Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rio Carhuello with Demshitz

I'm settled in here in town, working with the best people in town
(Mauricio, Ema and Rodrigo) and sharing a casa with Jared and Todd. We loaded up and headed out to the Rio Carhuello, a super-steep micro-creek that rarely has enough water to run. Before putting on, Jared and I gave a thorough look at the manky drop at the take-out, which had never been run before. It appeared to be "runnable."
The Carhuello is famous for its incredibly stacked Cuatro-Drop, and after styling clean lines through that crux section, we were fired up to give the take-out drop another look. Jared decided it needed to be done, and he put-in to run the clean but steep entrance rapids. He caught a tight eddy at the lip, took a moment to steady his nerves and sent himself flying off of kicker rock into the manky mess at the top of the falls. We both thought it to be possible to make it right, into the deeper channel, but the unforgiving seams at the lip of the drop sucked him into the ugly side, which eventually landed on some rocks. Fortunately for El Diablito, his kayak took most of the impact, but his left elbow also took an exreme impact. 8 stitches later and a couple of beers into the night, Demshitz is fine. He'll be back on the stouts in a week.
As Rodrigo says, "Bring your balls...and your elbow pads. You gonna need 'em."

Los Piscoleros return to Tres Saltos!

Tyler Bradt...Just his size.

Todd Richey with his first run off The Salto of Tres Saltos. photo by Diablito

This was my 6th run off of the mighty falls. So good. photo by Diablito

EG always brings steeze to the stouts. photo by Diablito

The Diablito, Jared Seiler, perfecting the paddle toss method.

Adrenaline Rush Sturges. The man, the myth, the legend.

I finally made it back to the promised-land that is Pucon, Chile. This big one in the Tres Saltos waterfall park is a mandatory mission for anyone who loves big, clean waterfalls. This was my first stop after my arrival, and I will happily return!
All of the boys put on a good show, and Tyler even ran her twice. We were missing our local legend, Rodrigo Tuschner of Kayak Pucon, but I'm sure we'll see more of him out on the rivers and creeks here as soon as he finishes teaching the local raft guide classes.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Upper Cherry '09

more photos on day way

Fantasy Falls '09

One of my favorite LVM moments of zen is when Willie Kern sits at the put-in for Fantasy Falls and says something like, "I did it once at high water and there was more water than this. I did it once at low water and there was less water than this."

I had never done it before, but I'm pretty sure we put-on somewhere on the "lower than this" end of the spectrum. Regardless, the Mekolumne Wilderness is a mystical place full of rugged character. The sun shone bright each day and the stars rocked out each night. All of the classic rapids were fun and exciting. The camping in there is all-time. Lane Jacobs, Dan and Tom Simenc, Andy Maser and I snuck in a run the day after we jumped off West Cherry.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

West Cherry Creek, June '09

The boys take a look from the ridge.

California. Hollywood. Baywatch. Big city life. The OC. The Dude. Oceanside. The Cruz. The Bay. Norcal. Grateful Dead. 2pac. West siiiide! Oranges. Avacadoes. Grapes. Hops. Marijuana. Farmers. Loggers. Chicanos. Gringos. Gangstas. Hippies. Rednecks. Movie stars. Shooting stars. Death Valley. Sequoia. Mammoth. Yosemite. Tahoe. Big sur. Chico. Shasta. Trinity. Humboldt. Redwoods. Mendocino. Sonoma. Traffic. Waves. Waterfalls. Trails. Mountains. Trees. Desert. Meadows. Wilderness. Granite. Sunshine.

It's a start, but certainly not enough to do justice to a place so diverse in landscape and in culture. Considering all of this diversity, it strikes me that we, as kayakers, search for the one thing that all of California's alpine rivers share in common - granite slides and waterfalls. And rather than immersing ourselves in the busy streets of the big cities, or looking for luck on a movie set or for love in one of California's many beautiful coastal towns, we find ourselves lost on dirt roads and passed out on granite slabs with no one else but the friends we came with, the stars and the river and the bears and the mosquitoes.
California Bonzai!

Inspired by a decade of LVM reports and gnarly first-hand accounts from friends, more and more boaters make the pilgrimage to the Sierra of California each year.
Working with the "boatpacks."

We follow the adventurous paths led by Muir, Kerouac, Robbins, Holbeck, Lindgren and DeLaVergne. The latter, Daniel D., once told me, "West Cherry is a kayak assisted backpacking trip." I'm not sure if he was trying to dissuade me from making the push or encouraging me to take on the challenge of hiking into Emigrant Wilderness with a loaded boat. Regardless, he planted the seed of curiosity, and 5 years later in June, along with Charlie Center, Dan and Tom Simenc, Lane Jacobs, Paul Gaumache and Andy Maser, I was finally able to ride my backpack back down this great watery path.

Dan "Skippy" Simenc launches in the 1st stout.

Look at the top of this one, and you shall see Mr. Maser getting busy in stout #2.

Charlie couldn't find the put-in, but he found all of the smoothe lines where it counted.

Skippy borrowed my camera to capture this shot of me in the entrance to a fun slide rapid.

Lane is bombing through the 2nd part of said fun slide rapid.

Compared to several of the other remote kayak-assisted backpacking trips in California, "the meat" of West Cherry Creek is accessible with a short hike of just 2-3 miles. Once at the river, the amount of backpacking involved depends on the mood of the group. The vast amphitheater of glacier-polished granite makes walking around sections of whitewater fairly easy, but most of what could be run was routed by at least one person in our crew. Visually impressive and inspiring, the energy created by running such stout slides and waterfalls carried us through two glorious days in the California sunshine.

Lane was getting bored...

Skippy was getting bored, too...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Outlet Falls, Washington


I had the chance to spend the day watching (and doing) some big waterfall hucking here in southern Washington while on a whirlwind-friend-tour of the Northwest. Big props and thanks to Erik Boomer for firing up the 1st D of Outlet Falls. People have talked about running this beast for years, but a funky watershed and high elevation keep this creek pretty dry for most of the year. Ben Stookesberry (sp?) followed Boomer with a great line, and I decided I had to go for it, too. There was a really big crew of photographers, safety boaters and homies cheering everyone on to victory. It was a great day.

I didn't have my camera on me, but Sam Drevo snapped these shots of me falling into the freeze.

Now I'm off to China with World Class!