Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Copper Creek


Stream: Copper Creek has two section, an upper and a lower.  The lower gets done more often, as it has more picturesque drops.  I like the upper just as much since it is action packed read and run the whole way, with a couple notable drops near the beginning.  The roads into Copper can be driven by most vehicles, but something with clearance is definitely preferred, especially for the upper.

      Upper:  Upper Copper Creek starts at a foot bridge, Andrew Bradley have hiked upstream to where the creek forks and paddle down from there.  It's not bad, but also not interesting enough that I
Flows:  You can run the lower section as low as 1,000 cfs on the EF Lewis sometimes.  Sometimes that is too low, and there really isn't a way to tell the level without driving up there.  1,500-2,000 cfs will always be in.  People sometimes complain about how the stuff between the named drops can be rocky, but at the flows needed to pad the in-between, the named stuff is class V.  If class V sounds great to you, look for 2k+ on the EF Lewis gauge.  The upper section does not paddle well at low water.

Access:  A flows are low-ish and you are just running the lower, I prefer taking out at the Dole Valley Road Bridge.  If flows are up I would probably choose to skip the secret stash and take out at King Creek.

Original Write-up

After getting foiled by high water on Eagle Creek, we ran Copper Creek again.  It has become our go to creek.  We had a decent flow with 1500 on the EF Lewis and rising.  This was a great level, felt pretty full for the creek.  Once again we used the upper put-in for the run.  This is definitely the best choice in my mind.  The Upper has a couple solid drops, and a lot of really fun boogey stuff.  Matt was the only one who ran the Weir this day,  it had a tree limb in the center that he avoided, but everyone else decided it wasn't worth the trouble.  He missed the log, punched the hole, and paddled away upright.
Matt on the Weir.
(photo by Nate Merrill)
From here to the lower bridge was fun read and run class IV.  No real wood issues in this section.  Once below the bridge, you will run a narrow ledge on the right, then eddy out immediately on the right to portage Certain Death.  If you want to run it I guess you could go a bit lower, but we all knew we weren't going to run it before we got there.  Then find somewhere to seal launch.  There was a log in the water , but Matt fixed it so it isn't much of an issue anymore.  Below here, the really clean class four continues for awhile.  Eventually it tapers off, before too long you come to Triple delight, one of the sweetest drops in the area.  It starts with a two foot ledge that you want to run leftish, because the right side funnels strongly into the slot on the right that is hard to stay upright through.  I took Matt over blind his first time, and I just said make you are left, left, left.  In the second(crux drop) Two of us hit the boof on the left, one hit the boof pretty far right, and one of us got sucked into the slot, resulting in a pretty interesting line down the rest of the drop!

Here is Eric Foster-moore dropping the final drop in Triple delight.
(photo by Nate Merrill)
Below here were a few more bedrock drops, some fun slides, ledges, and flumes, all with good sized holes at this level.  One sent Eric airborn!  He was able to pull off a catlike move to keep it upright though.  This section was lots of fun and before too long we rolled into the eddy above Final Five.  After taking a look at the headwall drop, I decided I wasn't in the mood and joined Nate, and eventually Eric in the portage.  This left only Matt, who decided to fire off the entire canyon.  To complicate things, the landowner was firing off gun shots.  Not sure whether he knew we were there, we kept a low profile and seal launched in above the final double drop to keep out of his land, but the gunshots were still a little unnerving given the problems that have arisen here in the past.  Matt didn't let the nerves get to him and fired off the entire series, with a roll in the third drop against the undercut wall in the left eddy.  Then finished off the series with an awesome line in the final double drop.  
Matt attacking the headwall.
(photo by Nate Merrill)

Matt in the Canyon above the final double drop.
(Photo: Nate Merrill)

Myself seal launching below the headwall drop.
(photo by Matt King)
After the seal launch, Eric and I decided to take the easy line and ran the final double drop left, left.
Eric driving left at the first ledge of the Final Drop in Final Five Canyon.
(photo by Matt King) 
Myself ducking some branches while getting where I want to go in final drop
  (photo by Matt King)
 I might add that the bottom hole on the right side of the final drop was looking like it could do some serious damage, so consideration of that would be wise.  
    Below here we joined the EF Lewis, which was really fun at this level.  We cruised down to Horshoe falls and scouted to find the funnest line.  We decided to do the triple bounce on the left and it was actually pretty exciting!  We all went deep into the airated landing. 
Below here was uneventful, and we finished the run happy with another great run on Copper Creek!

