Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lake Creek Slides

Photo: Lucas Rietmann


Stream:   This is a fun run for locals, with fun slides in the beginning (unusual for Oregon) and some boulder gardens in the second half (typical of Oregon).  The run can start at Triangle Lake, but most people put in at a bridge shortly downstream 44.1617, -123.5707 where a painted gauge is located (1.75' is a nice flow).

The slides section can be scouted from a nice walkway and mini-park at the end of the walkway.  This scouting area is accessed by parking here 44.1594, -123.573.

 The slides start out low angle, gradually tilting steeper as they approach the only vertical drop of the run (10-15').  The main line on this drop is down the center, what to do after landing is the biggest cause for pause.

When there was still a log in the main line people used to put in on river right at the lip of this drop (missing out on the low angle slides upstream) for a fun hop, skip and splash.

Joe Kemper running the right side of the first drop, back when there was still a log in the main line.
(log gone as of 2016)
Photo: Lucas Rietmann

The runout here is odd, but people bounce their way through.  Next is another fun ramp ending in a short drop, landing in an eddy on the left.

The trickiest slide is next.  Here a tough to scout (if flows are up) boulder garden pushes left at the lip of the slide which is not where you want to be.  Either make a quick portage of this lead in on the left or stay in control and drive back to the right through a couple small holes to run the final slide center or right and avoid a nasty log and root-wad on river left at the bottom.

It is possible to lap one or more of these slides, but generally not considered convenient enough to do a whole bunch of laps on all of them.

The pool below the final slide enters the boulder garden stretch, which is about half a mile long and blind parts should be scouted for wood but was portage free in 2016.

The boulder gardens are pretty steep and considered fun by most Willamette Valley boaters, but not by all.  The final drop in this section is the most unique and can provide exciting lines.

It's a short runout from here down to the take out bridge.

Flows:  The definitive gauge is the "Triangle Lake gauge" painted on the put in bridge, an ideal first time flow is just over 7.5'

 To ballpark what it will be at, use the Siuslaw Gauge near Mapleton.

8.5' is solid class V, 10' looks really wild and most wouldn't run it at that flow.  Others might.

Minimum is users choice, 7' is forgiving and scrapey.

To ballpark flows before heading out, use the Siuslaw Gauge near Mapleton.  Look for between 6' and 9' for friendly levels, though it goes much higher (looked doable for the elite at 18').

If you get there and it is too high for your taste, check out either the Play Run or Sweet Creek.

Access:  Find Triangle Lake on a map (West of Eugene).  The run begins immediately as the run exits the lake.  The take out is at a bridge about 1 mile downstream.  Refer to the following map.

Original write-up


We joined Nate Pfiefer and crew last weekend to check out the section of Lake Creek exiting Triangle Lake.  There have been many descents of this section, but no online documentation aside from a short video that is difficult to locate.  We wanted to make this section of stream more accessible to boaters so Nate wrote down the beta.

This section has got a lot of descents this year, and the general consenses is that it cleans up as the water starts to rise, but once the rocks are covered, it becomes hard class V in a hurry.   6.5' on the Siuslaw and Lake Creek estimate is the minimum based on rumor.  Emile also ran it years ago in a playboat on several occasions at 10-12' and said it was good to go, but they did not run the boulder gardens below the slides.  There are rumors of it being run even higher.

Here is a video of Kory and I running it in 2015 at about 7.7' on the Siuslaw Gauge (7.75' on the Triangle Lake gauge).                            0:00 > 1:30

Birthday Boating with Kory Kellum from PMacy on Vimeo.

This run is really not to be missed if you are a local, its short, but a total blast.  3 good slides and a half mile of 4/4+ boulder gardens.  The river carves through sandstone instead of the usual Oregon Basalt, providing unique rapids.


Noted on the trip:  Alsea Falls has a large log in it that is not leaving without some help.
UPDATE 2016:  The log is gone, but there is some wood in the runout.  Probably runnable.


joseph said...

Why is no online documentation a problem that need to be fixed? Some day all you bloggers will have spoiled the surprise for every run because you feel that you need to blog about every run you get on and tell everyone about it.

Nate Dogg said...

@Joseph, I'm sorry you feel that way, and you certainly don't have to read the reports if it's going to "spoil the surprise".

Surprisingly, yours is the only negative comment I have ever gotten in that regard, with every other one being very thankful and supportive. Certainly my goal (as author of Wheels & Water; different blog than this one) is to document my adventures with my friends, but also to bring attention to all the great runs in the area so more people can enjoy them -- similar to what a guidebook would do. It also helps others who might be coming to the state to boat.

Further, this is simply a labor of love for a sport that we are all passionate about, and which none of us are getting paid for.


Jacob said...

The nature of an online site is such that a person must be seeking the information to come across it. If a person wants the pertinent data for this run, they will now be able to find it.