Thursday, September 30, 2010

Urban Creeking 4.0: Lake Oswego Creek

all photos: Matt King

About 5 years ago I was attending a funeral with my family in Portland. I was still an Ik'er but the bridge we drove over was ultra intriguing even then. I guess it was a precurser of things to come, but just HAD to find out what was in that creek. I didn't have the map skills at the time to figure out what creek it was, so I just took a mental image and stayed up imagining what was flowing along under that bridge.
Then earlier this summer I am driving through Portland for some reason and drive over... the same bridge!  I must have stored that piece of long term memory in the correct spot in my brain.  I was excited to fulfill my desires to know what was flowing below this bridge in the middle of Portland, but my hopes were not nearly as high as they were years ago. I parked in a no parking zone and hopped out to take a look. I saw... bedrock! Not what I was expecting. Anyway, I drove around some more and saw some wood, but the first drop looked worth the effort to me, so I did some research and found out my mystery creek was Oswego creek. I tried to find when they did releases, but this project fell on the wayside as more promising creeks emerged.

----------- Fastforward to last weekend.
----------- "........sound of water rushing..........Hey Jacob, its Matt. Thats the sound of Oswego creek dropping over a 30 foot slide in downtown Lake Oswego. Give me a call back, we should dawn patrol this one...." or something like that. It was one of those moments where I realized what I like about being a kayaker.

I like kayaking. Look at that smile!
I called back and he informed me he came across the creek after riding his bike to pick up a ladder, how some things happen.
The drive home from Bend was brutal and I almost fell asleep a few times, I even think I had a dream or two... However, the thought of the mission kept me going and motivated to make it to Portland that night where Nate, Matt and I awaited the mornings events. I was up as soon as I heard footsteps in the hall. Gametime!
We skipped breakfast (saved for later I should say, thanks Caitlin!) and loaded up. We were in high spirits and showed up at the put in bridge to see... other kayakers!

After we were informed of the protocal for the day (dont be on river right due to landowner issues), we went to the put in and did some scouting before dropping this awesome 30 foot slide! So much fun.
I gave a couple whistle blasts to let the police know we were there to ensure some excitement, then Matt and Nate dropped down Blue angel style. Matt's paddle got caught in some rocks and he almost lost it while flipping, but kept it upright and retrieved his paddle. We then all hiked up for round two as the LOPD showed up with an unhappy landlady. I like to think they heard me whistling to them from the police station, but something tells me the 6 or 7 brightly clad kayakers shlepping around in the ladies backyard may have had something to do with their arrival :)

Nate and I Blue angel the slide for round two
Matt, Nate and I had an escape plan already so just took off downstream (loggy creeks with multiple portages make for slow get-aways though) and into the Willamette. The other group got to talk to the cops, but we weren't doing anything illegal so they were able to go for a few more laps and the police made for some interesting media.

From left to right; angry landlady, police officer, Chuck Taylor, Bryon Dorr, Ryan Scott

Nate making his escape through the runout
We paddled a quarter mile to a boat ramp, geared down, and hiked our boats a quarter mile down neighborhood roads to Matt's house where we were treated to a breakfast suited for knights. The best dawn patrol mission I have ever been on by far. Pretty much a perfect day of kayaking for me. Matt and Nate had more in mind so hit the truss, and Matt got, if I remember right, his first no portage descent of the Truss.
Put in-outlet for Lake Oswego
Take out-Matt King's house.
total length-1.5 miles.
first documented decent-Sept 25, 2010 by Luke Spensor and crew.
This creek only runs once every five years in order for the city to clean sewage pipes beneath the lake surface. I think today may have been the last day, but its worth a look on the way home from work...

