Monday, March 29, 2010

Sweet Creek debacle

Nate Pfiefer and Jason Rackely have better beta pages for this run.  I plan to update this page in the future.

People seem to get excited for this one when it's raining heavy.  That makes sense, but I prefer to catch this one a day or two after a big storm.  Those who head up there when levels are rising often find it is a whole different beast than at lower flows.

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? Little did we know that would become a real concern as the day progressed.
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 dropped 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.


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