0 props Topic: Colorado boaters coming to NW, need beta Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 8:20am
3 Colorado boaters are coming up the last week of March to paddle. None of us have been here before, but we are solid IV/V paddlers, and comfy with not having a guide (minus green truss). Would anyone be able to give me some beta on wood and private properties for these creeks we are looking at running? Any issues with these runs that not having a guide would cause?
Canyon Crk (WA) Wood jam is gone?, run left at Toby. EF Lewis (horseshoe falls - private on right, anything else) Copper crk, (final 5, doable or not??) (backup option, EF has to be running high.) Upper Wind Farmlands / green truss / middle (major wood reports, current status? Where to find a guide/group to paddle the truss with?)
Opal (OR), Lower (exact directions? something a bit better than oregankayaking) (private property/takeout issues?) Opal (OR) gorge run? - (private property/Un Un rapids?)
We will be there March 24-30. Also, we will be bike shuttling everything, any roads that you don't suggest a bike to use?
Y'all stay away! All this powder, beautiful whitewater and beer is "ours"!
Liquidguy told me you guys were coming out here. We may still try to rally and boat with you guys if we can swing it. I'm gonna remind him again. Maybe we can help with shuttle for some stuff. Josh, I've met you in Crested Butte before I believe.
Copper Creek and the private oroperty issues should not be understated. To quote a long time local boater up in that drainage, "If you aren't going to run the Final Five, stay off of Copper Creek".
When you scout Final Five, like Jed said be quiet and discreet. No yelling. The property owner doesn't like it when boaters are up on the canyon rim portaging. Scout quickly and quietly.
Rumor has it the property owner has brandished and or fired a gun off in the past (I can't remember the details but there have been discussions about it on this forum if you dig for it). Suffice to say it is easily the most notorious private property issue on Washington's WW runs.
Yeah, the Truss is F'd w/ wood. Not sure bout Farmies. LW supposedly is more manageable.
Robe is 4hrs north, but straight up quality, and frequently running. If its running and you make it up chances are some of us will be out there and can show you down easily enough. It's measurably harder than the Truss, tho- more like LW in difficulty, but much different character. Maybe its Colorado class IV though- I hear that sh*t you got down there is Gnars.
I ain't lookin for no adventures, I just wanna do a little kayaking...
If you like IV-V, and you're coming in March, here are some things you might consider that are a little more off the beaten path:
The Olympic Peninsula: TONS of very high quality IV/V, without the crowds. SF Skokomish can be IV+ with judicious portaging. Matheny Creek is some of the best IV in the state, especially if you can get into the upper. Fools Canyon of the Satsop seems to be gaining ground as a classic out there. Other good runs on the OP are EF Humptulips Narrows (III but A+* scenery) and the short hike in for Rica Canyon on the Elwha (no idea of takeout complexities re the dam removal)
Closer to PDX, the Gray's is a stellar run with 3 big rapids and a tendency to get big when it rains. Hagen Creek in the Washougal drainage is IV+ creeking with some stellar waterfalls/slides. Easily combo'd with the NF/WF Washougal (which are the same river, but labelled inconsistently).
WF Hood and Little Klickitat are Hood River area runs that might be worth considering. Eagle creek if you don't run Metlako or Skoonichuck is pretty friendly and otherwordly in terms of sheer beauty.
Depending on the timing you have, there are multiday trips possible on the upper and lower des chutes, grande ronde, klickitat, john day, and more obscure goodies like Joseph Creek, Imnaha, White river, Donner und Blitzen, etc. If you like multiday wilderness III+, late march in NE Oregon is as good as it gets in the region.
And I'll add Canyon creek is tops, one of the highest quality, lowest bullsh*t runs around. There's an upper run detailed on oregonkayaking.net that is also good though less often done.
Re Final five on Copper Creek, that sequence is so good. 7 food sliding ledge into 8 foot punchbowl pourover into fast slide into 90 degree headwall into a canyoned out pool above a sticky double drop. One of my favorite rapids anywhere. Except the that drop though, there's 1 little ledge and a 2 foot- 8 foot - 18 foot sequence. The rest of the run is pretty much manky II-III. I wouldn't put it top of my list, it's an intro to creeking run for people who want easy to portage step-up rapids. you'll wish you'd run laps on canyon creek instead.
Dood! you're going to love the PNW! Sounds like you are designating Portland as your trip epicenter.
-Canyon creek is pretty good, though it is short and the rapids are fairly simple. However, it would be a great into to PNW boating- beautiful canyons, usually a good crowd, easy access, lots of info. There is actually a good right-side line on toby's. You enter the far-right slot and fade off the left side of the big boulder that all the water is pilling onto. Make sure you land flat though! Best/Hardest line on the river.
