Thursday, October 25, 2012

Might as Well

The week after school got out I headed up to the Lewis River to camp with my family.  My sister's boyfriend was there and was talking a lot about how he wanted to try out kayaking.  I happened to have my boat and an IK in the back of my car so offered to take him from the pool below Upper Falls to the pool above Lower falls.

 Ready for John's first kayaking trip.

Most of this section is pretty tame class II with some III.  However, right in the middle of this section is a chunk of bedrock called Middle Falls.  This drop is incredibly easy, but does drop close to 30' over a long slide.  He was game, so I taught him some basics within the put-in pool and soon enough we could see the steam shooting up from middle falls.  I told John to follow right behind me and keep the boat straight and all would be good.  He followed me right over the intimidating horizon line and greased the slide.  The fire in his eyes hinted that this would not be his last time in a kayak.  I let him lead the rest of the trip, learning to read the water and play around.

I love that rivers can offer so much.  Even a class III river can be as stimulating as class V if adventure is present.  I still think of the Lewis River as one of my favorite rivers, whether it's sailing off lower falls, repelling into the pothole atop Upper Falls, or showing the beauty of the stream to a novice the experience is rewarding.  This is a river I will return to time and again.

Stoked on kayaking.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Rider of the Year III

The Rider of the Year boys put up an official entry bid in for Scotty and I.  Go to their Facebook page and like it!  Eternal glory for a classic Oregon drop!

Best Line Entry - Scott Baker and Matt King (USA) - Benham Falls, Deschutes River, OR from Rider of the Year Awards on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rider of the Year III

Matt got into the Rider of the Year III trailer in a topo dou with Scotty Baker!

The two of them ran the biggest drops on the upper Deschutes this year, featured in the video is their killer line at Benham falls at time 2:55.   Good work guys!

Rider of the Year III Awards Teaser from Tribe Rider on Vimeo.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

BC 2012: Day 3

Day 3 we woke up and headed up towards Lillooet and Rogers creek.

We knew this would be the most challenging day.  Eventually arriving at the creek it looked like it was too low, but we had come all this way so decided to give it a shot anyway.  The falls are so clean we will at least get to run those right?

The shuttle road was a bit much for the Outback, so we dropped the boats off, set up camp and shuttle, then started hiking back to our boats.  We picked them up and continued to the clear cut marking the start of the bushwhack.  We dropped in just before the clear cut (recommended) and found our way to the creek without the use of any rope work.  The creek was definitely silly low, but we were happy to be there and bashed downstream until we arrived at the first ledge.  It proved to be a bit tricky, with a small undercut and room.  I saw a line so decided to give it a go, while Nick took the dry line on the left.

The key to the line was to make the turn, and hit a critical boof to land in an eddy on the right away from the wall.  This would set me up to ferry in front of the wall to safety on river left.  My line can be viewed below.

Below here were some very steep boulder gardens.  They were ultra marginal at this flow and we had to use some creativity to get down them, but all went well in the end.  Soon enough we were through the final slide and at the lip of the triple, being there was worth the effort!  We set about scouting and determined the second drop was not to our liking.  The normal boof on the left was dry and the right fell into a bad pocket.

Portaging would be very tricky.  The plan was to run the top drop and have the person on shore grab the boater and pull them out of their boat onto the shore.  There wasn't an eddy which added to the challenge.  We thought it would be easier in the IK so Nick went first.

He had a great line and we got him out just fine.  It went well for me too, utilizing my safety strap to attach to my boat before I got out.  With both of us out of the water and our boats on the shore, it was painstaking not to loose a person or boat off the slick slabs.  We both did a throw and go about half hour after running the top drop, and soon we found ourselves paddling the third falls, which we had only scouted from 1,000 feet up on the hike in!  Luckily its ultra clean and we both had good lines.

There is one more good rapid and then we spent the rest of the day dealing with mank.  Paddling onto the Lillooet was a huge contrast.  We once again paddled to camp and after another scooter malfunction and jog for Nick, we were resting in the Skookumchuck hotsprings and planning our drive to Wells Gray Park the next day...


Thursday, October 4, 2012

BC 2012: Day 1 & 2

Day 1 was overall a success with one major mistake. 

 Once we arrived in Canada we attempted to take a small highway that we thought would be a shortcut, turns out it took us through the heart of Vancouver where we encountered over 100 stoplights, and about 4 of every 5 required us to stop.  It was hellish and by the time we made it to our first stop at Lynn Creek in North Vancouver we were pretty stressed from the city.  Lynn was a trickle but a nice hike to break up the drive.

Next stop was the comparatively low Furry Creek.  The unique setting inside a golf course was interesting, but the boats stayed on the roof as we headed towards Whistler.  Finding expensive food, gas, and beer ($55 for a 30 rack), we set camp at Cal-Cheak campground and tried to figure out logistics for day two.

Day 2

   We were very amped to get on the water this day.  After struggling a bit to find the put in for the Cheakamus (GPS wasn't cutting it in Canada and we didn't have a map yet), we finally set the scooter shuttle and arrived at the put in to see flows much lower than any picture I had seen.  However, more than enough water was available to float our boats so in we went!  The left side of the put in drop landed on rocks at this flow, so I scoped out a line down the right which was a fun start to the trip.

Stroke number 12 of many on the trip
From the perspective of a bird flying 4 inches above my head.

From here to the take out was a blast, excellent class III-IV boulder gardens with one scout at triple drop and another at a blind corner.  We took out stoked on life and ready for more!  The shuttle scooter needed some work so we headed to Whistler to take care of that.  With that taken care of, we were ready to step it up a bit!

  Callaghan would be the afternoon ticket, so after some hotdogs at the take out we faced similar challenges finding the put in. Our intuition sent us to the right point and we put on to very low water (certainly below recommended flows).  Nate Pfiefer has a detailed report of this section and his comparison to the Truss is spot on.  This run is what I wish the Truss was, more of the upper section and cleaner waterfalls.  We portaged the very first ledge and soon enough were upon the first waterfall after some fun boulder gardens.  The normal line was too low so we agreed on the right side, Nick's boat decided to go first, followed shortly thereafter by Nick via a leap off the center rock.  After recovering his boat in the pool below, I took my turn and following the example of the IK had a sunny side up line.

Choosing to deal with the waterfall in my boat.

The next couple ledges were fun and then we were at the signature drop of the Callaghan.  Nick had not run anything this tall in a long time so there was a bit of apprehension.  I went first and set up for media of Nick.  Unfortunately his stellar efforts and clean line were not reciprocated on my part and the shots did not come out well, sorry bud.  Fortunately, many more picture opportunities awaited us in the near future.

Nick's timing on this picture correlates nicely with the precision of his line.

Below here we paid the price for putting on with low water.  It was fun piecing all the marginal lines together, but we were tired by the end.  There were a few fun drops near the end, keeping us entertained until the HWY 1 bridge.  From here it was a short, but tortuous paddle (especially in the rock loving IK) down to our campsite.

Unfortunately my scooter destroyed itself on the shuttle road and a moderate jog awaited me, but I was too pleased by the day to let it get me down.  Another trip into Whistler for a map and zip ties for the scooter's fuel tank and the day neared its end.  Camp was mellow, and we enjoyed the rest of our hotdogs before calling it a night, ready for the trip of the trip the following day!

Day 3 coming soon...