Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sweet Creek Video

Here is the video from Rick and my second lap of the day on Sweet Creek taken by some hikers who sent me the footage.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sweet Creek

Photo: Priscilla Macy

1 mi (1/4 mi)

Stream: A short, highly entertaining section of trail-side whitewater near Mapleton, OR.  A coast town about an hour West of Eugene.  If the water is low, hike up from the lower parking lot.  The trail becomes suspended along a cliff at the steepest part of the run.  Put in as soon as its easy to return to the creek after the suspended part, you will be able to scout all the rapids on the hike up.

If levels are not low, I like to put in up at Sick and Wrong and slide down from there.  Then carry back up for the crux a few times.

Photo: Richie Slocum

The lines are pretty obvious, with the crux move being documented here.  To avoid that situation I try to make sure I am left of that crack with a touch of left angle.  

The main attraction at Sweet Creek is the segment of whitewater seen in this photo.
Paddler: Nate Warren                                                                  Photo: Aaron Zettler-mann

The first lap can be over-stimulating if you are stepping up to this run as everything connects together, but mentally things slow down once you have a lap under your belt.

Below the crux section are three more fun drops, all scoutable on the hike up.  The middle one looks like it has a dubious landing, but if you are in the right spot with a 45 degree angle you will hit nothing but water.  If there is enough water you can slide down the left side.

Sweet Creek is often combined with the Lake Creek Slides, as shown in the video below.
Both are short/lappable and on the way if you are coming from the Willamette Valley.

Sweet Creek footage starts at 1:30

Birthday Boating with Kory Kellum from Priscilla Macy on Vimeo.

Flows:  Look for the Siuslaw Gauge to be between 8-9.5' a day or two after a big rain for medium flows.  You can scrape down to 7.5', and it has been run much higher.  Locals like to look for a 2' spike on that same gauge a day or two before your trip. Access:  From Mapleton, cross over to the East side (river left of the Siuslaw) on the bridge in town and head South (downstream) on Sweet Creek Rd.  In 4.6 miles you will cross over Sweet Creek, stay left on Sweet Creek road and in 6.5 miles past the bridge turn right into the Sweet Creek parking lot. If you want to put in at Sick and Wrong for a shorter hike and more small slides continue driving upstream about 1 more mile to the upper parking lot and follow the trail down to the creek. Notes:  People who are not in the know tend to get excited for this one when it's raining heavy and the gauge is rising only to drive there and find out it is a whole different beast than when levels are dropping.  I understand the excitement, but it is a flawed approach.  Be patient and stick to the conditions outlined in the "Flows" section to get in right.
Original Write-up ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nate Pfiefer and Jason Rackely have good beta pages for this run. For such a short, easily accessible, none committing run, I have sure heard a lot of stories about carnage and beatdowns. Now I have my own story to add to the list.
Dan and I picked up Rick Cooley around 11:30, kinda late, but who worries about daylight on a five minute run?
We took 126 through Veneta instead of going by lake creek, which saved us some time.
We arrived and saw a couple guys in playboats getting ready to go. We heard later one had a skirt implosion that lead to a swim, otherwise they had a good run.
We helped Dan strap the raft to the dolly, then hiked up to the put-in. We stopped in an eddy below the first drop, then pealed out for 45 seconds of some of the most exhilarating boating in Oregon.  Not all that frightening, just good clean, fast paced fun.   Only thing I have run in the same category is Henline, but this was a close second. The main section is followed by three unique, fun drops.
We had such a good run we decided to do it again! (as I'm sure most people do).
We got to the top of the gorge again just as Dan was getting up there with his raft. We encouraged him to put in here, but he had high hopes of running Sick and Wrong. We did our second lap, it went exactly the same, except I missed my boof on the third drop of the triple drop and had some trouble rolling in the aerated, turbulent water. I got into some greener water just as the thought of pulling entered my mind. I got up, slid through a hole backwards, then watched as Rick cleaned up on the drop. We slid down the final three ledges with some hikers getting footage.
We then headed up to find Dan, he was pretty pissed at this point as many of the hikers had warned us on the way up :) I guess hauling a raft on a dolly is just as awful as the last time he did it. Good thing we have short memories. He did impress us by hauling it all the way to the top of Sick and Wrong by himself. We helped haul gear up there, blew up the raft, discovered a hole in the floor, roped raft off the edge, sent Dan down, hiked down for video and safety, waited, waited...waited...waited. After about forty minutes, Rick came down to let me know Dan could not run the drop because the current coming from Sweet creek falls was too powerful and kept rejecting him. He had to throw the raft off and I unpinned it from the mess below the falls. Then Rick headed down to his boat and Dan and I were left with running about a half mile of mank, followed by Sweet creek gorge as it was getting dark.  After all that, it turns out there is a short hike in to Sick and Wrong from a different parking area.
With the floor popped, our knees took a beating. Amazingly, we did the whole run in about 20 minutes with no swims or pins. We got dressed in the dark and then were on our way back home.
Level was 9.2 ft on the Lake Creek Gauge and dropping. A medium flow.
One more Lake Creek/Sweet Creek combo video from Emile Elliott

