Friday, June 24, 2016

Ohanapecosh Update

June 18-19, 2016

The Ohanapecosh experienced some high water this last Winter, and produced some notable changes on the stretch from Secret Camp to La Wis Wis campground.

Slide above put in:  There is a slide a hundred yards above the put in that had a log jam, that log jam is gone along with a couple river wide logs above that.

Rail Slide:  I had never seen anyone miss the move on this rapid before last weekend, when 5 people blew it.  I guess I attribute this to a couple small, but deceptive hydraulics in the lead in to the ledge.  Think the squirly water above Horseshoe for those familiar with the Little White Salmon.

Photo: Clinton Koontz

First sweeping right turn:  There are a few rapids that you start on the left and then bend right through some medium sized hydraulics.  The first and most pronounced of these has changed significantly.  It's no harder, but notably different.  Driving right after entering left worked best for us.

Shot: Clinton Begley

Non-descript rapid:  A paddler ended up in an innocuous sieve in the bottom right hand side of a nondescript rapid with a left to right move.  It was frightening for all involved and changed the mood of the trip.
 Shot: Clinton Begley
 Shot: Clinton Begley

Fun Boof:  There used to be a small rapid in a straight away with a fun boof at the end, the boof is gone :(

Butcher's Block:  This rapid changed significantly, the portage route on the left now has water flowing through it and a lot of the logs got blown out.  Last weekend all scouting and portaging was done from the right hand side.  Fortunately, the rapid itself is much friendlier and almost everyone ran it multiple times.  It did cause one swim and some flips, but it is no longer the rapid it used to be.

Jesse Shapiro in Butcher's Block
Photo: Clinton Koontz

Triple Drop:  Earlier in the season there was a log on the right side of Triple Drop, it is out of the way now.

Narrow slot on the left:  The boulder garden with the narrow slot on the left has changed in a number of ways.  First is, there is no longer a narrow slot on the bottom left, it is more open and straight forward now.  The sieve on the bottom right appears to have changed, it may even be runnable now.  Also there was a sneaky piece of wood half way down on the left.  It wasn't much of a hazard last weekend but it likely will be at lower flows.  It might be worth scouting your first lap down if flows are below 1200 cfs.

What used to be the narrow slot on the left, is picture here on the right.  No need to tuck the elbows anymore!

Elbow Room:  Lines are the same, but there are some nuanced changed where boulders moved around.  One person ran the bottom right by accident and had a dry head run, but there were about 11 people all holding their breath there for a moment.  The line appeared even thinner over there this year than last.  Left line went ok for everyone who ran it.

Petrified:  Same lines, but with minute changes such as the middle hole is a little less sticky (two people worked their way out of it) and its easier to make the middle to right move (a nubbin at the boof point disappeared).  

Clinton Begley got on the Ohanapecosh for his first time this weekend and like so many others have found out, its a pretty special place.  Here is a video he made, which is where most of the screen shots in this report came from.

/áw-xanapaykaš/ | Ohanapecosh River, Washington | Whitewater Kayaking | My First Descent from clintergalactic on Vimeo.

With all the changes it seems the upper stretch may be worth a look again, but we didn't check it out.

Hawt Fire:  The class VI rapid just above has even more wood in it now, including a giant old growth that wasn't there last year.  If running Hawt Fire definitely don't put in at the bridge!  This was the highest I have run Hawt Fire and the hydraulics were larger, but the ride was still smooth. 

New Old Growth above Hawt Fire

Photos: Dan Price & Adam Edwards

Hawt Fire!

Boater Photo Order:  Ben Mckenzie, Adam Edwards, Priscilla Macy, Jacob Cruser
Photo Sequence taken by: Clinton Begley
 Final two photos by Priscilla Macy and Jacob Cruser

Ben looked at Silver Falls for a long time but in the end saved it for another day, that is one big chunk of whitewater.

Flows: 1,000-1,500 cfs in the Cowlitz @ Packwood is the friendliest flow.  It is often down between 700-2,000 and higher if you want.  It's runnable, but stout at 4,000.

Directions: The typical take out is at La Wis Wis Campground.  To get there from Packwood continue up Hwy 12 for 7 miles and turn left into the campground.  Turn right at the bottom of the hill.  Make another quick left and leave a vehicle by the large covered structure and take out at the confluence with the Clear Fork Cowlitz. 

To get to the put in return to Hwy 12, and turn left.  Half a mile past La Wis Wis turn left onto Hwy 123.  In 2.3 miles turn left onto a gravel road (If you cross under the National Park Entrance you have gone 100 yards too far).  At the bottom of this rough road go right until you reach an open area.  


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