Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Paul Guinea, Eric Arllington, Matt King and myself all ran the Truss last weekend. It was Matt's first time running it, and he did really well. It was a little exciting seeing him surfing a hole in the first rapid! But he worked out and had a flawless run down the rest of the river. I walked Lower Zig-zag and BZ, while Paul had a no portage descent of the run. I ran Big Brother for the first time, which I was happy about. I had a clean line, upright and away from the cave. Double Drop was at a fun level. I think everybody made it through that upright. We didn't scout so Matt had a blind first run of Double Drop. The rest of the run went great and was fun but not super eventful. Paul and Eric ran lower Zig-zag which doesn't look very bad right now. Here is the video.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little White video

This is the video from Ryan Morgan and my first trip down the fabled Little White Salmon.  The level was 2.5 feet which was a clean level for everything except Island and a drop right above it.  Spirit also looked very clean at this level though we didn't run it.  The left side of Chaos did look a little weird but the right side line didn't look super retentive, and you could still make it down the left.   Here is the video

First Time on the LW from Ryan Morgan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Name Change

I changed the name of the blog do to the fact that I am no longer in high school. I have started college at Western Oregon University. I don't know if the new name fits, but it is going to be the new name. I also think the picture fits. Credit goes to Aubrey Russell for the picture.
Here are some pictures of Lower Lewis falls at low water and high water.  
high water taken in June low water taken in September
And Upper Lewis falls.  They have both been run this high, though the Lower looks a lot worse to me at this level.
and this is the Upper falls the day we ran it.
all photos by Aubrey Russell

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quartzville Creek/Canal Creek


Stream:  This one of the best runs in the Willamette Valley portion of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range.  With good flows, it is not stop class IV action for 17 miles.  I like to start at Greg Creek and groove through the culvert before walking down to Quartzville Creek, but more commonly people put in a mile upstream at a bridge over Quartville itself.

Just below Greg Creek the rapids kickoff with TD, a boulder garden leading into an 8' ramp.  This sets the tone for the difficulty level of the trip, if you are having a good time here you are in for a great day of boating.  The next two miles are referred to as "Upper Quartzville" and everything can be run down the main channel read and run style if you are comfortable with some reactionary boating, or you can scout the horizon lines if you prefer control.  This section is fantastic, and people often drive up here just to do laps on it.
Photo: Pete Giordano

The end of "Upper Quartzville" is at the Wrapped Bridge, the remains of an old road bridge taken out by a flood that has been strewn along the right bank just downstream of the replacement bridge.

Below the wrapped bridge you enter "Middle Quartzville", the least commonly run section.  In here is more great class IV, but also two notable rapids that need to be scouted and likely portaged.  The first is Pick-Up-Sticks, a small rapid that collects huge amounts of wood.  This can be portaged, and sometimes run right.  If you get suckered into the inviting eddy on the left just above the logs, the portage is more difficult.

An easier section leads to Double Dip, the most dangerous rapid on the river downstream of Pure Hate.  The eddies above this rapid should be scouted during the shuttle, there is a pull out and rock outcrop 1/4 mile upstream of a bridge from which it is easy to do this.  Double Dip has two powerful ledges, and the hole in the bottom one is dangerous.  This drop is almost never run, and can be portaged along the road.

Downstream the fun continues, easing off a bit until the confluence with Canal Creek.  The next section is where the big ledges are, usually accompanied by large holes.  There are class IV lines through them, but if you are in the wrong spot you could be in for a dangerous beat down at high water.

 Photo: Lucas Rietmann

Downstream of the ledges the rapids ease off as you enter the lower section.  This section cruises along with only occasional class IV rapids, but it's prime time for boof and hole hunting.  The rapids down here tend to be long boulder strewn rapids, with the occasional large hydraulic.  At low water this section is class III.  The final set of rapids comes below Dogwood Recreation site, with the crux coming in a gorge at a left hand turn.  Here you want to stay right through the bottom, as a large hole guards the center of what is now a river at the bottom.  Once through the gorge, take the right channel at a log strewn island and it's bee-bop down to the reservoir.  At 3,000-4,000 cfs give or take this is currently my favorite day of class fun kayaking in Oregon.  At these flows, you are really missing a treat if you pass on the opportunity to do the whole 17 miles.

Flows:  Quartzville has it's own gauge, and a wide range of flows.  If levels are between 1,000-2,500 I prefer just doing laps on the Upper Section.  2,500-4,500 is prime for the whole enchilada.  Over 6k the lower section is some of the best big water boating around, but the ledges in the middle section are huge and the upper is class V.  10k is not too high for a class soft V experience, and has been playboated at that flow.

