Thursday, September 5, 2013


Tatlow, very much like the Little White, has been accurately described in lore and on the internet.  1 mile of 95% very high quality bedrock rapids, and thanks to the internet there are no surprises on the river aside from a trashy boulder garden near the end.  The hike in is steep but short, Willy and I missed the place to descend (my mistake) so hiked too far and followed a rivulet down that put us in just above the normal put in.  All the necessary information for this run is already well documented.  The only info I would like to pass on here came from a person visiting from Germany named Bobby.  He let me know that Wall Drug is very soft so it is not necessary to tuck, both Willy and I agreed after our turn on the rapid that afternoon.

The run is very short so a good option is to use it as an alternate put in for the Ashlu.  There is a class 3 stretch between Tatlow and the Mine run that allows a paddler to regain any energy lost earlier in the day.  The mine run starts with two large ledges, the second of which had a powerful hole.  Below here is the entrance to the Mine Rapid.  This rapid is very large and is not commonly run.  The portage around the whole thing on the left is in the top ten hardest portages I have done.  As it turns out I took the less common route, there is a shorter, less strenuous portage where a boater can walk only the crux and run the bottom.  Willy ran the whole thing and I watched through the trees from high above as he charged into the largest hole I have ever seen anyone paddle into.  He was violently thrown around for 10-15 seconds before flushing and rolling up.

Below this are a handful of quality rapids with powerful features.  I felt this section was a step above Tatlow in difficulty, but my impression may be skewed by my discomfort with large holes.  As I made the mental transition from low water creek to powerful river I began to thoroughly enjoy the run.  Willy remembered the rapids well and did a great job leading me down.  I feel this section is overlooked and believe if it were in the states would be highly sought after.  There is one very sticky hole at the bottom of a ramp, but it allows passage on the right side.  This feature is located just after an 8' broken slide/ledge.  There is also a portage a ways into the run.  This can be identified by a tiny creek coming in from the right at the apex of a slight left turn that had flagging (a common and appreciated practice in BC).  The portage isn't too long, 15ish minutes with a trail.  It is time to head back down to the stream when you see a fixed rope heading down a gully.  Below here were a few more fun rapids before the reservoir.  The mini mine run had a really pretty gorge and a couple rapids, then we were at the 50/50 bridge.  I had enjoyed our long day and was not interested in tainting it by making mistakes in Box Canyon.  Willy had been kind enough to get out and scout with me a couple times on the Mine run, but now that I was no longer part of the picture he was able to return to his style of boating and rallied from the 50/50 bridge to the take out without getting out of his boat, nearly beating me there in my car. 

The day before we got there Dan and Robby rafted Tatlow.  They reported having a very fun trip aside from a spill in Wall Drug.

Bob from Germany photo credit.


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