A job well done

All photos: Matt King

Bend Trip: meadowcamp, triple crown and booty beer ammendment

all photos: Nate Merrill
Headed over to Bend to knock off a few sections during low water in the Willamette valley. Deschutes was at 1200 cfs which was a sweet level. Started at Lava falls and continued through Lava falls. It was a pretty eventfull trip in which the Triple crown was completed in a raft for what may have been the second time. We also had a serious beatdown in Barry's Backender(Lava 2) in which I missed a throwbag toss that was not a good time to do that. Luckily Nate stepped up and was able to connect before the swimmer was taken into a log. That sat really badly with me so I tried to redeem my karma with my first legal booty beer. Obviously the best way to fix this would be to go practice throw-bagging, so I think I will do this, but I think this is a good addition to the booty beer rule. Miss a throw or drop the ball in a safety situation=booty beer. I plan to train to the point where this is never a concern again, so hopefully I get the chance to forget that rule. I'm sorry again to the swimmer, and thanks Nate for doing what had to be done.
The rest of the trip was great as we headed through what must be one of the best backyard runs in Oregon, the Meadowcamp run into Bend. Lots and lots of read and run IV-IV+. Highlights included the entire run. A couple of boulder gardens near the end warranted a scout and one required a short walk. Super fun run even at ~500 cfs.
Myself running the most dynamic drop on Meadowcamp
Anna in the lower half of "Darnit"
The water coming from the pipe had us worried, it was not as big an issue as we anticipated though.
Jeff Compton and Dan Mccain stepped up to the Triple crown running Lava, Dillon, and Benham all in one day with absolutely phenomenal lines. They also ran Dillon strictly off verbal beta as neither had seen pictures and light was waning. I sent them off the center left, which they greased. Benham was beyond smooth. I think Dan only took 7 strokes in the whole rapid because they were on line so perfectly. Lava was not the monster we were expecting and everyone had stellar lines.
Dan and Jeff on their way to completing the Triple Crown.
Lava Falls
All Photos: Nate Merrill
When the water disappears west of the Cascades, head to Bend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

End of guiding season

Recently finished up guiding season. It was a fun one with lots of trips, thanks Pete!
Now its September and I am trying to figure out what to do with myself until school starts. With no water and everyone gone, Iv'e been scoping out some exploratory stuff, as well as planning for potentially the largest mission Iv'e ever been on. We will see if that one happens.
In the mean time, Iv'e found some good stuff to boat, so check back here once the rain starts as I hope to start knocking some of them off the list.
Also, if anyone is looking to acquire a Liquid Logic Jefe for lets say $535.00 let me know. I have come to the realization that I may fair better with a longer boat given how tall I am.
You get the Blue one with the Bad Ass Outfitting.
Its done some good things for me.
Some shots from guiding season.
Janus the wonder custy from a martian planet.
(all photos courtesy of Adam Smith from Blue Sky Rafting)
The double jump at the narrows (with cool headcam footage from Janus)
Texas Longhorns! They don't look like they are from Houston to me
Rock and Roll!
(all photos Courtesy of Adam Smith of Blue Sky Rafting)
buy the boat :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Secret Stash

Photos: Nick Hymel

Nick, Alex and I took a trip into the hills looking for a low water adventure. Armed with wetsuits and tubes, we set out to explore the ""secret stash". Discovered by an older generation of boaters, they kept this slice of whitewater in obscurity. One can only imagine why, maybe they wanted to have somewhere to go only they knew of, maybe they wanted to make sure the access stayed open, I like to think they left it so others could explore it and figure it out for themselves. It was a bit of a drive from Gresham, luckily the gates were all open and we drove straight to the take out bridge. This is what we found:

15 foot ramp to 30 foot free-fall was my estimate after looking from base and lip.

Tubing in the crux section, upstream of the falls.

Alex, between a rock and a soft place.

The entrance falls into the crux section. A possible line exists right where Alex is, not very confident it actually goes though.

Portaging not feasible on river-left, maybe on the right?
all photos by Nick Hymel.

Alex finished the day with a solid showing on the tube. Running every tube-able drop plus some...