Thursday, March 19, 2015

North Umpqua: Narrows

Deadline Falls at ~ 3,000 cfs
Photo: Aaron Lieberman



***This description is a guide for summertime flows.  If the stream is swelled from rain things will be different.***

Stream: Most people will give Deadline Falls a look on the drive up from an obvious roadside pull out.  Here you can see the whole drop and scout the right side in detail.  

There are a number of put in options with easy access to the river a short way upstream of Deadline Falls.  The rapid above Deadline drains a pool that you can warm up in.  This first rapid is class III and pretty open in terms of lines.  Eddy out below on the left to scout Deadline in detail.  There are a number of lines, but the one we took was off a ramping boof on the center left.  And while the hole can be a bit intimidating, the move was straight forward.

                                                                         Photo: Kody Dewbre

There is a short and easy rapid below and then the river eases up for awhile as you pass Rock Creek.  There is some more easy floating below Rock Creek before the Narrows.  Eddy out either side at low flows or right at high flows to scout.   The river pinches down to the left here and travels through a chaotic chute.  Aside from powerful hydraulics there are no obvious hazards on this one.

                                                                                Photo: Kody Dewbre


Around the corner is one last ramp that can be scouted easily on the left.  The river pools up at this point and but 50 yards downstream is the trail leading up to the parking area.  

Downstream of this point is flatwater and class II down to Glide.

All the drops are easily lappable at medium to low flows.  With an easy shuttle, reliable summer flows, and being only 30 minutes off I-5, this run is a solid resource.
Flows:  This description is for flows you would find in the summer. North Umpqua @ Copeland Creek.  Pictures from the following trip report are at 1,300 cfs.  The photos above were taken at 870 cfs.

Access:  Take Highway 138 out of Roseburg, just after passing through Glide you will cross the North Umpqua ending up on river right.  3.4 miles past this bridge will be a small turn out on the right.  If you just want to run the whitewater use this as a take out, a trail leads back up from the river.  If you want to keep floating you can, there are other take out options roadside (still steep) or at the bridge you crossed near Glide.

To get to the put in continue upstream along Hwy 138 crossing over Rock Creek, continue another 1/4 mile to a pull out from which you can get a look at Deadline Falls.  Continue upstream from Deadline to any pull out you see fit to use as a put in.

Original Write-up

The green line is the section described, put in wherever you can below Hill Creek, but above Deadline.  Idleyld Park has access for a take out according to the guidebooks, but we used a pull out immediately downstream of the last rapid.

This is a nice section of the North Umpqua that reminded us of the Niagara section of the North Santiam closer to our home in the Willamette Valley.  The difference is this run has all the rapids packed into a short 2 mile section.

Our day started at Toketee Hot Springs.  After a night of camping we went for one more soak before packing up and heading to Whitehorse Falls on the Clearwater River.

Ben didn't want to get his dry gear wet, so ran it without any.

Jesse saw the snow in the parking area and decided gear was worth the hassle.

 Priscilla from the side

 After a couple laps on this falls, the crew headed downstream to check out Little Steamboat Falls which was too low for our taste.  We refueled with ice cream and gatorade at the local store before heading down to check out Deadline Falls.

A quick scout revealed a technical boof line on the right and a deep water line on the left.  The main concern being a large hole in the center. We were undecided about doing the run so drove down to check out the narrows to see if that one called to us.  It looked like a fun, straightforward move so we drove back up to a pullout 1/2 mile above the Rock Creek bridge and geared up.  There was a pool to warm up in, then a straight forward class III with some fun waves before we pulled over on the left to re-scout Deadline.  Jesse and Priscilla took the chute on the far right, while Ben and I decided the main line down the left looked good.

Priscilla approaches the lip of the right side chute.

Jesse gets lift off on his way through the chute

The left line was a little intimidating, but not too difficult.

Ben shoots through

Everyone hit their lines as planned and we continued downstream through a few class II-III rapids before we eddied out left to check out the Narrows again.  Ben got thrown around a bit in his playboat, but the rest of us were able to stay upright in our creek boats.

This rapid reminded me of an easier and shorter version of the rapid with the same name on the North Santiam.

 We turned the corner to see another horizon and scouted this from the left.  It was a fun ramp into a hole.  Ben went for the meat down the middle, the rest of us went left.  We saw some locals below here that allowed us to hike up to the road through the property they were renting, most people walk up a short trail to a wayside immediately downstream of the ramp rapid.

We had 1300 cfs in the North Umpqua@ Copeland Creek.  I imagine this section is nearly always runnable.  When flows get spicy, there is a sneak channel to the left of Deadline that may be worth looking into.

If you felt like the run was too short and want to do another run of similar difficulty (but drastically different character), run the last mile of Rock Creek if flows are adequate starting at Anabel rd.  This creek flows into the North Umpqua below Deadline Falls and flows can be assessed from the bridge during the Deadline shuttle.  We got down Rock Creek with the North Umpqua@ Copeland Creek reading 1300 cfs.

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