Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ohane/Roaring River attempt

This last week I was able to head North to the Mt Rainier area with Ryan Cole, Chris Arnold, and their friend Shawn (didn't catch last name, sorry). We were able to spend two days running the Ohanepecosh river from secret campground down to the Clear Fork confluence. The first day I loved the river, and by the second day, it had become one of my favorite runs. It is super clean for the most part with a plethora of great boofs and boulder drops.
Nothing mandatory was super challenging, but if you wanted to get your gnar on, their is definitely a couple drops that fit the bill, with one definitely being a class above the rest. Even the seal launch at the put in was awesome and a great way to start the day. Also, with no boring sections, I couldn't have asked for much more.
There were a couple portages. There are three, and they all kind of sneak up on you if you aren't scouting. The first is the log slide, you cannot see the log until you are directly above the ledge, and its not an easy place to get out at that point. If you haven't done the run before, be watching out for a slower section at the downstream end of secret campground where you are running a few hundred yards of class two. When you see a headwall downstream and a small horizon, get out on the left. Another is in what I have heard referred to as "Triple Drop" You will see some wood piled up, portage on the left. Below this a ways is a shallow drop with a small slide on the right that piles into a boulder. The next boulder garden has wood clogging the bottom. Make sure to catch an eddy on the left to scout, and probably portage. It looked like far left would have gone though.
The hole above the falls produced one flip, but this flip pushed the boater left and he was able to have the best boof of the day off the left side slot on the falls(noone else was able to make it left). At this level gutting the hole was the only way to make it left, but there was enough water to take the sneak route as well (~1000 cispus@randle). The final drop has changed noticeably. Definitely worth a scout now. We all ran the main line the first day, but the second day Chris and I decided to try the right side because it looked pretty fun. It was, but unfortunately Chris pitoned on a hidden protrusion in the first drop. If anyone tries this side, make sure you stick your nose on the right wall and keep it there as you slide down while keeping you bow up. The left side goes really well too, just don't get stuck in the hole dominating the center of the river.
Last week we tried running lower Roaring River, we never found the put-in even after three attempts. The upper would have still been accessible in the right vehicle, but that is probably no longer the case. The lower is probably even snowed in for awhile at this point. Here is the video.
~1000 Cispus at Randle
just over 2000 cowlitz at Randle

Monday, December 7, 2009

Slick Rock Creek

Photo by Nate Merrill
Nate, Matt and I ran Slick Rock Creek off highway 18 on the way to Lincoln city back when we had water a few weeks ago.  I had found the creek by chance last year and had wanted to go back to check out what was in there.  Strangely enough, you can drive right to the put-in for this creek on an old forgotten looking gravel road.  The take out we used was right under highway 18.  At the put in there are boulders on bedrock, and immediately enters a section with gorge walls.  We put in and were swept downstream quickly through many class four boulder gardens.  We boat scouted all the boulder gardens, so we didn't get many pictures except where Matt hopped out once.
(photo by Matt King)

Somewhere in here was an island with some bedrock.  We took the left and it was a fast slide ending in some mank, but the right side looked better with a slide and ledge.
       At one point I was in the lead and came across a steeper drop with bedrock on the sides of the walls.  I hopped out to look while Matt and Nate caught up and bashed through some devils club to see a nice double drop.   I signalled Matt through, and Nate went next off verbal beta, then I came down.    It was a nice break from the boulder gardens.

Myself in "Twist off"
(photo by Matt King)

Nate coming through the bottom hole in Twist Off.
(photo by Matt King)
Reason for the name from Matt- "cause it's sometimes nice to get a beer that you can crack easily, but them easy crackin' beers don't taste as good as others."  It also was sort of a twisty drop.
 Below here there were two spots we portaged for wood, and eventually the creek tapered off down to class II-III for the last quarter mile.  In this section Matt found a rope swing and tried it out, in the video it is obvious to tell it was created for low water use :)
            Before too long we passed a building with "park ranger" or something like that on the side.  I decided to hike out here because I was jogging the shuttle, according to a local the guy in this building is only there in the Spring.  Nate and Matt continued downstream and reported more class III and a surf wave on the way to the highway take-out.  
          The people in the area were very friendly and were interested to see kayakers.  I jogged back to the car, evaded our car alarm (Oakland the dog), and headed back to the highway within 5 min. of Nate and Matt arriving.  The video is not very indicative of the drops, as we have no footage of any rapids except the class III+ stuff at the put-in.   At high flows this run would be rockin'.  Really its a mini version of lower Roaring River.  It's about half the length, the shuttle is 5 min. instead of over an hour, no hike, and the wood situation is better.  Maybe a good way to warm up for Roaring River.
             level of the SF Yamhill should be around 2000, a boater could probably paddle all the way down to 1000, but I wouldn't recommend that. Not sure how high you could go safely.  We had about 1500 and there were a few F.U. rocks.  From Pat Welches site. we ran it 11/18  
A couple weeks ago Ben Sigler and Dan McCain fired up the put-in drop on Butte Creek Oregon.  There used to be wood in there but its good now.  The rafters cleaned up on "The Butte Crack", so I guess it goes.  Here is a video from these two trips.
And I forgot to credit it on the video, but the photos in the video are by Matt King

** Since we ran the creek, a gate has been installed along the access road.  This means a short hike is now required to reach the put in.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rafting the Little White

I didn't get to be there today, but Dan McCain and Ben Sigler from ORT ran the Little White today.  They had a great trip, and cleaned almost everything.  They chose not to run Stovepipe or Island, but they went for everything else.  Including a clean run of Spirit! 
 Check out this photo taken by Paul Thompson of
More photos from this trip will be on that site in the next week or so.  As well as video on Ryan Scott's website

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tumalo Creek

Put in drop was fun.  Then we were glad there was usually a trail along the creek as we portaged our way down to Tumalo Falls.

The most runnable action was gained from a short side hike up the Middle Fork of Tumalo Creek.

The run would be exceptional without wood, but wood there is.