-EF Lewis will be a cakewalk for you; beautiful though. You could probably do this and CC in a day. Alternatively, you could do this one and copper in a day as well if the levels are right. Personally, I think Copper is one of the coolest, most beautiful basalt canyons around, and the drops on it are WAY better than ANY of the drops on Canyon, despite what anyone says. However, the access issues are real and serious. This one is going to be very level-dependent, since the last drop of the committing final five gorge has a stomping hole at any flow. I would say a good flow to combine EF and copper would be something like 2100-2200 on the EF gauge, dropping after a storm without any spikes or anything. I went into Copper one time at around 3000 EF gauge and while I didn't scratch down it, we portaged the final five. pointless.
-Upper wind is a great run, and a good columbia gorge class IV run. It starts out awesome and then the rapids disappear, but it is still quite scenic. It should be in almost certainly. I would say 5-6 feet on the gauge would be class IV flow, while 7.5 feet on the gauge is a class-V-whatever-you-do-don't-swim flow.
-Pharmlands is supposedly good with caution, and I would highly recommend it if you can't get on the Truss, which is quite probable. Beautiful canyons, cool Truss-like rapids, a couple of good harder drops, and a lot of flatwater. I haven't been in since the storm, but supposedly it is managable with caution.
-Opal is the awesome, Oregon class IV version of the Ohanepecosh. Supposedly the takeout road at 3 pools is washed out, so you may have to hike up that which would be athletic, but doable I think. Check the snow level before you go, as the access road could be snowed out, though it will likely be open. Basically, you drive to a trailhead on the only road up the canyon and then hike 0.5 miles in on the only trail and take a right. You will see a small, defunct gold mine on your right, and this is where you put in. Be careful until you are past the class V drop. I don't think this one is wooded out, but be careful anyway. going in about 1200 on the gauge is going to make the canyon a lot more pleasant, though the class V waterfall will have a big hole. About 1500 on the gauge and you can run an upper, harder 1.5 mile section above the normal put-in. I haven't run the canyon, but supposedly it is good lower.
-As for the little white, sounds like you may want to stay off of it. Since you said you are a IV/V boater, I think it may be more than you want to bite off, especially since it will likely be relatively high while you are here (3.6 ' or greater). You can hike into part of getting busy and see for yourself, though.
-Hagen /NF Washougal is a great run for a competent class IV-V boater. The hagen part is short, but it has a great mini-OBJ slide on it. The NF part is cool too. T After hagen dumps into the NF there will be lots of IV boogie and two bigger drops. Teakettle (which comes up IMMEDIATELY after the confluence) is fun, and the crack is one of my favorite drops in the PNW, although you will want to be sure you don't blunder into it; you can eddy out on the left and scout the obvious horizon line. If you run it, I recommend floating down below the normal takeout, as it is gorgeous and has some cool rapids. There is a mandatory portage early on though, maybe within the first quarter of a mile. Eddy out on the left and space out. This entire run will probably be good when everything else is too high.
-I would also suggest doing Panther creek if the wind gets high (~7.5+). It is an awesome continuous creek that drops at ~250 ft/mile and has the exact same geology of gettin' busy on the little white, only it is continuous class IV/V. I don't know if it is free of logs, but I suspect it is since the Wind is so clean. but Oregon Kayaking has a good writeup of this one as well. Steep creek + big water + throw and go portage. It also has a gauge on https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/wrx/wrx/flows/station.asp?sta=29G060 .
-DEFINTELY do the Greys. Actually, I sort of prefer this one to CC lewis. Good boulder gardens with three bigger rapids set in a canyon, only 1.5 hours from Portland. There is a direct gauge here https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/wrx/wrx/flows/station.asp?sta=25B060#block2) though some people use the Naselle gauge as a proxy. On the direct gauge, I think between 1200-1500 should be alright. The section of the Greys that you run is a bit upstream of this, and a significant portion of this flow comes from another sizeable trib.
Anyway, that's my $0.02 on the Portland area. Clearly, there is a TON of stuff to run in the NW. I paddle quite a bit in CO back in the day, and loved it! Hope y'all have a good time here.
Shoot me an email (email@example.com) if you want any more info.
Thanks for all the beta. Just what I was looking for. Glad my research about right on.
Horton/slickhorn...thanks for the extra runs, we'll be looking into them. I'll likely PM you as well if I would like more info.
JP...Colorado is gnars for sure! sh*tty rock, lots of it, and a whole lot less water! Good stuff though.
If it was prime boatn season, we would be solid V paddlers, but coming off the couch on a not so good ski season, I'll take the IV/V runs instead. But come this summer, I'll likely be back to hopefully get Truss/LWS/anyother V goods in the area.
Flows are all over the place. Is this about standard for this time of year? We are still a week from coming, so there is a chance that they could drop or go big?
Either way, we're coming to play, and with so many more options, its all good.
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