Professor Paddle: To Robe or not to Robe
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Fry1982
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  Quote Fry1982 Replybullet Topic: To Robe or not to Robe
    Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 10:06pm
For Robe regulars, when's a good first time to get in this delectable treat of a canyon?

What do people usually want to feel comfortable on before they hit it up? (preferably closer to the border :) ...and is there a preferred first time level? Does it compare to MF Nooksack at all or completely different character/amped volume like it seems?

It's so close to BC and I always hear it's so good and runs in the winter...she's been on my mind for awhile now and I'm feeling the urge/time to do it up in the coming future. It'd be great to go down and run weekend laps on a Saturday/Sunday when mainland BC stuff isn't running and to avoid the expensive Vancouver Island ferry this coming fall/winter! Last time I was at CC Stilly I really started wondering...

Thanks,
Adam
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 10:55pm
5.3'-5.5' is the sweet first timer zone. Elf Boaters need not apply. Its a crappy run for ELF boat'n: prone to pitons, pins, and high speed hip checks. Since the rock moves around so much, 5.2' is the bottom end of a good, boatable flow. Its a lot smooter at 5.4'.

Middle Fork Nook is comparable in general difficulty, especially with a little push in it. There is always such an abundance of stuff to run from Robe south that I rarely get up to the Bham zone, to tell ya the truth. I'd say if you were comfortable on the Middle Frk Nook (both segments) you'd be in the pocket for Robe. I haven't ever managed to catch the Clearwater, but I hear that's the goods. Dufay knows the north end. Haven't heard from any of the Range Lifers and their extended posse, but they are dialed in up there.



Edited by jP - 24 Feb 2012 at 11:00pm
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water wacko
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 10:56pm
Hey Adam, Robe between 5.0-5.4 is generally a good first time flow. Not too pushy, the holes aren't too sticky and the pace is a little less intense. Robe is a great run if you're comfy going off verbal beta for the MF Nookie. 5.0=800cfs 6.0=1500 I guess that doesn't mean much but it gets pushy above 5.5 and above 6.0 you better be packin' yer A game. CC Stilly at 6.0 is an easier smaller version of Robe. Obviously Robe is much longer, 9 miles, and CC Stilly is much tighter than Robe. The best way to run it is behind someone who knows it. There are too many rapids to remember your first times down. This would not be the weekend to run it your first time. But keep an eyes on predictions, I would imagine it'll be in in the coming weeks. It's usually in when other creeks are low or locked out by snow. Hope that helps. Cheers.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 11:09pm
Originally posted by water wacko

This would not be the weekend to run it your first time. But keep an eyes on predictions, I would imagine it'll be in in the coming weeks.


Yeah, as far The Robe Watch is concerned, this weekend I'll be watching it from the comfort and safety of South Puget Sound. 8' or whatever it'll spike to makes me twitch. I don't want to twitch.

That 5.0' beta is old beta though. Sure, if you're desperate to run it, but 5.2' is the new 5.0'. Here's what I mean:

Everytime Robe gets a make over (its just having one this week) smaller junk rock in the bottoms of the channels move around randomly. There have been times when it's been clean at 5', but you're still gonna nail some unpleasant rock with your bow if you don't know the lines. Seriously, its better to make 5.2' a low water cut off, in general. Then if you show up and it still drops to 5.1' you'll still be somewhat fluid.

Garbage is junkier now than at some times in the past, though a new line Center Left has been cleasned out by the Gnomes permanently stationed there.

Most Peeps start backing off above 5.7'. But these days 5.7' seems to flow really clean and smooth. Almost a little less surgy than it used to. Avoid 5.7' when it's on the rise or you may get to the tunnel and find 6.2' or so. 6' and above gets run by half of the Robe Regulars who dig the extra Push and Power found in there at those flows. Flows at 7' and higher are quite rare.

Edited by jP - 24 Feb 2012 at 11:17pm
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 11:29pm
But to answer your question:

DEFINITELY RUN ROBE!!!
the next question is when. Its been running good moderate flows for weeks till this spike. It'll be in and out till the earlier end of Melt Season.

What sections of the Ashlu do you run? If you're comfortable on the Mine section you'll be fine on Robe. If the Mini Mine is a handful or a challenge then you may want to hold off and boat around a bit. Maybe run what you run but at higher flows. If you've made the Comittment to The Box, you're probably good to go from 5.5'-5.9' for your first time on Robe.

Ask Stephano up there. You know him, dontcha? He's a Canadian Guest Rober-- I've seen him down here several times. He's always been solid out there I've never seen him have any issues.

Edited by jP - 24 Feb 2012 at 11:30pm
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 11:45pm
CC Stilly is a cool run, but its so short. Its also much more simplified than Robe, but it does give you a taste of the Stilly. Robe has a wider bredth of variety throughout its 20-30 rapids. Kinda makes the CC Stilly run seem plain and bland by comparison.

I mean, you got some big-water style flushing rapids full of low ledge holes, and you have some steeper more technical drops where you can boof and catch air more than CC has. Lately dude, I don't feel a need to paddle much else.