Access:  Access information

Trip Report

Matt, Nate, Bobby and I ran Quartzville on Friday. ~1400 on the gauge led to a great spring flow. Last time we had over 2000 on the gauge but at 1400 we had more water in the creek. So the Oregonkayaking description holds true again in regards to spring requiring less water than winter or fall. No snow at all and a super nice day. scouted the first time down and took some video. Bobby threw an interesting version of a freewheel off Grocker that involved a piton/bow stall, but it was pretty sweet looking! Actually Bobby had a lot of super cool moments including an upside down low brace that should not have worked plus held on for a beat down in Movie Star that he was able to work his way out of.
             Scariest part of the day was Matt got pinned under a log in the middle of a slide near the put-in and had his skirt implode, leading to his first time out of a boat in almost a year as he floated downstream with a boat full of water, I don't think this counts as a true swim? To avoid repeating this go far right at the long class 3 slide with an obvious log at the bottom, do not try to go under on the left! Nate also had an impressive safe in Movie star with an iron fingers move holding onto the wall as the hole tried to suck him back in, Matt came to the rescue there. The take out ender hole looks super cool, Matt and Nate both went for some old school tricks and Matt came completely out of the water while Nate went for the loop. Second lap we just bombed and that is always so cool on this creek. Did the run in 40 minutes, could have been 30.

Quartzville creek from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.

We then loaded up and raced the failing light to get to Mcdowell for a park and huck of a clean 8 footer. It was squeeky clean and I threw two freewheels off it. We thought we saw a horizon line a ways downstream, so we ran the next slide, which falls onto a shelf but is actually a smooth transition, just watch out for the wood on the left. Then dropped a small ledge slide, followed by a class two shelf. Below here was a small slide into some wood that looked pretty sketchy so we looked for a way to portage, none. Then a way to get out of the mini gorge, none. So we put some effort into attaining/ wading our way back upstream, then groveling up the brushy bank. We took different ways up, some of ours more efficient than others...
I then made the long drive back to Gresham, and slept well after a great day of kayaking.
video coming soon.


Both pictures by Pete Giordano
        Two weekends ago I got to run Quartzville creek with Matt King, Pete Giordano, Paul ?, Jason Rackley, and James Bagley.  I had high hopes from reading Jason's description of it and I was not let down.  The run is every bit as fun as could be hoped.  It is class IV-IV+ with a minimal amount of time spent not running a fun drop.  We did two laps, with the second definitely being the funnest, as we didn't scout, just flew down the run.  My favorite drops were Grocker and wooden wall, they were both low stress boofs, with short, but requiring focused lead-ins,
          The run starts with TD, a boulder garden with a pin spot that is easy to miss if you know where it is, followed by an 8 foot slide that Matt went for the gut on both times.  It looked fun, but for some reason noone else was up for it, the rest of us boofed left.  Right around the corner is Grocker, it has a narrow lead in to a small hole that is the crux, deciding where you line up for the final ledge.  If you are in the right spot, you take a couple strokes, then launch off the rock center right, if not the consequences are minor.  Some fun, easier drops lead to Wooden wall.  I wasn't really looking forward to this drop because it looked like an uninteresting drop with high consequences.  It turned out to be much funner, much less consequential, and more interesting overall than I had imagined.  The move came down to one critical stroke, but it still took some effort to get lined up
 correctly.  Once you hit your boof, you bounce up and get pushed right and passed the log.
The log is just out of the shot on the left hand side of the picture 
I was told it used to be much more difficult, I am glad it has changed to what it is now 
        Some mellow water leads to David From Behind, this was next on my list of fun rapids.  Most of us snuck on the left side, where you had to boof right then ferry hard to miss a rock.  Again, low consequence, but interesting.  Pete decided to try out the much more complicated right side, and ran it perfectly.  After some smaller rapids, we arrived at Corkscrew, which was the most anticipated drop for me.  We can be thankful that there are people who are willing to cut logs out of drops in the summer, because this one would be unrunnable without the help of "Spider", who cut a log 43' in diameter out of this drop.  This drop was a super fast mini S-turn with no hole, again, low stress family fun.
What I remember most was flying into the eddy at the right to a whoop from Jason, who was leading the cheering squad on this day.  I have never boated with someone so excited to be on a river! He mustered up a cheer for every boater on every major drop!  It's nice to a have that kind of enthusiasm on the river. 
   Next is Movie star, this had a big hole that James, Matt and Pete ran down the gut on the second lap, while the rest of us boofed right.  
   Below here are some fun boulder gardens, then a small ledge before the take out, Matt went for the ender and got popped completely out of the water! This is the same ledge on the Oregon Kayaking trip report for the creek.  
      After this we headed to Canal Creek to do the falls to falls run.  It was too low, but Matt and I did it anyway.  The upper falls had wood, making it what I would deem unrunnable. 
      I would like to say thanks to Matt for the invite, and the whole crew for showing me down this very fun run.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lewis River video

Here is the video from our trip down the Lewis river this September.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gladiator Creek: Lower

 4 miles

Stream: There are 3 fun rapids on this stretch, it is best run as an extension to the Middle or Upper, but I have put in here before when Iv'e hiked to the bridge and decided flows were either too high, or too low for me to want to continue on.  You can also continue another mile past the put in bridge to a spur road after the quarry that leads down a nose of land for an additional mile with many more class fun rapids.  The story of the first descent starting at the lower bridge is worth a read over at Oregonkayaking.net.    