Monday, November 16, 2009

North Fork Lewis

After being snowed out of another run, we decided to do the Waterfall run on the N. fork Lewis (not to be confused with the waterfall run on the East Fork Lewis).  We decided not to deal with trying to portage the nasty drop in upper falls.  We decided to do a throw and go instead!  We all had a good run and jump.  There were no takers for Lower falls, but Matt's girlfriend Caitlin took some really cool photos (and did a great job running shuttle for us the last couple trips, thanks!).
Matt drops Taitnapum falls.
Matt about to hit off the 60-70 ft jump
Josh decided to climb down to take a closer look at the bottom.
That was actually him after he jumped.  He didn't get out very far and landed in the veil of the 35 footer and got stuck in the hole for a bit.  Then worked his way along the wall below the drop.  After seeing this, I decided I needed a bigger jump and cleared out farther, without any problems.
myself nearing impact.
We then boat scouted middle falls and took out just above Lower.  I have become increasingly uncomfortable about drops over 30.  I need to practice my tuck.

Hagen Gorge

all photos by Matt King
Got some cool shots of our Trips to the N fork Lewis and Hagen Gorge from Matt King.
        Ran Hagen with 1600 or so and rising in the EF Lewis.  Usually you want 2000 at least, we definitely felt our low level, but it was good to go.  If I went back at that level I would use the old broken down road right before the clearcut that spurs off to the left and put in right below the logjam.  I am pretty confident this will be the case because it makes sense that there would be a road for when they built the dam.  I was tempted to try it out last time, but we went all the way up and had a portage right at the put-in that Matt punched through(wood) then we bashed our boats down to the log dam.  Let me know if you try out that road.
 I believe this is it.  view in satellite form to see road.
   We didn't get out of our boats between the log dam and Euphoria falls as usual.  I love this creek for this reason.  Just flying down the creek is a great day of boating.  Matt's shots of Nate and I at Euphoria are pretty cool.  He got a good angle that really makes the drop look steep.
Nate at the top of Euphoria. 
Myself halfway down the first tier.
Nate exiting the first tier, heading into the lower drop with the log.
The log was not an issue as usual as long as you were in control.  You could go under it if you had to and if you were so far left you got stuck between ground and log rescue was as easy as it gets.  Luckily none of us had problems and we bombed down to Teakettle.  We did see another group there, that was interesting coming around the corner above Euphoria and seeing the bright colors in the scouting eddy!  We were not expecting anyone else with the low water.
Teakettle looked good so besides some mixed up beta from me to Nate, everything went well.  Even with the misguidance we all stayed upright and headed down to the crack drop.
Myself a half boat width farther right than I wanted.  
Nate keeping it upright.
Below here is a narrow little drop that looks like it has a boof on the right, but it is actually pretty ugly.  I have ended up in the pocket below on the left twice.  This day, one of us didn't make the sneak route on the right and injured his arm in a brace, he was ok by the next day, but watch out for this sneaker between Teakettle and Crack drop.  If there is enough water, far far right, almost drying out has been our line of choice the last couple of times and produced successful runs.
   We all decided to portage the crack drop, as it looked a lot more hectic today.  So I guess I will retract my statement from the last time I ran Hagen that anyone with a roll can run the drop.  At the levels we had, it looked like getting your head slammed into a rock was a very likely outcome. 
Going deep in the crack drop from last year.
 From here to the takeout was fun with some good quality class III-IV drops.  We took out and checked out money drop, but there was a bit too much water for those who were considering it.  All in all a great day after a long day on Upper Opal creek the day before when we decided to portage Harvey Wallbanger.  All I will say about that trip is if you are going to run Upper Opal, watch out for this committing drop.  Its hard to scout and the hole below looks like it has some wood in it.  You might be able to eddy out and portage just above, but we decided not to risk it.  We portaged on the right and it sucked.  Not the worst, but pretty bad.  (all photos by Matt King)