Thursday, May 31, 2012

From the Great Salt Lake: Provo River Utah

My good friend Nick just sent me this trip report of a run down near Salt Lake City he has been talking about for a few years.  He finally got the chance to run the stream and it looks like it was a great trip!  Here is his account...

For the last three years I've been trying to get on one of Utah's only steep creeks and have be turned away by lack of water and road closures.  However, this May things finally lined up and I was able to throw together a trip.  The creek only runs for about one week a year and you need an average amount of snowfall on the year.  If its too high the snow melt happens too late and the creek turns into a monster.  Too low and the road won't be plowed before the creek turns into just a trickle.  

Although I have plenty of boats to borrow out here I only had one day notice that the trip was actually possible.  I took the best option I had; an IK rental from REI with no thigh straps or foot pegs.  I'm plenty familiar with IK's (look some of the archived footage from 2007 on this blog) but hadn't paddled one in two years.

The creek was a bit low at 700 cfs, I would have preferred around 900 but hey, beggars can't be choosers.  The run is only 1/2 mile and can be scouted in its entirety from a trail running along side it.  Thankfully my roommate wanted to check things out so he said he would take some media.  

The first 1/4 mile is all 3-5 ft drops similar to the one below.  I instantly realized that without thigh straps I would not be attempting the lower two drops, which both have very narrow lines.

After the warm up drop are three slides that provide a good warm up for the steeper drops.  I am in the middle of slides 1 & 2 below:

Three main drops make up the 50 feet of vertical drops that this run is known for.  The first is a 15-20 ft slide that ends directly above the main double drop.  At higher levels it would be almost impossible to eddy out above the main drop.

Since I was using a rental boat without thigh straps I chose to run the bottom half of the main drop.  The line for the upper part is to run river right, which worried me because the deposit I would lose on the IK if it were to tear was $500.  Needless to say the bottom tier was straightforward and I ran several laps to please the onlooking families.

Below are the two big drops below the double drop.  They both land in waist deep water.  The larger of the two has seen 3 broken backs in the past few years.

Overall it was a great trip.  It felt great to get back in the water and get some vertical in-even if it was as straight forward as they come.  If anyone reading this ever ventures to Utah in May I would highly recommend getting on this creek and checking out the surrounding areas.  In my opinion it is some of the most impressive country close to Salt Lake.

   ~Nick Hymel

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