Arena is just below the bridge, and is my favorite rapid on the lower stretch, and probably the whole creek.  The obvious line down the middle is as fun as it looks, a fast ramp into a kicker.  It's one of those drops you might want to lap a few times if it was easy and you had the time.  While it is easy to line up, anywhere other than the line has injury potential so scout thoroughly.

A couple small ledges separate Arena from The Punisher.  Keep an eye downstream for a horizon and a waterfall coming in from the left, eddy on the right as soon as you see this, it would be easy to run out of eddies.  The scout and portage are both along the right, the drop has been run right at high water, but left at lower flows.

Ben Mckenzie tangles with the Punisher.
Photo: Adam Edwards

Another short stretch of class II leads to The Colosseum, a long set of low angle slides at the end of a straight away below Punisher.    It is a good idea to scout Colosseum from the left bank, which is easy to do and obvious when it should be done.

     Paddler: Joseph Hatcher

After taking in Colosseum from the pool below, you are done with the good stuff.   The whitewater starts off consolidated, but gradually spreads out and starts weaving through islands.  If the water is low, you take the wrong channel, or wood shifts this section can be a pain.  However, if flows are up, you guess the wood-free channels, and maybe bring some hot chocolate to sip this section goes by alright.  There are some small surfable features to change the pace too.  And trust that paddling out is better than hiking out.

A typical scene during the runout.

Eventually the islands end, and the take out bridge comes up just around the corner.  If you only brought one car, just drop the boats and walk the short distance back up to the gate to retrieve your vehicle.

*It is worth noting, all three of the major rapids can be scouted on the hike in from road overlooks.

Flows:  The rapids are still fun on the lower even when the Upper and Middle are low, even below 2'.  Don't forget about that runout though.  The Punisher lives up to it's name at high water, it can be portaged right.  Gauge location and details described on the main page and the gauge page.

Access:  From the take out drive upstream 1/4 mile and turn left, park at the gate.  Hike about 3 miles on the mainline (if in doubt stay right towards the creek) until reaching the Lower Bridge going over the creek to the right, this is the put in for the lower.

My first trip to Gladiator with a boat

My first time down was with Tim Brink and Bruce Reed from ORT, who were going to raft the creek.  When I got to college at Western Oregon University, I began looking at the coast range as a place to kayak.  I had three creeks at the top of my list, and this one was at the top of that list.  I scouted access with my mom and sister when they came to visit one day, and was pretty excited about what I saw.  The day before I was to paddle the creek for the first time, I paddled Quartzville Creek with Jason Rackley and Pete Giordano.  I told them about my plan, and they asked if I had read their story Cammando Creekin', which was about the first descent of the lower section of this creek.
The situation had changed a little since then, with a gate that they open up during hunting season so we brought along a bunch of camo clothing, stuffed the kayak in the back of Tim's Truck, and signed in at the entrance (2014: now it's walk in only, but access is allowed year round excluding high fire danger).
      We got skunked by low water on the upper and middle sections, but decided to try out the less mysterious lower run.  This trip started in excellent fashion, with a peal out into the 15 ft Arena Falls.

  After this is a short ledge, that demanded its own respect when it gave the raft an exciting shove in the wrong direction [the upside down direction :) ].  Shortly after this was Punisher, which had not been run on the previous descent.  I felt at this water level it looked good and was able to hit a line going left-left (and have repeated that line a few times since).   The first drop lands in shallow water so nose up is the only way to go.  The raft chose to ghost boat it on this trip.  A minute of class II and we arrived at the large horizon line of Colosseum.  It is about a 200 yard long series of slides, with multiple lines.  After this came the two miles of class two we knew we had in store.  It took awhile with the raft, and while there was some log dodging no portages were needed.
       I was really jazzed on this trip, and have been back a number of times.  It's one of my favorite creeks in Oregon.  I am thankful that Tim and Bruce were willing to come along, and that I got to see another awesome place I probably never would have without my kayak. 



