Monday, June 30, 2008

Still Trying

So just as i was about to unload a ton of pictures the blogger started acting funny and my internet time ran out. Instead of sorting any of it out, i decided to go kayaking instead - 5 days spent on the Upper Cherry...i'll get you some of those pictures later but i'll just keep thing in chrono order for the moment.

Hello, i am a giant tree

Hello, i am a giant Slide

So we did some running around for a while, a lot of driving, a bit of getting skunked and in the end we put on the South Merced, a run that only our Kiwi companion Jono had done before. As it turned out Jono forgot most of the lines and the "mandatory portage" was "just around this bend" on at least 6 occasions. The river was great. A bit more relaxing than some of the other we've done. Classic boulder gardens, a few big slides, awesome camping, and of course a long ass paddle out just to make keep you honest.

Evan on Super slide (i think thats the name of the drop). keep your nose right.

Me sliding on some rock

Me about to test out the was 98% lean, there was a tongue the whole way through the rapid.

ok, so its coming to an end kind of short again, the library is closing and they just shut the lights off...will pick this up in a bit

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alright, you guys deserve more than 1 post every 2 or 3 weeks so im attempting to dump at least a months worth of pictures on you here. Spend a moment and check them out. I've been playing around with stitching photos together as well so i got some cool shots - some average ones as well.
Its been quite and epic month since the Kimshew, this is the low down on how its gone:

  • West Branch of the Feather - average - dont bother.
  • 1 week break and back up to Corvallis – where I did some awesome high water snowmelt boating on EF Rock Creek, Canyon Creek OR, and Opal proper.
  • Back down to Cali only to get skunked by flows and weather for a while – we tried for Super Dink but got 35 degrees and no go so we headed south for warmer weather
  • EF Kaweah – Finally with my new boat
  • 3 day Royal Gorge – lowish but awesome
  • 2 Day South Merced
  • Attempts at Fantasy only to be denied
  • Lots of sitting around and eddying out in Coloma
  • Drop Jono off at the Sac Airport and head back to Corvallis for another week off of boating to hang with the crew, watch Jeff defend his Worm Hole Physics Masters and to watch anna break her finger in 2 places while we checked out a new climbing spot up the North Fork of the Middle fork of the Willamette.
  • Back to Cali and 3 days of hiking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne while a certain few boat the 30 mile run inside Yosemite Park. This was quite the hike, check out the pictures.
  • Charge down to the San Joaquin for a first known decent of the lower 3 mile of the NF San Joaquin. This was pretty epic and gripping at times. We confluenced with the Devils Post Pile section of the San Joaquin at flows 2 to 3 feet higher than standard levels…Luckily we the 6 miles we spent on the river only contained the “Class 4 Gorge” which there wasn’t much class 4 to be found…I think it was buried under another few feet of water and if I had shoved a piece of coal up my ass before the confluence it would have been a diamond by the time we took off the main for of the SJ at Cassidy’s Crossing just above the Crucible Gorge. The trip took 2 days in all with a 1-2 hour hike down on day one and a 4 hour brutal hike out on day two. All said the run was amazing – lots of technical boulder gardens, some steep completely walled in gorges and a some portaging as to be expected.

Here’s a ton of pictures, enjoy.

Big Fluffy on Opal at high water. It looked and felt more like BC than our Oregon backyard. 100 degrees on a huge snow pack will do this to ya though...yeee haw

A throw and go on Opal - unheard of! except at 2 or 3 grand with the wood in Big Fluffy canceling out the seal launch option. Jeff's probing the depth for us on this one.

EF Rock Creek with too much wood and a little too much water to run the whole section, but plenty clean and plenty full to toss ourselves off the 25footer...Me, Jeff, Richard, Rick and EJ all fired this baby off and had a helluva good time doing it, good lines by all with good safety and good pics - epic.

Getting me some in my GUS - I love you Pugsy

EJ keeping his back safe with one of the prettier and most controlled plugs i've seen...good shit.

While the rest of us continued to enjoy the big ass tree. General Sherman is what they call this beaut. you could make 60 homes with the amount of wood in him...but you cant cut him down cause the woods so fragile it shatters under its own weight when it falls....good thing mother nature figured out a way to save these giants from being logged to extinction.

More big ones - tree photos and many river photos are from Jono Ramsey.

We moved on North and squeaked in a run on the Royal Gorge of the American. We were 1 of only two groups to get on this run this year due to weird flows and a short window. It was a tad low but it treated us well and the adventures were had. One of our group decided to run the big falls in the gorge solo and blew up on impact off the 60footer. He swam to shore only to watch his boat and paddle float off the next 20 footer and into a cave while his only option was hiking a crack 100 feet out of the walled in gorge to escape...scary moment for sure.

The First major gorge - 40ft entrance, 60ft middle falls and a 20 ft exit (not shown). this was the seen of the crime for one of 2 destroyed boats for the trip.

