Friday, July 7, 2017

Rock Creek (Baker City) / WF Eagle Creek (Wallowa's)

In the morning of May 29, 2017 Joseph Hatcher, Matt Pearson and I checked out the Rock Creek that flows off the East side of the Little Alps near Baker City, OR.

The NF John Day @ Monument was running about 3,000 cfs from snowmelt.

It was very steep (700 fpm+ for a portion: 44.8906, -118.0976) and we found a bouldery, eddy-free mountain stream cascading at a rapid pace down the mountain.  We discussed Joseph and Matt running the creek, with me standing along the bank to catch them above wood hazards since eddies were not available.  In the end we felt it was more sketchy than we wanted to deal with and no one put on.  Neither Killamacue Creek or the section of Rock Creek above the Killamacue confluence looked any friendlier (in fact they looked worse).

Typical Rock Creek
Photos: Matt Pearson



There is a fools hope that a run might exist below the S Rock Creek Lane bridge, maybe a local would enjoy checking out that section.  It looked much less steep than the parts we scouted, but scouting/portaging might put a boater on private property. The run we scouted would probably also be fun if someone knew it was completely free of wood, and could be run put in to take out without having to stop, though its unlikely that scenario will occur.

We then headed over to the south side of the Wallowa's and the Eagle Creek drainage, where Joseph Hatcher and I paddled the WF Eagle Creek.  We took out just upstream of the NF-67 bridge and put in a couple miles above that at a low water crossing, upstream looked flatter and woodier than the portion we ran.  The part we ran resembled a wider, less steep version of Rock Creek.  We found the run to be stressful class III+ with plenty of wood and few eddies.  We scouted every foot of stream eddy to eddy style and the eddies were more often difficult to catch than easy.  We had few portages, but it was Type II fun at best due to the stress.

I'd not do it again, but was happy to find out what was on the run.

We had about 2700 cfs on the Imnaha gauge, May 29, 2017, the Saturday before Memorial Day.

Put in:  45.0444, -117.4617
Take Out:  45.0235, -117.459

 -jacob

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