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lewis (falls section) birthday run

Lewis River
all photos by Aubrey Russell
For my birthday, my family, girlfriend and I camped at the Lower falls campground.  It had been over a year since I was here last.  That time I had shyed away from the lower falls after seeing Rush Sturges get stuck in the cave, and I broke my nose running Upper falls.  This year, my goal was to run Lower falls if I was feeling ready.  On Friday I ran the upper section with my stepdad Dave, and I had run a pretty interesting falls up there.  Sunday rolled around and it was time to run the falls section.  Jean Loosmore and John showed up along with Tim Brink and ORT, with Paul Guinea also along for the run.  Jean realized pretty quickly he had forgotten his PFD so he opted to video the show.  After scouting, we all put on and ran Taitnapum, a 20 footer that produced some interesting lines.
Paul went first and cleaned up.  I went next and was planning on a plug for practice, but hit a pad anyway and I dropped at a 45 until I hit the rock face forming the fall which dropped my bow and I came up facing the falls but upright. I got out and got a cool angle of the raft running it from where I was.  I was close enough that when they hit, they splashed a sheet of water onto me as I protected my camera!  Last was John, some miscommunication caused him to be offline and he got turned sideways and dislocated his thumb!  So after some interesting lines we headed down to Upper falls.  We scouted the first class IV sliding drop and all successfully ran that, then we eddied out and scouted the big part of Upper falls.
     Jean's girlfriend was starting to get sick, Jean couldn't boat, and John had dislocated his thumb, so they decided to call it a day and head back home.  Meanwhile we all got set up to lower ourselves to the shelf between the nasty part of Upper, and the sweet 35 below.  Getting into the eddy in a controlled manner is the most crucial part of this drop as I learned last year when I got blown out before I could set up.  This year Ox helped lower me backwards into the eddy and I got a controlled ferry into the river left side of this drop which is a bounce bounce hit into the pool below.  Last year Nick and I went much farther right and it is a ten foot slide into an autoboof 25. I wasn't up for that this year, the water was lower and the pool was not very airated over there. The left worked out great and Paul followed my line.  Next the raft worked its way into the current and dropped off the completely vertical far right side.  Amazingly they landed upright with a couple collided heads(football helmets were a great idea).  From here we hightailed it down to Middle falls.  Paul went for the gutsy left side slot and came away upright.  This drop was really technical where he went, the video and pictures should give you a good idea.  I went for the low stress far right slide with a paddle twirl after the raft slid down sideways.
 The raft had already taken off by the time I finished talking to my sister, mom, and Aubrey.  Paul and I played catch up for the next half mile.  We finally rounded a corner and got out above the big one.  Paul and I headed down to scout while Tim and Ox started lining their boat down to below the lead in rapid, which was too narrow for the raft.  I have not looked at a drop as long as I did that one and still decided to run it.  I wanted to do this perfect or not at all.  As I was getting closer to feeling ready we looked up to see Tim and Ox loose control of the raft, as we watched helplessly it plummeted over the edge, unmanned.  Well, that sucked.  As Tim and Ox took off to corral the boat downstream, Paul and I again set our sites on lower falls.  After a large chunk of time I decided to go.  I went upstream and got in my boat, I don't remember the upstream scouting or predrop ritual, but as I floated down I saw Paul waving the camera, signaling that he couldn't get it to work.  I didn't really care, I wasn't running this for the media, it was for me and I didn't want to refocus myself again after showing him what I hadn't pointed out earlier about the cameras more detailed functions, so I told him it was fine and continued into the lead in.
         I came through the lead in and slid into the fast water leading into the falls.  I haven't been so focused on a drop as I was then.  I saw where I needed to go, I took a stroke off the top ledge to keep my bow up but I didn't want to plain out because the lip of the 40 footer was just downstream. I was in control right where I wanted to be, I shifted the boat slightly to the right, took a right boof stroke, left correction stroke, remembered I wanted to tuck, took another right stroke as I came into my tuck so as not to throw anything off.  Then I hit, I am guessing I landed at less than 45 because I didn't sub out.  My face hit my arm, which hit my deck, but it was fine because I was tucked just like I wanted.  I took a left stroke and I was sailing through the gorge below the drop and into the huge pool below.  Sweet, it went absolutely perfect.  
     I was feeling just dandy, I was completely satisfied. No one except one random camper saw my descent (Paul was running down from up-top, my family and Aubrey hadn't arrived, and ORT was collecting there boat).  The moment was mine.  I was feeling so good that helping ORT slog there boat up the canyon rim below the drop wasn't even as painful as it should have been.  This did however remind me of the last time I went on a "raft first descent" with Tim on the N. fork Clack and we shlepped the raft up a couple hundred feet through the brush then too after missing the normal portage.  I have now come to expect this from first descents with the ORT crew:).
Paul drops lower falls
    Next up was Paul, I don't know his thought process so I can't give you a blow by blow from him, but it must have been pretty good cause he came away upright as well! 
All in all a great birthday, and I am very glad to have spent it with all the right people, in the right places, doing the things I love doing.  Thanks everybody.
extracted from my pdxkayaker film fest entryfile:///Users/jacobcruser/Desktop/lewis.mov

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

North Fork Lewis River

I got to go back to the Lewis river this year, which is one of my favorite rivers, there is not many rapids but lots of falls and plenty of exploring.  This year I made the trip for my birthday weekend.  My girlfriend and I went up early and got the camp set up while the rest of my family came up later.  On Saturday my stepdad and I ran the upper North fork Lewis section above the big falls.  The water was way too low but it was enough to scrape down so that is what we did.  The gorge was still fun class III-IV at this flow with a fair amount of wood to portage in the beggining before the gorge.  There are two class five drops on the river, the first is approaching class six, even at this level.    It is a twisting ten foot slide, into a fold, into a tube created by rock and wood, and the outflow mostly goes under a log into a seive.  It was definitely runnable, and I considered it for a short while, but since it goes through the tube it is hard to scout properly.  I chose not to run it but seal launching around it did save a lot of effort in what is reported to be a brutal river right portage as described in the Bennett guide.