Evan lining up the 40 ft entrance falls...this was a good morning run for both Chris K and Evan, way to fire it up with drowsy eyes...i took the high left line with my boat on my shoulder.

Chris K Doing his thing

Lizzy English rallying a walled in mini-gorge with 55ft rattle snake falls just downstream

Jono and his tiny red Mamba bringing some light to the Royal Gorge

Evan showed us the lines and was spot on with his beta...charging this fun 15 foot slide to boof slot...times were good.


hris K and Rattlesnake Falls, they seem to be a good match

Evan seeing if he's a good match with Rattlesnake as it turned out they worked out great.

Scott's Drop.....blah, no thank you

I called this one the Chiropractor falls...It was closest to vertical without being vertical falls i have ever slide boof possible here, manditory plugger and when i hit i got pealed open like a can of tuna, i heard my neck crack 5 or 6 times before i surfaced...ouch, but in a good way...

Evan, getting his plug on

Do the dry your drysuit jig - drying out and warming up on after day 2 on RG of the American.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Big Kimshizzle

The Big Kimshew has earned itself some lure over the last few years with some epic stories of destroyed boats, massive swims and even a helicopter rescue for a serious head injury. Less than a mile into the run our group of 11 had had already ticked off 4 broken paddles and the trail of carnage continued.
We were a huge group with lots of virgins to the run and a limited number who had set their paddles in the Big Kimshew's waters before. We split up into two groups from the get go and in the interest of making some space between those behind us, i tacked onto the front group and the shit began from the first eddy-out.
Tayler Robertson lead our group and was spot-on with his simple beta. Had i looked at any of these rapids i would have been shitting myself but with simple beta like "Start left, move right and look for a boof flake" the what-if fears of "that crack" or "that hole" or "that cave" never really materialized and we made quick progress of some of the biggest drops i had ever run (blind or with scouting). The first,and one of the few, thankfully, moves that i missed was 4 or 5 drops into it where we all bobbed in a small river left eddy. Looking downstream our view through a crack between large boulders didn't reveal much except for a large amount of gradient being lost over a short distance. Gulp. "Slide through this crack and then start moving right and keep you're head up for the horizon line, it'll be busy in there".
Sure, Move right, busy, find the horizon line - i can do that....Plop, scramble, brace, scramble, drive - shit, shit, that was the....hooooorriiiiizon, and then i went over the handle bars off the first 20footer after prematurely boofing what i thought was the horizon line, only to launch myself out then reconnect and free-fall for long enough to see that i was still river center and not doing a good job of things. Thats how the first quote of the day seemed to form itself. "I hope this goes well" seemed to replay over and over as we bombed down slides, through holes, and boofed our hearts out through blind rapid after blind rapid just "hoping this goes well" the whole way through.
Its always a dilemma to run something blind for the first time. On one side, you only get the chance to run a drop blind once in a life time and if you look at it you'll never get that opportunity again. It also heightens the excitement when you drop over a horizon line and your first views of the whitewater come from cockpit level and your commitment to the drop has already been made. Yet the other side of the story reads to the more cautious, with a quick view of a drop you can see the line, you know the move and you're way more likely to run it clean...I guess it all comes down to how much you trust your friends beta, what the consequences of a missed line are and what your comfort level is...either way, its still good shit.
So back to the Kimshew and the 2nd quote of the day "Go where i go, dont go where i dont go". I almost chuckle rethinking how simple the day's beta seemed. Although following the leader can be realistically extremely challenging, the idea of it is actually quite simple - Go where i go, dont go where i dont go. And so was the moto for the bombing through some of the long, complicated and often sieved our boulder gardens on the Kimshew that are scattered at random between large bedrock drops.
The day went on with bits of carnage here and there. With the number of significant drops littered down this run you can more or less expect the rivers wrath to rein down on you at some point during the day. Korbulic fired up the big triple drop after watching Ben Stooksberry style his line, unfortunately things didn't go as well for Chris and "Backwards and nearly upside down" would be a more fitting name for the drop after Mr. K ran it and broke his boat...OOOOOPPPPPPPSS. Ha, he was thankfully alright after getting fished out of an unescapeable pocket eddy , and so now we can laugh about it.
Anyways, enough talking. The only thing left to say is that this creek is so good that it ends with an epic 15 foot boof 100ft from the take-out after 4 hours of epic paddling already.
Not too many pictures got taken since we routed most of the rapids and didn't get out of the boat much. What i've got is a small compilation of pictures from both me, Jono and Darin McQuiod after a couple different laps down the river.


When the word gets out that the Kimshew is running people flock

Only 2 ran it that day, only 1 ran it well :)

Kimshew's revenge - the attack of the butt-crack boat.

Me on Kimshew Falls - phote by DM

Frenchies-Forty and Korbulic dominating

Grunting my way through this one - photo by DM

The Final Boof into the final pool