Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gladiator Creek: Middle

Gladiator Creek
7 miles

 Photo: Priscilla Macy

Gladiator is a good run in Oregon's Coast Range, one of my favorite runs anywhere.  Access is difficult and sensitive.  If you can find it and get in there at a good flow, you have earned it.  Linked below is a story from the bona fide superstars of Oregon exploratory kayaking detailing the challenges they faced paddling the lower section. 

**ownership has since changed and there is no longer a legal barrier to running this creek.**
  Photo: Adam Edwards

The Middle section adds 3 miles of class IV-V creeking and a waterfall estimated in the 40' range.  Below the put in bridge for the middle section, the creek starts off bouldery.  Once the bedrock appears, thorough scouting (right bank) is recommended as it is not long to the waterfall, and rapids lead up to it.

Vesuvius Falls
  Photos: Emile Elliott/Priscilla Macy                                                             Paddlers: Ben Mckenzie/Adam Edwards

Below Vesuvius the rapids continue.  Eventually they ease for a bit, when the rapids pick back up at a point where the stream passes a small island while at the same time returning to bedrock you have entered the Ludi Stretch, about a mile long stretch of class fun rapids. 

Emile Elliot in the first rapid of Ludi.

Priscilla runs another stand out rapid in the Ludi stretch further downstream.
 Photo: Adam Edwards

Be careful of the final rapid of the Ludi, where the stream is diverted left by a bedrock outcrop after some low angle slides and drops about 5 feet into a carnivorous hole.  Just downstream from that last rapid of the Ludi is the bridge marking the beginning of the lower stretch.

Taking a look at the hole.
Giving it a go.
Photo: Priscilla Macy                                                                                          Paddler: Chris Korbulic

The lower stretch is well described below.  Arena is one of the most fun rapids of the run and The Punisher is indeed more friendly at lower flows. As of December 2014 this section has seen a handful of descents, including one raft run piloted by Tim Brink and Bruce Reed (ORT)

Ben Mckenzie, The Punisher
  Photo: Adam Edwards

The final two miles below the Colosseum ease off to bouldery class II with the occasional small feature to surf and decrepit structure to look at.  The route of this last two miles make it possible to avoid a shuttle by winding back to a bridge at about the point where the hike began.  If you pick the correct channels you can usually avoid any wood portages, but there are a lot of channels.

Emile's Video from our 2014 trip.

The logistics for this run are substantial enough that I made a separate 
logistics page.

Photo: Priscilla Macy


Vesuvius Falls:  Mt Vesuvius was were the first battle of the third servile war (led by 3 Gladiators) happened. To get down the mountain the slave army had to use ingenuity to create ropes and ladders out of vines. It would take similar tactics to portage this falls.  

Games in general, and festivals involving games and parades.  The singular form ludus means "game, sport" or "play". The plural is used for "games" in a sense analogous to the Greek festivals of games, such as the Panhellenic Games. Games could be private, public, or extraordinary, and this creek is a little of all those thing and this section is a parade of playful rapids.

*The rest were named by Jason Rackley/Pete Giordano when they first ran the lower section.

This stream required many scouting missions and saw multiple failed attempts.  I have these people to thank for helping me put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Rebecca Vogt, Sage Cruser, Tim Brink, Bruce (Ox) Reed, Pete Giordano, Jason Rackley, Rob Cruser, Dan Mccain, Ben Sigler (and his dogs), Bryan Carrington, Rick Cooley, Nate Merrill, Melissa Fowler, Rylie Coiteux, Jake Banta, Victor Repeto, Michael Freeman, Lucas Reitman, Willy Dinsdale, Ross George, Ben Mckenzie and Emile Elliot.


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