  My stepdad decided he would rather jump from the log so threw his boat then had a semi dicey walk down the log until he jumped into the pool.  It was cool being in this pool since we figured not many people end up there.

 Downstream from here where a few more suprisingly fun class four drops for the flow we had and some easier stuff before we reached the second drop.  I had assumed that I would not run this falls but possibly run the other one from the description in the guidebook.  The other one was simply described as "unrunnable" which in the older guidebooks is often not the case anymore, especially since the rest of the falls downstream of Quartz creek also fell into this description and I had run all of those.  I figured they were ruling this one out from height, so I figured that it would be like a 25-30 footer that was probably just fine at the low water level, but that was not the case.  On the other hand the lower was described as a fifteen footer with seething undercut walls.  I figured they ran plenty of 15 footers back then and if the leading explorers of there time hadn't run it, then me, not a big fan of being stuffed under a rock, was going to pass.

When I got there my opinion started to change pretty quickly, the low water had turned what I am sure was a nightmare at higher flows into a drop that could be run by an average class five boater.  I looked for a bit of time.  The concerns were that the right side fell onto a rock outcropping, and the left side was not long enough to land in without crashing into the wall.

  The good news was the lip had a rolling wave that looked like it would let me get my nose up if thats how I wanted to run the drop.  So plan A was to drive right to left away from the rock outcropping with a boof stroke landing just a foot or two left of the rock at the bottom.  I realized this was risky so I looked for a way to error to my left.  It was possible but the option for a boof was not there because of a flake a couple feet down that my tail would catch on.  Also, I would have to land with right angle to keep from hitting the wall when I landed.  So I decided to error left in case I was swept right, and just decide which stroke to take at the top of the drop.  I came in through the lead in, took a stroke towards the left side, and found myself on the left side of the wave at the top.  I turned my boat to angle just a bit right and took a right stroke while keeping my angle right.  I subbed out shortly and resurfaced shooting right and into the downstream current.  I was pretty happy with the drop, a cool thing about this drop was that when I paddled back upstream from the bottom I saw for the first time a rainbow that did an entire circle!  The rainbow ended right at the nose of my boat, I thought it was really neat.  I called the drop "Rainbow Pie"

 The rest of the run was through a pretty gorge.  The last rapid pinned my stepdad pretty good on a log and we lost his water bottle, but it was the end of the day and we had both had a lot of fun.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Little White (finally)

I finally got to run the Little White last Firday. I had the chance about three times before but something always seemed to happen. My dad and I drove to hood river to demo the jackson super hero for me. We met Ryan Morgan at the take out and drove to the put in. My dad decided to hike in below boulder sluice to avoid the low water gettin busy in his IK. Ryan and I put in at the normal put in and had a lot of fun finding the lines through Gettin Busy (neither of us had run it before). Ryan led most of the way and we only scouted when we had to. Ryan had one short pin sort of thing but worked free himself. We made it to Island and didn't find my dad. It had taken over two hours so we figured he had hiked out. We portaged island and continued on. Everything went very smoothly. We portaged Stovepipe and Spirit and one manky class four. Everything went smooth and we both rolled in Wishbone. -photo by Ryan Morgan.
 - I had a lot of fun and am glad I got to experience the run the first time with someone else who had never seen it so we could figure out the run for ourselves. When we paddled to the take out we saw my dad for the first time in five hours. It turns out while he was hiking in a boulder gave way and he bruised some ribs! He hiked out after 15 minutes of rest and we relearned the lesson of never leaving someone by themselves on a class V run. That won't happen again. So it all turned out alright and I'm glad I got to do the run.
Photo by Ryan Morgan (RIP)


LWS Drano

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lower Wind

Here is a compilation of our last couple runs down the lower Wind, including Jean and John's first times down.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tubing Eagle creek

Alex and Nick and I headed up to Eagle Creek again this summer to tube the normal kayak run. I had kayaked it earlier in the year so I knew what we would be seeing. We put in with a throw and go at Skoonichuck, portaged on the trail the class two boulder garden section below the high bridge gorge and put back in right above punchbowl. It was a blast and is a fun low water alternative to kayaking. Between the three of us we ran every runnable drop except the 7 footer that lands on a rock shelf just above the bridge and the top drop of Skoonichuck. Nick even fired up punchbowl. Here is the video.

