Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Abiqua Creek

Steve and I spent some time driving through the woods on old logging roads last week before finally settling in on attempting Little Abiqua Creek when we weren't able to sort out the logistics for plan A.   The geology seemed favorable given the proximity to Silver falls, Butte Creek, and Abiqua falls and the gradient was respectable as well. Getting in was a challenge, but we ended up in a little Rock Quarry behind a neighborhood where we felt we were close enough to start bushwacking. The biggest obstacle was the first 100-200 vertical feet. It remains the steepest slope of soil I have carried a kayak down. Where Steve is hiking was the only "draw" in the soil face, and made for an interesting beginning to our hike. We made good time and came to an old road eventually, hiked upstream a quarter mile, then down to the creek.

Little Abiqua Creek from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.

Little Abiqua Creek is small. Fortunately we were able to make the first few hundred yards with no portages. Then I had a quick one that I was able to help Steve get over still in his boat, so until the first gorge Steve actually didn't have to portage. Below here was some bedrock and a small slide, then the double drop seen in the video.  We continued down to the next portage, this was followed by some bedrock that produced another small slide or two, then the run pretty much turned into what we expected from the beginning, a shallow boat beater with wood.

The funnest parts of the run consisted of unique wood dodging scenarios. We even got a workout in benchpressing ourselves under logs here and there.

I think we both enjoyed this for awhile, but eventually we just wanted to get off the creek. I know Steve returned the favor of helping me over a log in my boat at one point and there was one sketchy encounter with a log.  When we hit Abiqua creek, it felt like a big river, even though it couldn't have had more than 300 cfs in it. I don't know where we were on the normal Abiqua run, but there was one 4 foot ledge that had a hole on the right, and a good boof in the middle. We took out, and I made it back to class that evening. Even if that did involve me jogging through campus with my kayak on my shoulder to drop it off at the dorm.  Overall I would have to say I enjoyed the trip, and now I can stop wondering what is in there when I am sifting over the maps.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Opal Creek: Mine to Salmon Falls

Matt here, throwing up a post my darn self. Eric, Rick, Emile, and I went down to Opal last Sunday for some sunny day fun. Flows were around 1250. We put in at the mine and boated all the way down to salmon falls. From the mine down to big ugly was smooth sailing and everyone had good lines through that one. Next got to big fluffy and went for a scout. It didn't look good to me that day, so I promptly went back to grab my boat and set up photo/safety. Emile, who had only been in his boat twice in the last five years, decided to give it a go first, power to the man. He came off a little sideways trying to get middle and got surfed for a moment in the hole, but the fluffy didn't put him through much of a fight and he rolled up easily. Rick went next, trying also to get middle, but was able to correct right as he took off. He went pretty deep, but came out upright a paddled away with a smile.
Rick coming in hot
We continued on down to thor's, where I decided to go for the gut and did some kind of ender/pirouette move before flushing just fine. Everyone else went for the boof off the right ride of the ledge and got some pretty good air. Then came gorge time. The flow was higher than any time any of us had done the gorge, which had us a little worried about mystery. We ended up having a little pow-wow about it at the bottom of thor's before decided to commit and it turned out to be a great decision. We paddled in circles for a minute at the lip of mystery, but not too long cause it really racks your nerves. The left wall at mystery had a bit more of a pillow on it than usual (which was nice) but no hole to speak of. It looked like you could've gotten a huge boof off the middle rock too, but we all did the melt on the right.
The Big-UN (and you can't even see the 10 ft entrance drop)
The portage at the big-UN could get a little sketchy if the flows were much higher, but was totally fine at that flow. I've always done the left side portage, as the climb well above the rapid always sketched me out more than the nice shelf on the left. You are closer to the pile of frothing death, but the footing is really good and the portage is much shorter (shorter= less time out of your boat when bad things can happen). It should be noted that the gorge should not be run if it is raining or icy because the portage on either side would become very, very scary. I only go in there on nice sunny days.
Eric chooses life (the entrance to the big-UN is behind him)
After some general bantering about just how disgusting the drop is, we moved on downstream. None of us could exactly remember the line at henline, so we hopped out to scout, checking out the really nice falls that comes in on henline creek at the same time. The rapid was good to go, no wood, the undercut not much in play, sweet boofs on either side. Moving downstream, we portaged fish ladder falls, partly over a cool log bridge and started getting amped for salmon falls, the grande finale. Salmon falls is about 25 feet tall, with a tricky entrance that drops you basically right onto the lip. At lower flows, the only entrance is crack on the far left that isn't that nice (you can seal launch right in if you want too), but at the flows we had, a boof off the center rock opened up and was a lot cleaner than the crack. I probed, as is the often the case for the sake of photos, and had a fine line, but came up in the boils between the right and left sides and got surfed briefly. Emile went next, and had the same thing happen. €Then came Rick, who came off a little further left and had a nice tuck, which brought him up on the much friendlier left side of the boil.
Sequence of Rick with Eric watching
Eric was the last to fire it up, and he also had a great line, surfacing on the left side of the boil.
Eric dropping like its hot
All in all, a fantastic day on the river.

a video from past trip

Opal Creek 2009 from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

recent stuff

Here are some of the things we have been up to recently.

What we have been up to from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.

*very possibly not a first descent of the Silverton Speedway.

*Feel free to correct me if you have evidence supporting this.

-So the spillway is definitely not a first descent, check out the comments. Chuck Taylor ran this quit some time ago.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

old clips

Found some clips I haven't used on the blog before. Some a couple years old, some taken last week. Nothing too special, just not much to do in Monmouth on a Tuesday night.
This is my 101st post, so I thought it would be good to look a bit into the past.