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bull Run


1.5 miles

Stream: A short, but high quality class III run that flows into the Sandy River at Dodge Park.  The normal section has a handful of quality class III rapids, and is a great place to work on skill development by catching eddies and learning to use currents to your advantage.  The rock is conglomerate, and for the entire run paddlers are in a lush setting with steep, broken walls.

There is even a slalom course in the first rapid.  I once spent a morning following Steve Cameron around the slalom course, and found I had noticeably improved my boat control by the end of the day.  I was surprised to find that at the level we were there, it was possible to attain all the way up the rapid.

 The put in area is owned by PGE, and they have historically allowed access to the river.  Over the years people (not kayakers) have shown less and less respect for the place as shown by the left-behind trash and as a result there are now "no-trespassing" signs up.  Though kayakers are still allowed to use the access point, thank you PGE.

The last notable rapid is Swing-set, named for the cable high across the river here.  This rapid changes a lot with water level, but is most notable for the large waves it develops when levels are up.

Downstream of Swing-set it's easy floating down to Dodge Park, with the opportunity for skill building still available.

Upstream of the put in the river maintains it's classic character with miles of class III-IV and China Shop (a portage-able class V) set in a stunning conglomerate gorge all the way up to the outflow of Reservoir 1 (45.445303, -122.158096).  However that section is off-limits with heavy consequences for disregarding the closure.

Flows:  The river has been run as low as 50 cfs, and as high as 10,000 cfs.  Here is a story from a raft trip at 6,300 cfs.  Most people shoot for 300-1,500 cfs for a III-III+ experience. 2,000-4,000 is fun class IV.

Access:  Take out at Dodge Park(45.4447, -122.2487), about 3.5 miles north of the town of Sandy, OR.  North on Bluff Rd for 3.2 miles, right onto Hudson for 1.1 miles, then right onto Lusted Rd for 1.3 miles.  Just after crossing the Sandy River, turn left into Dodge Park.  The Bull Run is at the back of the park, and is where you want to park vehicles.  The stream with the bridge over it is the Sandy River.

To get to the put in (45.4281, -122.2326), coming out of Dodge Park turn left onto Lusted Rd for 1.8 miles and turn left onto Ten Eyck Rd.  Follow for 0.8 before turning left down onto Bull Run Rd, which leads down to the put in bridge in 0.6 miles.  Just before the bridge turn left into the PGE parking area, and take one of the steep trails down to the river.  Note the access concern mentioned below.


 The Bull Run has a special place in my heart, I grew up ten minutes from dodge park, and made the transition from only boating in a raft with occasional IK time on multiday trips once or twice a year to seeking out day-trips kayaking in the Sandy drainage (the Bull Run flows into the Sandy).
The first "hardshell only" trip I ever did was with my dad on the Bull Run when I was 13. My dad had acquired an RPM Max and borrowed a Redline for me. We decided to try the Bull Run River at a flow of 56 cfs.  My only time in a hardshell had been on the last half hour of the Main Salmon in Idaho.  And my dad had spent most of his time in either a raft or inflatable kayak.  Given that combination of experience, I don't think either of us had ever even hit a rock with a hardshell before.

There was no one there to tell us how bad of a time we should be having at a flow that low, so we had a blast route finding and pulling ourselves from channel to channel.
Swing-set channelized at this flow and was the first "creeky rapid" I had scouted and ran.  This was the day that got me hooked on kayaking.

I went on to have many more runs on the Bull Run, and some firsts including my first flip (resulting in my first swim), then my first combat roll.  My first high water runs were on the Sandy and Bull Run, as well as my first trips without my dad, just the Hymels and I.  We also did a couple exploratory descents on a tributary of the Bull Run, including one I did my senior project on.  There is plenty of nostalgia for me when I go back to the Bull Run.