Monday, July 28, 2008

tubing and truss

Alex and I went tubing a few days ago and this video is the result. I think I got more beat up in two hours of tubing than I have ever while kayaking. On the Hymelator drop (with the four foot ledge), the landing is only two feet deep so we took big hits everytime we ran it. The drops were fun, but that one was a pretty tough drop for a tube. We had fun though. There is also a couple clips of Theron on the Truss that I shot last week. -Jacob

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

N.F. Clackamas

Jacob took Neil and I down the N.F. of the Clackamas on the first of June. It's a shame that this was the first time I'd been down it, because despite all the portages it was a lot of fun. I didn't get too much footage but the stuff I did get was mostly of Stairway to Heaven. Anywho, enjoy the clip! Oh...and thanks for letting me post on your blog Jacob, this is my belly flop into the blogisphere. ~Theron

Friday, June 20, 2008

Carnage run

I did the carnage run for the first time Wednesday. It was a good level at 3300. Nothing special to report except Toilet bowl is big! Like I don't think I saw anyone go straight into the gut of the bottom hole and go through. People where trying to surf it but it was throwing people around. I think Neil had the best luck in there and was putting on a good show. I got my first rodeo creeking session in this hole. I worked my way up the eddy so I could run it a second time. I dropped in with very little speed and didn't climb the pile enough to get through. I got stopped, pulled back, and threw a few ends before being pushed out the right side. It was a fun experience for me and I'm glad it happened, I was happy with how I reacted. Joe Bob's was reportedly a lot of work but again Neil lead the charge and was on the wave every other time I looked over there. I now have a hole in the bottom of my boat from Rock Creek that I need to fix. I apoxied it for the carnage run but it got scraped off, should be a fun fix. -Jacob

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rock Creek


Stream: This section of Rock Creek starts off with about a mile of class III-IV ending in a 7' ledge that would be challenging to portage (though a seal launch is possible).  Some easy whitewater leads to a right bend that drops into Heaven and Hell which can easily be scouted and portaged on the left.  Both drops neat scrutiny before a run, both have been run successfully numerous times.

The end of the portage will likely be the most exciting part of the run for people not running either of the two big rapids.  Here boaters slide down a fun chute and launch into the pool at the bottom, low stress and high fun.

                                                                 Rick Cooley picks up speed
                                                                       Photo: Matt King

More class III-IV continues down to a road bridge where Steep Creek Falls comes in from the right.  That drop was run a few times in the past, but sediment seems to have completely filled in the landing zone as of 2008.

Below this bridge the stream looses it's luster for a couple miles.  There is a small rapid here and there but mostly it's class II floating.  Higher levels move you through this section nicely, but if the level is low just consider it the price of admission and enjoy what scenery there is.

At the end of this long stretch the bedrock appears and there is a steeper class III rapid, do not enter this class III rapid without a game plan.  Just below it the river rushes over Three Swims Falls, not something you want to run without scouting.

There are a few small eddies on the left, catch whichever one you can and hop out quick so your buddies have somewhere to make their move.  This is not a place to push for "one more eddy".

There is a nice bench along the left side to scout and more likely portage.  This falls has a narrow line and has been run a number of times, but the unfriendly landing zone and proximity of a large boulder garden in the runout have most people shouldering along the left.  The boulder garden is worth a look, plenty of people put back in to run this fun part of the rapid.  Give the last hole some respect.  If you wish to portage the whole thing follow the bench under a small tributary falls and back to creek level.

Brandon Lake runs Three Swims Falls.

A post shared by Priscilla Macy (@missp_money) on

It is about 1 mile between Three Swims Falls and the take out bridge, with a few fun surprises including a long sliding rapid that is best run center/right or right.


Gage:  Rock Creek once had a gage that was available online from 2008-2013.  Currently only the gauge height can be ascertained, and even that must be done in person where Rock Creek flows under the Ryan Allen Rd bridge.

Here is a rough correlation showing the relationship between the gage height and cfs. 

 G.H                                    CFS

9.00    ..........    304
9.50    ..........    454
10.10   ..........    701
10.50   ..........    904
 10.80   ..........   1,050
 11.00   ..........   1,160
 11.50   ..........   1,490
 11.90   ..........   1,810

The EF Lewis @ Heisson can be used to estimate when Rock Creek will be in.  It's not a perfect correlation, but it's something. 1,000 cfs is minimum and correlates to about 500 cfs in Rock Creek.  Heaven and Hell is less intimidating at low flows, but the class II also loses it's punch.

2,000 cfs in the EF Lewis is a friendly medium and it can be run plenty higher.  Be cautious around Three Swims Falls at higher flows, the eddies are still there on the left but if you didn't know where you were they could be missed.

The foot gauge is under the Ryan Allen Rd bridge, 10' was a nice flow where the big drops were runnable class V, and the in-between was pleasant.  As levels drop Heaven and Hell becomes more appealing, but the stretch between Steep Creek and Three Swims starts to drag on.  If you do the run, help out the community and post the gauge height, date of the trip and a picture on the AW page.

