to be the best rapid on the run.  It had an easy sliding lead in, followed by a moving pool, then it split and the right side was pretty manky, but the left side accelerated down a 15 yard long ramp into an 8 foot boof.

 The exit was a short slide, then I believe the creek went back to being pretty easy with some more wood and I know we portaged at least once here (no wood problems in 2017).

 We knew there was a 30 foot falls right above the normal put-in, so we where on the lookout for that.  Eventually we found it as the creek started to consolidate.  It is a weird place for a falls because it goes from gravel bars right into the falls.  We got out on the left and at first thought it was good to go, then we saw the boulder on the left that the majority of the falls pushes towards.  We felt it was probably runnable, just hard, with high consequences.

               We did a throw and go, which was fun.

Priscilla does the same on a return trip in 2017

The falls does go.  Adam Edwards takes the center boofing right line, following an inspiring probe by Whitney Butler on a return trip.  June 17, 2017

photo: Priscilla Macy

Brandon Lake

Then we scouted the next couple slides which were pretty fun. 

                             The second slide                      all photos by Matt King   
                     Then we where on the guidebook section.  The first drop was wood infested required a creative portage along a log to the center of the river (clean in 2017).  Be careful at this spot if you go in there with more water in the creek.  Next was a series of ledges before McCoy creek comes in.  Godzilla was benign at this flow, but is rumored to be rather hungry at higher levels.  There are a few more ledges and fun rapids when flows are good, then it peters out a bit before coming to the final rapid against the wall, which is run with the main flow.  Take a peak for logs if you are unsure about the wood situation.   Then it peters out for good and if flows are low it can be a bit tedious, its a nice place for a lunch break.  Somewhere in a short class two section I boofed right onto a piton rock which launched me onto my head causing the only roll of the day :/             

Eventually we came to the flood plain after what seemed a long time (it was low water) and then dealt with two more logs, one of which would be a portage at higher flows (in 2017 the only portage of the trip was a log just above the take out).  Finally we came to the bridge, satisfied with the adventure.  I hung around the take out while Matt and Layla from the Learning Center ran the shuttle.

Look for 2,000 cfs+ in the Cispus @ Randle.      

DIRECTIONS: From Randle, head South for 1 mile on 139 before veering left onto Cispus River Rd/NF-23.  8 Miles later turn right on Cispus River Rd towards the Learning Center.  You will quickly cross over the Cispus, and 1.3 miles after the turn you will cross Yellowjacket Creek at the take out.

Just passed the take out bridge (and on river left) turn upstream onto NF-28, continue upstream 7.4 miles.  The creek should be close by and a road blown out by a debris flow heads towards the creek and to a bridge at the put in. 


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