My dad running the first part of Swing-set at 700 cfs, a good first time class III level.

Soaking it in below Swing-set.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Rafting Money Drop

Dan ran it. March 14, 2010.

(Photo by Matt King)
Fun tidbit, Ben Stookesberry and another guy landed a seventy footer during No Big Names in a raft.

Rock Creek

The day before Dan ran Money Drop, Matt and the Corvallis crew ran the regular section on Rock Creek. I was planning on joining but ended up getting sick. Anyway, Matt took some cool shots at Heaven and Hell, so I thought I would throw those up.
Rick Cooley running the Drop above Heaven and Hell
(a really awesome drop I might add).

Rick hauling down the waterslide next to Heaven and Hell.

Josh Grabel shoes the speed you have when you hit take flight.

The wood is still there in Heaven and Hell, if anyone wanted to make it so this is no longer the case, I am sure it would be greatly appreciated by many :)
This run is a good option when you get rain, but then the runs start to drop out and you don't know what to run cause you don't think you can take the EF Lewis one more time, but Truss and Little White are higher than you want. Then its time to head to good old Rock creek which has a large drainage than Copper or NF Washougal, so it stays in a bit longer. At the levels I am talking about (around 1000 on EF Lewis), Heaven and Hell are manageable drops and the run in general is low commitment, making for a pleasant day with some really cool features.
Thanks Matt for the pictures. Back to studying for finals for me...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Before/between/after class paddles at WOU

Following is a list of after/between-class runs I utilized while attending school at Western Oregon University.

-Little Luckiamute (Camp Tapawingo to Falls City Falls)  Mostly II-III with one or two class IVs that get rowdy at high flows.  There is an odd braided island at the beginning of the gradient.  The channels change regularly at this islandy part, sometimes they go, sometimes not.

-Luckiamute  (About 12 miles upstream of Valley of the Kings) The first mile is pretty action packed III-IV depending on the flow.  The first mile is the best, followed by some easy floating.  There is also a nice ledge rapid just above one of the take outs that has an anthropogenic channel cut around it, presumably for the fish.

-Rickreall Creek. (Starting 1 mile above no trespassing sign on Martin road into the park in Dallas Oregon)  One class III-IV rapid and some interesting II-III.  A fair bit of bedrock for such a low gradient run, word is all the logs they used to send down the creek when that was standard logging operation practice scoured the creek to it's base.

All of these are mediocre runs with wood present (typically none to one portages), but i have enjoyed them all none the less, and none were too much work to keep from returning often (while I lived close by).  While two of those runs do make it into the back of guidebooks, the info is limited so you get the joy of figuring out the nuances for yourself.

Last week my roommates joined me on one of my adventures to Rickreall creek to film and see what kayaking is. I also needed to tune-up a few things for the little White, not sure if this creek really provided the best opportunity for that but it's what was available after class.

This is a short clip of me trying to have as much fun as possible on a class 2 creek.

There is a sign in the video that clearly states no trespassing. I have talked with the city of Dallas and they allow hikers, bikers, hiking kayakers, etc. up this road, just no vehicles except during the month of November.

Rickreall Creek Oregon from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.
*mob rules is actually by black Sabbath, not the doors.


Little White Mar 7, 2010

Ryan Scott lead Matt King, Steve Cameron and myself down the Little White today. Super fun, and Ryan was a great leader. Glad to get my first Little White run of the season. There is new-ish wood in S-turn this year. There is now wood in the top drop. Still very runnable. The godfather of the Little White ran it, the rest of us walked. Definitely worth a scout if you haven't seen the wood yet. Other than that it seems the same as last year. -------------------------------------------------------------- We ran the left side at enchanted forest for my first time, if you haven't done it before, I recommend trying it at levels over 3 ft as it is very fun. Also did the right side portage of Spirit, which made for a view of the falls I hadn't seen before. ------------------------------------------------ Really a spectacular run. Too much good stuff to talk about. ------------------------------------------------- Level was 3.3 or a touch under. --------------------------------------- -Jacob

Monday, March 1, 2010

White Salmon: Lower Sections

Richie Slocum gives Rattlesnake a go



Lower White Salmon

 This run starts out in the town of Husum, and can begin either above or below Husum Falls.  Below the two bridges in town is a flat pool where those not interested in the waterfall can put in.  Immediately downstream is Rattlesnake, the first and most notable rapid on the Lower section.  Below Rattlesnake are a string of nice rapids of the class II-II+ variety before things off for awhile, keep an eye out for a castle-esque building on river left.  There is also a nice surf wave called the Cave Wave that is green, extremely friendly and with eddy access.  This also makes a nice spot for a lunch break.  Things ease off below here and gravels bars continue through the area where the old reservoir used to be, with houses lining the right bank.  A bridge here marks the optional take out for those just running the Lower section.