The readings stop at 10.10, but this yard stick has been added to extend the gage.  The inches start at the 10.0' mark, so this part of the gage reads as inches + 10 feet. The top of the metal is at 22" or 11'10".

 There is also a rough gage on the right pylon of the bridge that extends the readings further if the metal portion is covered.

Access:  From the town of Stevenson (located on the North side of the Columbia River about 40 miles East of Portland), turn onto SW Rock Creek Dr and follow that to Ryan Allen Rd.  Follow Ryan Allen Road until you cross over Rock Creek.  Check the gauge height on the staff gauge here.

Then return along Ryan Allen Rd (SW) less than half a mile to Red Bluff Rd.  From this turn travel along Red Bluff Rd for 2.5 miles and turn right onto a spur road that leads down to the take out bridge.

To get to the put in, return to Red Bluff Rd and head upstream for 4.7 miles to the put in bridge (crossing Rock Creek at 3.2 miles). 

Original Write-up

Nick, Alex, and I ran Rock Creek(Stevenson) last weekend at low flows. EF Lewis at 900 and Clackamas at 3700. Nick was doing his first creek in a hardshell and his second time in a boat in almost 8 months. Alex was in the Aire which was leaking and we had to pump it four or five times on the trip but it was worth it. Nick hit a solid combat roll then worked his way out of a hole in the interesting section of class III bedrock that lead up to the first drop, an 8 foot ledge into a gorge. Alex and I cleaned it while Nick had his first swim when he hit his head on the right wall as he flipped. Next was Heaven and Hell, both drops looked good to go with the top one being a tough double boof, first away from the right wall, then a rock on the left. I ran this and came through fine. We scouted the main drop of Heaven and Hell for awhile before Alex and I decided to run it. Alex wanted to go first. He pitoned a bit into the left wall after the first drop but recovered in time to get far enough left to hit his line. He managed to stay in his boat and fight his way off the rock at the bottom to have a succesful run of his first class V drop! I went next and was a little worried about a second piton so I didn't hit the boof perfect but it worked fine and it was a super fun drop. Below here was a short manky class two stretch then the bridge. It had taken awhile to get to this point so we started making up time. We had heard that Three Swims falls sneaks up on you and is pretty close to the bridge so we where a little on edge but after a mile and a half we realized we had been mistaken and the boredom of low water rocky class two without extraordinary scenery set in. Eventually we made it to Three Swims and began the portage. I seal launched below the falls to tackle the final boulder garden. I had my only wobble of the day in the final hole which I dropped into with no speed and almost got stopped, but I made it through ok. Below here was one dangerous log that is hard to see before you are in the rapid, we all made the eddy on the right though at the right water level this may be a very interesting spot. The weird thing is there is no portage route. The walls are vertical, so the only way to do it was to swim to the log, get up on it, then pull our boats on and try and balance on the log or get in below and make an eddy on the right like Nick did. This spot would be awful at medium or medium low flows when the log is unrunnable still but the water is swifter upon getting back in the water or getting to the log. Be carefull next year because that log looks like its staying for awhile. Below here was one more fun slidey drop before the take out finally came into view. After this we headed to money drop to check that out. It was very big but very clean. I didn't realize what kind of a horizon line a seventy footer would make but its scary enough to make me certain I will never drop off something that big. We then checked out the upper falls and it looked better. At Money drop we saw one of the strangest things. Where the mudslide has been, the walls have become pretty vertical, and halfway up on a little ledge was a deer. It was stuck with a 20 foot drop to not vertical ground and no escape above him. We felt bad but there was nothing to do.

Well, for us it was a great day and I will be back next year when there is water in there again.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Clackamas River Festival 08'

A great festival with tons of boaters, 90+ degree weather, 9,000 cfs in the river, and well organized events, as well as a great after party complete with complementary food from Next Adventure and Ryan Scott's new video Local Scrapbook VI showing made for a great day at the river. It was so much fun. There was too much going on to right about so I made the video as usual. We found a fun playspot on fish creek with great eddy access that some people where asking about so that is in the video along with the big air ramp and some fun in the big ledge at Carter's. -Jacob

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Little North Santiam: Upper Opal

Photo: Priscilla Macy


Stream: Upper Opal is similar to the Classic run, but a little more serious and involves a hike instead of a walk to the put in.  The full run begins in Jawbone Flats, though sometimes people get tired of carrying their boat and put in at Sawmill Falls/Cascadios Los Ninos.

It's worth making the push up to Jawbone at least once, if just to check out out the town.  At the confluence of Battle Axe Creek and Opal Creek Proper (visible from Jawbone), the Little North Santiam River is formed and this is the beginning of the Upper Opal run.  There is some easy floating up here as the stream carves through one of the most beautiful portions of Oregon.  The whitewater quickly picks up and one seven foot horizon line (worth a look on your hike up) presents a fun slide.   

