Thursday, August 10, 2017

Squamish Overnighter

It can be hard to appreciate where you are when the whitewater is tough, it sometimes takes a different sort of trip to soak it all in.
                                                 

                                                  BETA

Stream:  We drove past the Ashlu bridge and continued up the Squamish Service Rd towards Fear Canyon.  We got to a creek that had been blown out and put in there.  We could hear the sediment moving along by a suspended load as it flowed through a culvert.  The creek only had 100 cfs or less so the amount of rock it was moving impressed us. 

The blown out creek and the origin of the mass wasting event.
All Photos: Priscilla Macy

Because of the newly deposited sediment the ground near where we put in was not as stable as it appeared.  A few of us sank knee deep through the rocks.  The deceptive ground reminded us of the scene from Halo Effect where the team gets their vehicles stuck in the Icelandic mud.

Though our scenario was far less severe.


With all the islands on this river, we were hoping there would be some good squirt boating for Emile.

We brought as much gear as we could squeeze in (and on, not necessarily a recommended technique) for what we thought would be flatwater and riffles.



Emile ended up not trying to squirt boat because the water was cold and shallow, he was pretty uncomfortable by the time we got to camp.  As it turned out there were numerous class II-III rapids that were enjoyable for us in the creek boats, but soaked and chilled Emile to the bone.

We found refuge on a big island in the center of the Squamish (50.0361, -123.3462), no doubt the best campsite I have ever used.  Fire wood was abundant, the committee for keeping it going was headed up by Ross George on this trip.

Since first driving up this part of the Squamish to run Dipper Creek, the prospect of camping along the river with a view of this glacier had called to me.  It ended up being everything I had hoped it would be.

Emile brought his training kite (to practice for kite-boarding) and we played around with that a bit in the morning.  The loads of firewood are visible in the background here.
All Photos: Priscilla Macy


The run ended up having more engaging whitewater than we had expected, big water class II-III waves that just kept moving along with no slack water.  Just enough whitewater to keep us engaged, but easy enough to sit back and enjoy the ride.  The most interesting part was there were so many channels between the islands we got to pick different routes, most with 1,000 cfs or so.  At one point the group split up and the channels didn't rejoin for about 20 minutes.

We were all pleasantly surprised with the run and I'd do it again.  I think it's part of the Elaho-Squamish run that has a write-up in the River Gypsies Guide to North America.  I'd put in higher and take out lower than we did on this trip next time as the combination of a fast moving river & no scouting means miles are covered quickly.

Flows:
Sept 4/5, 2016:
This was a fine flow,  could do plenty higher or lower but this was a friendly med/low with fun waves and quickly moving water the entire way (no stagnant pools).  Many options to take different channels.  Incredible camping on the islands.  We camped here 50.0361, -123.3462

Our put in:   50.0711, -123.3435
Our take out:   50.0015, -123.3249

 Elaho Gauge


Squamish Gauge

Access:   Take Hwy 99 to Squamish, just South of the Cheekye River turn West onto Squamish Valley Rd.  In about 15 miles is a bridge over the Squamish leading to the Ashlu (49.9144, -123.293).  This is a possible take out, or continue upstream to any number of roadside pull-offs.

Do not travel over the bridge up to the Ashlu, instead stay on the main road paralleling the Squamish on river left.  About 13 miles after passing the Ashlu bridge is the blown out creek we put in at.  Next time I would continue another 4 miles past this blown out creek (17 miles past the Ashlu bridge/50.0712, -123.3431) and turn left to travel up the Elaho.  2.5 miles after making this turn there is a bridge across the Elaho marking the take out for Fear Canyon and I would put in at this bridge (50.1145, -123.4294).

*Class V boaters could start with a Fear Canyon run and continue down this stretch*

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