Guide to the video.
-Box smashing with the car was in my 2006 PDXkayaker film fest entry. My neighbor got stuck with a whole bunch of boxes, so we had to make good use of this unique opportunity.
-Second was our trip to Flugtag in Portland. We got there a bit late, so all the good seats were taken. We made due by heading to the top of a building about a quarter mile away, hence the shotty camera work. Fun all the same though, entertaining for sure :)
-Next, back to the boxes. We had always wanted to snowboard off the roof, we had just imagined there would be snow... Nick had a scary fall, luckily clipping the front of the boxes, luckily not getting injured. It was interesting to look back at when I used to snowboard, but kayaking is just so much funner to me and it stopped being worth the cost to head up to the mountain.
-Next clip is my dad on the Sandy river during a scouting trip of one of the tiny tributaries near oxbow park. The creek was runnable, but not worth it as I had imagined. It did however have a cool 40 footer that unfortunately landed in a very small pool. Cool to look at however. We ended the trip with a long wait in the dark as the keys were left in the put in car. Quit the debacle for a class one trip :)
-Dan, Shane and I on a top secret scouting mission :) Though anyone who has been to this spot will undoubtedly recognize it.
-Rick Cooley and Dan lowering the raft into Sick and Wrong on Sweet Creek.
-I have been wanting to backflip off the ground for 5 years, this was the first day I ever did itwithout using the blue mat! (It took me 4 separate days to get it down, but 5 years to get over the mental block). Then Zach did some gymnast stuff, including a backflip of his own.
-Kyle Robinson, Jeff Ivie and Emerald Ressler on our Eagle Creek K-mart raft mission the summer before my senior year of high school.
-Then Eric Fostermore on Eagle Creek from this year.
-Eric Arlington running "Muddyboof falls" on the headwaters of the Yaquina river.
-Myself running Punchbowl for my first time senior year of high school.
-John Jansky with a corkscrew at the Clack fest '09
-Kyle and Jeff hitting the nine footer upstream of Punchbowl.
--Additional footage by Alex Hymel and Danah.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Panther Creek: First known raft descent

David Saquety and I had been talking all week about trying a first raft descent in the Columbia gorge. The night before came and it looked like it was going to be too low. I drove up to Portland with low expectations for the next day. Getting turned away at the door to view the Dream Result premiere for being too young didn't brighten my mood much either :(
I woke up the next morning and consulted with Dan about the day's plans. The run I was originally planning on was too low so we started looking at secondary options. About the time I decided what I wanted to do, I got a call from David, I don't know who mentioned it first but one of said "what do you think about Panther", which resulted in the other saying "yah, I was just about to ask you the same thing".  We picked up Laura Sol, which was interesting for me since I had heard her name only in stories from my dad who used to boat with her.  In all the thought that went into planning for the day, I forgot to call Steve until we were already in Stevenson, oops, sorry Steve. Luckily he was willing to rally and meet us at the put in.
Here are a few clips, all of Dan's boat.

After lots of dilly-dallying, We put in around 2. The first section to Rachel's went smooth. Steve was the only one to fire up the first two moves, after punching the stickier than it looked hole, we started scouting the third tier. It was here we realized this was going to be a long day. We were probably there for 30 min. We all fired up the third move (the slide) and continued downstream.
Things went fine until Dan's raft decided to run a rapid without any beta and got pinned, this resulted in a 20 minute or so rescue. Luckily everyone was fine and gear was not lost. Downstream in some boogie water, they got pinned again, resulting in a 45 minute rescue. We decided here that when we hit the Wind, we would hike out. The rest of the run went great, super fun river that was a fun level of challenge. We hit the wind and started cruising. I had only done this section at summer flows so didn't realize we would be moving so fast. By the time we hit Beyond limits we knew we were going to be paddling out and not having to hike. We made it to Shipperds and the portage started smoothly.
We had a plan for the portage, but with some confusion and the rope getting stuck, things got stressful in a hurry. As we were waiting to throw the rafts in, it got super dark. I decided not to do the jump because there were ropes in the water, so the hike along the cliff in the dark was the name of the game and proved to be interesting. We got down to the bottom to realize our ropes had gotten stuck on something and something had to be done about it. After some futile pulling, Dan came up with a plan. He would pull himself up the rope to the rafts against some very strong current, climb into the raft, and cut the rope that was stuck. His first try failed, as the current was just too strong. For the next try, we angled the rope closer to the cliff so he could use the wall. None of us really believed this would work, but Dan is highly trained in doing things everyone tells him won't work and was adamant that he could do it. While he was pulling himself up the rope, we had no contact and could not see him so it was an intense moment for all until we heard his yell as he made it to the raft. I might add he did this with a broken rib, I can't comprehend a lot of the things he does.

He then pulled himself into the other raft, and cut the rope, saving us from hiking out.
The paddle out in the dark was the scariest part of the day. We knew it was only class two but most of us had never run it at this level, and even in class two, big water tends to produce some big holes (7.5 on wind gauge). These are easy to avoid when you can see, but when you can only hear and see ghosts of white, it gets pretty scary. I hit a couple waves that were big enough to get my face wet. We stayed near the right shore, and just kind of guessed where the takeout was, we guessed right! We took out at 9 after 7 hours on the river, glad to have our boats with us. We said our goodbye's and headed home, excited to have completed another adventure.


wind= 7.5
panther= 300 cfs