Lower, Lower aka Bottom White Salmon

I have only continued downstream of the bridge late in the Summer, so this description is for flows under 3'.  I have heard the area around Steelhead Falls becomes challenging as the flows increase, but am not familiar enough with those flows to endorse doing this run over 3' or so. 

Downstream of the bridge, rapids are fairly continuous class II+ and maybe some areas that dictate class III skills.  The stream moves along through the portion of the stream that used to be under Northwestern Lake Reservoir.  The rapids stay pretty easy as conglomerate walls start to rise up on either side as the stream approaches the historic Condit Dam site.  Below here the scenic value goes up quite a bit.

Before they removed the dam.

Photo: Shane Conrad

Scenic floating and rapids of a similar difficulty, but different style than those found above the dam continue for awhile, ending in the crux of the run.  The crux can be a bit challenging to describe, but if you are not with people who know the run you can still figure it out.  The crux move is catching an eddy above Steelhead on the left.  Just above this eddy the river makes a sharp turn to the left, then quickly a sharp turn back to the right and enters what is the largest rapid below where the dam used to be thus far (class III), downstream the canyon walls are tall and before the river settles down it turns to the left and out of site.  It is important your first time down not to go around this corner, and error on the side of eddying out too early as the closer you get to this corner the smaller and more challenging the eddies are to catch.

After beaching on the left, walk down the bank to take a scout of Steelhead.  If flows are not low, you may be wading through the river, ropes have been installed to help with this.  Steelhead is about a 5' pour-over ledge into a sticky hole, and is a large step up from the rest of the run.  It has been run successfully numerous times both left and right, avoid the middle.  As levels increase, so does the challenge and consequence of this rapid.  I have not done this section above 3', but hear as the water increases, this area gets challenging to navigate both for people running the rapid and those wishing to portage.

The stretch just below Steelhead is beautiful.

750 cfs on the Underwood gauge, a great flow for the Bottom White Salmon.

Sept 24, 2017

Paddler:  Nick Hymel                                          Photo: Priscilla Macy

More class II and one stretch that could be deemed class III continue downstream until the river becomes backed up by the Columbia.  If you are coming from upstream it can be satisfying to paddle under the bridge and into the Columbia before returning to the take out.

Flows:  There is a foot gauge in Husum, monitored by a local who reports regularly to This Facebook Page.   Summer flows are between 1.5'-3.5', it starts to get a bit trashy below  2'.  In the summer  you can ballpark flows by dividing the White Salmon @ Underwood gauge by 400 to get the level on the stick.

This  section never gets too low to have a good time on, but the area around Steelhead does get challenging to navigate as flows increase.  I urge caution if you plan to continue through the Lower, Lower and flows are over 4' unless you can get beta from someone who knows the run well.

Access:  Take out on river left at the mouth of the White Salmon River at the intersection of Hwy 141 and Hwy 14.  

An access point between the Lower and Lower, Lower/Bottom exists.  To get there turn left 4.1 miles upstream of Hwy 14 onto Northwestern Lake Rd, drive down and cross the bridge.  Then turn left into the park.

The put in is 6.4 miles upstream of Hwy 14 in Husum (or 2.2 miles upstream of the Northwestern Lake Rd/Hwy 141 intersection) along Hwy 141, where parking is abundant.

Notes:  Before the dam was removed, Steelhead at the de-watered flow was 5-10' tall and a nice vertical boof.   A couple hundred yards downstream a logjam full of trash stretched wall to wall, the portage was done by walking straight over the wood and said trash.  Downstream another 1/4 mile was a powerhouse that returned much of the diverted water to the stream.  From a couple hundred cfs to 1,000 or more the stream would go in an instant.  Downstream were a couple fun rapids, the last of which was what some considered the best rapid downstream of BZ corner.  It was a series of pushy hydraulics and waves, class III+ in nature.  When the dam was breached, the surge of water deposited a lot of sediment in the location of this rapid and it no longer exists, a small price to pay for a free-flowing White Salmon.