Bret's right though: if Canyon Creek at 6' on the S. Stilly guage isn't too powerful for ya, Robe will be fun. I'm addicted. But its too high for tomorrow. Luckily the Green is Crankin
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  Quote Fry1982 Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2012 at 11:57pm
I've only ever done mini-mine on the Ashlu, a lot of boating ago as well, and found it fun, easy class IV compared to stuff I'd done at the time. I wanted more experience before stepping it up (that was August I think, only time I ever went up there besides one trip to Fear Canyon of Elaho close-ish by since).

Stephano's the one who got my goal on in December when he was canvassing for Robe-goers, at the time I wasn't feeling the step up stage either, it's my confidence on some class IV/IV+ stuff in the last couple months that has got me thinking bigger now, but him and some others from here are definitely my go to-ers for my level vs.

But best to go to the locals for some beta as well I thought...hell maybe I can combine it with a canyon creek race trip in April! ..now there's an idea...the more Washington boating I can do the better :)

...and I'd love to hit CC Stilly with good water in it.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 9:35am
Cool- another idea would be to hit CC Stilly again at upper 5's or 6' on the guage (6' on the Stilly guage is actually a pretty fat flow for Canyon Creek Stilly). Then save an hour or so and go hike the "Old Robe Historical Trail". It will lead you down to the tunnels and you can scout the first 1/4mi, which will give you a good idea of what the whole run has to offer. Start visulizing it and you'll find yourself in there before long stomping your lines.

On second thought, I guess if you scouted it at 6' you'd see big fat flows in there so mabe you'd want it to be lower when you hiked in. It's not a long hike and its a beautiful little adventure hike to share w/ the girlfriend or whoever. You can scout T1, T2, Last Sunshine, Hotel California, even Hole In The Wall pretty easily, including all the non stop class IV+ inbetween.

I recommend any CC Stilly trips in the mid 5's be bundled w/ a hike into Robe for anyone aspiring to progress as a boater. Robe has its gnarly aspects, but once you build the skill sets to be in there confidently, it is a great laboratory to hone one's skills, and just an endless amount of fun action.

Now the graph has updated (I always take it w/ a grain of salt), it's a more blunt spike. Not as tall or sharp as its been the last few days. It could be in the Upper 5's tomorrow. But the Green is still 5700, so I may stay near it all weekend for some bigwater fun.
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  Quote portagebro Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 10:00am
Off-topic message for JP: I saw Tony from our Selway trip last month and he wants to invite you on a multi-day ID trip.  Call me: for to five, ate too seven, three to one ate
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 10:10am
Thanks, Jim! I'll call ya after I get off the Green today-
should be 5,500. Man this week I'm getting caught up on all the upper flow ranges in there that I've been wanting to check out but have been somewhere else!
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  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 12:44pm
As a recent first time Robber (I've actually ran it 1.5 times. Long story), I've seen it both times between 5.5-and 5.3. My second time I ran it with a solid group at 5.45 falling to 5.35 by the time we took off and I would say that was a perfect first time for me. All the boofs and lines were wet but yet the rapids didn't feel too pushy or running together with lots of green eddies to help slow down the trip and help get a good look at what's going on.

There are a lot of rapids so your best bet is to find a group that knows the lines well and is willing to give you effective verbal beta. I walked T-1, Faceplant, and Landslide.

Robe is Rad, it's a Washington classic for a reason.
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 5:14am
Meeting at noon for a lap. Should be around 5.7 at the put in falling to 5.55. Gotta love the Robe Math.
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  Quote Ellingferd Replybullet Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 8:04am
Fry,

I second that robe should be run for your first time at no lower than 5.3 (that being an absolute minimum. 5.4 to 5.5 is perfect for a first time as I think it is actually easier at those levels. Below 5.3 the water starts to move in different ways through the rapids and doesnt flow you through the rapids like it does with more water. It starts getting harder again at 5.7, but 5.4 to 5.6 is really the sweet spot.
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  Quote zenofww Replybullet Posted: 28 Feb 2012 at 8:09am
5.3-5.5 is definately a great start for robe canyon.

Some other comparable rivers nearby would be:

Mf nooksack canyon at 350-600 cfs.

Norrish creek. near Mission. There is a stick guage at the take-out bridge that changes constantly but I go up there when the MF Nooksack guage reads between 500 and 1000cfs

Sowaqua creek. just outside Hope is good around may and june.

Talk to Ryan at Western Canoe and Kayak in Abbotsford. He has run all these creeks more consistently then I have and often "organizes" trips to the norrish and sowaqua.

dig around these websites for more info:

http://fraservalleywhitewater.com/
http://www.liquidlore.com/
http://www.bellinghamwhitewater.org/
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water wacko
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 28 Feb 2012 at 4:48pm
And would you look at the predictions...
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman
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  Quote Fry1982 Replybullet Posted: 29 Feb 2012 at 12:04am
haha yeah thanks for the input!

Ryan is one of the guys I often get out with, I've done Sowaqua and the only reason I haven't hit up Norrish yet is I haven't caught it when flows are in.

Thanks,
Adam

...and yes look at those predictions :)
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