Less than 1/4 mile after passing under a bridge, the horizon line at Sawmill Falls/Cascadios De Los Ninos presents itself.  Most people scout on the left where there is an easy walking route if you wish to portage or do laps.  At first glance this appears to be a straight forward falls, and at medium levels and up it is.  However as levels drop you start to realize there are shallow spots all over the place on this falls so scout carefully.  Far right and far left are the worst.  The higher the level the less likely one is to land on a rock.

Alan Bergman right on target.  If flows are much below 1,100 cfs, there is a real chance of landing on a rock (under the veil in the photo) here too.  The boof flake marked by the orange arrow is good to go at all flows, though lining it up can be tricky so again, scout this drop thoroughly at all levels.

The whitewater picks up below Sawmill/Cascadios De Los Ninos though it never reaches true class V at the recommended levels.  At high flows there may be a couple rapids you would be forced to run blind that the typical Opal Creek boater would rather portage, so I'd stick with between 700-2,000 cfs unless you know the run well.

Below Sawmill/Cascadios De Los Ninos there is some scenic floating.  When things pick back up there will be some read and run and then a blind rapid with some large boulders that can be scouted and run on the left (second photo in this report).

The very next rapid is the nearly must-run Harvey Wallbanger.  Eddy out along the left bank (entering the island on the right side will dictate running the rapid blind) and walk downstream to take a peak for wood.  

                                       Looking down into Harvey Wallbanger from the scout.

There are no big moves in Harvey Wallbanger, just stay right and keep your boat pointed downstream.  There are two soft holes in the narrow bottom portion of the rapid, but I have never seen them give anyone trouble.

Jesse Shapiro lining up the two narrow holes.
                                                              Photo: Lucas Rietmann

Most people catch an eddy on the left just below these two holes and before the exit move.  For the exit move paddlers build up as much speed as can be mustered and ride a strong left stroke through a plucky hole into an alleyway.  It is possible to set safety here on the left side.  There is a large pool below in the event of a swim though for what it is worth, I have never seen anyone have trouble here.

                                                                  Ross George pulls through.
                                                                                Photo: Lucas Rietmann

The river gorges up again a short ways downstream for another fun rapid, both channels are fun, I try to stay off the far left wall though.   A short ramp below leads out of the gorge and attentive boaters will soon notice road abutments high on the right and get ready for Coyle's Boil.  The stream builds from class II-III along a river-right boulder bar here, as it turns back to the right there is a steep III+ rapid leading right into Coyle's Boil (portaged more often than not).  You must catch one of the eddies at the base of the III+ before going over the short drop that is Coyle's Boil.  People generally catch the river right one, then ferry over to river left to portage.

Eric Adsit ferries from river right to river left just above Coyle's Boil, with the III+ rapid visible just upstream.
Photo: Priscilla Macy

The line at Coyle's Boil.  
This one gets more runnable as levels increase above 1,000 cfs.
                                                                                  Photo: Priscilla Macy

The portage is short and easy on the left.  If you are the curious type, check out the mine shaft on river left.  You can make your way some distance back there.
                                                                                 Photo: Lucas Rietmann

There is a ledge just below Coyle's Boil that looks like it has a sweet boof on the right, do not take that line as it lands on a rock with face-rearranging capabilities.  Instead run center-right or center-left, it's worth a quick scout for the smoothest line if you don't have a guide.

A hundred yards of easy water lead to the final ledge.  If levels are up I recommend scraping down the shallow right side of the ledge.  If levels are lower check out the left side "Hypoxia Hole".

Take out in the pool below this ledge on the right and walk the road back up to the gate, or continue through Classic Opal.  Ambitious boaters with an early start sometimes try for Total Opal (Jawbone through Salmon Falls) by tacking on Opal Gorge.

Flows:  If you are showing yourself down this run without a guide for the first time my recommendation is 800-2,000 cfs in the Little North Santiam at Mehama.

5.3 on the Elkhorn Gauge is my low-end cutoff for Upper Opal.

Access:  Take I5 to Salem and head East on Hwy 22.  In about 22 miles turn left at a flashing yellow light onto N Fork Rd.  In about 15 miles the road turns to gravel, and at 21 miles you will reach a gate where you leave the vehicles, a location that has a $5 fee to park.  You will walk back to the this gate at the end of the day if you are only doing Upper Opal (this is rare, most people continue through Classic Opal).

If you are continuing through Classic Opal or Opal Gorge, refer to those pages for other take out options. 

To get to the put in from the gate, carry your boat past the locked gate up the gravel road about 3 miles to Jawbone Flat along a nice gravel road.  Put in wherever is clever in town, I usually choose to put in at the bridge over Battle Axe Creek.

Some people who tire of carrying their boat put in at Sawmill Falls/Cascadios De Los Ninos, which is an obvious feature about 2 miles into the hike.