Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wiki Creek #2

We set out into the Columbia gorge searching for some new stuff.  We got foiled by access to one, so settled on one I had scouted last summer.

Getting ready for the hike in.
 It involves a 1,000 ft descent (I'm not making this up) descent to the creek.  This took a lot of work and involved lowering the boats off a sixty foot waterfall at one point.
It was a pretty cool spot...

We arrived at a tributary, and put on.  We pulled ourselves downstream to a confluence and bashed down some more till we got to the first drop.  It was a nice 12 foot slide.
Dropping the first 12' slide
(photo Pete Giordano)
 Not far downstream the creek entered another tight gorge that had a long slide with some ledges in the slide.
Pete about to drop in.
 Around the corner was a tricky 6 foot drop that hit the right wall before going over another small ledge.  Nate and I both ran this one.  Downstream shortly was the best drop of the run.  It had a sweet sloping boof into a narrow crack before going over a 4 foot ledge.  Pete fired off a line I was a bit skeptical of until I saw him absolutely grease it.  Nate and I followed and it was a total blast.
Pete puts a little Spring in his step and flies into "Son of Steve"
(Photo: Nate Merrill)

  Below here the quality dropped off, but had some small slides and ledges with painfully water depleted boulder gardens separating them.  There is a 30' rock wall on the left at one point on a sharp right turn.  Just below here was another fun slide that went better than it looked. Below here were a couple more ledge drops, but mostly boulder gardens that did not have the water they needed.

Soon we entered the home stretch in the final gorge like section.  There were two separate short double drops through bedrock formations.  The second one signals the upcoming sketchy point.  The creek turns left and there is a small eddy on the right (not sure what this will look like at high flows).  Do not miss as the logs downstream are a death trap.  A quick portage puts you above Swimming Horse Falls, the final drop on the run.  A fantastic 15' drop that would have been better with more water and a soft landing.  Still fun.

I get on board with the final boof at Swimming Horse Falls.
(Photo: Nate Merrill)

  Below Swimming Horse we did a not so hard portage around a log jam before the last hundred feet of class two before the confluence with a much larger creek.  From here, it is a two mile I-II float down to a bridge and the take out.

We had painfully low water (EF Lewis at 1200), but this might be a nice creek to return to when all other runs have too much water. This would also make the flat section after the confluence go very quickly.  Watch out for wood though.


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