Friday, September 27, 2013

BC Beta

Looking back on my 3 kayaking trips to BC, there is one outstanding part of every trip that I wish I could avoid.  That is driving through Vancouver.

Vancouver is a beautiful town that is reportedly a delightful place to spend time in.  The issue for me is my destination has always been beyond and when nearing the end of a sizable drive, one of the last things I enjoy doing is finding my way through a large city with many stop lights.  Even when conditions are ideal (2:30 in the morning) I find this part of the drive trying on my patience.  5:30 on a Friday afternoon is indescribable.

Fortunately the last time we were up there we received some solid beta from Dan Patrinellis that avoids Vancouver proper altogether.  The first thing to realize is that the sign system appears to make the assumption everyone who travels into BC has the goal of visiting Vancouver, even if they are on their way to Whistler/Squamish or beyond.

The way to circumnavigate this fate is to follow the route indicated on the map below and avoid the Peace Arch border crossing.

Same map zoomed in to show the border crossing.

Driving hwy 15, you will eventually see signs that warm you are about to cross a toll bridge.  While it is indeed a toll bridge, a sign just before you cross will inform you must go online if you wish to pay the small fee.  If you do not, sometimes they will send you a bill in the mail, sometimes nothing comes of it.  For me, it has been 6 trips over the bridge and no fee.

Now that you have arrived at your destination faster than anticipated, maybe you have time for a quick lap on the Box!

Another enjoyable edit by Ryan Cole.  This one of our September 14, 2013 trip to the Ashlu at 21 cms.

TheBox from Ryan C on Vimeo.

* Willy Dinsdale has taken the 543/15 route a number of times.  He said one of the times he received a request in the mail to pay his fee.

* Nate has also received one request in a handful of trips to BC


Thursday, September 5, 2013


Tatlow, very much like the Little White, has been accurately described in lore and on the internet.  1 mile of 95% very high quality bedrock rapids, and thanks to the internet there are no surprises on the river aside from a trashy boulder garden near the end.  The hike in is steep but short, Willy and I missed the place to descend (my mistake) so hiked too far and followed a rivulet down that put us in just above the normal put in.  All the necessary information for this run is already well documented.  The only info I would like to pass on here came from a person visiting from Germany named Bobby.  He let me know that Wall Drug is very soft so it is not necessary to tuck, both Willy and I agreed after our turn on the rapid that afternoon.

The run is very short so a good option is to use it as an alternate put in for the Ashlu.  There is a class 3 stretch between Tatlow and the Mine run that allows a paddler to regain any energy lost earlier in the day.  The mine run starts with two large ledges, the second of which had a powerful hole.  Below here is the entrance to the Mine Rapid.  This rapid is very large and is not commonly run.  The portage around the whole thing on the left is in the top ten hardest portages I have done.  As it turns out I took the less common route, there is a shorter, less strenuous portage where a boater can walk only the crux and run the bottom.  Willy ran the whole thing and I watched through the trees from high above as he charged into the largest hole I have ever seen anyone paddle into.  He was violently thrown around for 10-15 seconds before flushing and rolling up.

Below this are a handful of quality rapids with powerful features.  I felt this section was a step above Tatlow in difficulty, but my impression may be skewed by my discomfort with large holes.  As I made the mental transition from low water creek to powerful river I began to thoroughly enjoy the run.  Willy remembered the rapids well and did a great job leading me down.  I feel this section is overlooked and believe if it were in the states would be highly sought after.  There is one very sticky hole at the bottom of a ramp, but it allows passage on the right side.  This feature is located just after an 8' broken slide/ledge.  There is also a portage a ways into the run.  This can be identified by a tiny creek coming in from the right at the apex of a slight left turn that had flagging (a common and appreciated practice in BC).  The portage isn't too long, 15ish minutes with a trail.  It is time to head back down to the stream when you see a fixed rope heading down a gully.  Below here were a few more fun rapids before the reservoir.  The mini mine run had a really pretty gorge and a couple rapids, then we were at the 50/50 bridge.  I had enjoyed our long day and was not interested in tainting it by making mistakes in Box Canyon.  Willy had been kind enough to get out and scout with me a couple times on the Mine run, but now that I was no longer part of the picture he was able to return to his style of boating and rallied from the 50/50 bridge to the take out without getting out of his boat, nearly beating me there in my car. 

The day before we got there Dan and Robby rafted Tatlow.  They reported having a very fun trip aside from a spill in Wall Drug.

Bob from Germany photo credit.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Wiki #7

My roommate Pat and I headed north to visit our Earth Science friend Kara in Rainier, WA over winter break. I thought maybe Ill bring the IK and see if there is anything worth exploring. An hour or two looking at the maps and an exploratory run had been paved out complete with clean 25'er.

The run required a 2.5 mile hike in past a Weyergaeuser gate, then a short bushwhack once passed the abandoned park and some smooth talking to access. The falls was great and totally worth it! Below the gorge the stream gets flat with some wood portages. I saw an old dirt road on the right after a mile so took out and hiked back to the main road, followed by another mile hike out in order to meet Pat and Kara, but there is bridge access too.

The next day we rounded off the trip with a day at White Pass before a 6am departure the next morning to get Pat back for a day of mountain biking in Monmouth.

Deschutes and Rainier on the same trip! (I'm not just talking about the beer)

Video on Vimeo

Wiki 7 from Jacob Cruser on Vimeo.