5.22.2007

BV and CB


Avalanche Falls. Notice the giant logjam at the bottom, and the people in the right hand side of the frame.




I had a hell of a 4 day weekend.

Things started when I headed out to Buena Vista on Thursday to meet Justin to paddle the Numbers. The Ark was running near 2k, and the numbers turned into a fun roller-coaster ride of big holes and waves. We had a fast, clean run, and I only got slapped around once when I quit paying attention.

That night we camped near Elephant Rock, where Keith, his wife, and daughter were also camping. We watched paddling videos in the RV while we ate dinner, and then hung out around the campfire, where I, the bleeding heart liberal, managed to get into a political discussion with an ex-Marine and a Navy pilot.

Friday, Justin and I decided to go check out Clear Creek, after I picked up a new drytop at CKS. As we were scouting, we ran into Jason and Josh, who knew Justin. We scouted the gorges together and then got on the river, which was somewhat low but running fast. We boat scouted just about everything, careening around rocks and skipping eddies. We scouted one drop in the second canyon, but read-and-ran everything else, for a quick trip. Then we hit up the Numbers again.

Justin had to head home for a family deal, and Jason and Josh invited me to head out to Crested Butte with them. A bunch of runs I was eying in the guidebooks were out there, and I had pretty much run everything that interested me in the Ark drainage (Lake Creek was cranking) so I headed to CB with them. We met their buddy Goody, who lived in town, and did an early evening run of the East, which was an espresso shot of a run that jumped down some steep slides and some boogie water. I helped run shuttle down a rough road with my car, and managed to remove an extranious piece of plastic from under the front air dam.

We grabbed dinner in a bar, where I ran into Link, a kid who lived below me when I was studying abroad in NZ. Crazy. Then Goody and Jason ran off to the bars to cause trouble, and Josh and I went to bed.

The next morning we fired up the East again, then ran the Slate, which was another V- creek with some fun drops. Josh and Jason ran Wicked Wanda, the V+ at the end of the run, the latter running clean and the former joining the swim team. Then we went to head to Oh Be Joyful.


Crossing the Slate

We had to ford the Slate to get to OBJ; Goody's old chevy made it, but Josh punched the Nissan a bit too hard and flooded it. We pulled it out and let it dry, then went up to look at OBJ. This run drops out of the sky at around 400 feet per mile. I walked up it and scouted the string of big waterfalls and slides. About halfway up I realized that I was too tired and too unfocused to run the entire thing cleanly, so I decided to walk it. Jason, Goody, and Greg, who tied in with us that day, ran it, and all had pretty clean lines. That night we crashed pretty early, tired from the day. I woke up in the middle of the night, had trouble falling asleep, and spent the next couple hours visualizing the drops.

Sunday dawned, and we got a (relatively) early start, getting on the river by noon or so to run the Slate again. Then we headed to OBJ. I walked up it again, memorizing the order of the drops, and decided to fire it up. I was feeling good. The first drop, a 15 foot waterfall, is about 4 paddle strokes past the put-in, leaving no room for a warm up. I hit it with a clean boof, let out a woop, and was on my way. The next few drops went cleanly, and then Mike C, who joined us for Sunday, flipped below an 8 foot falls and had trouble rolling up. He eventually made it, but was shaken and elected not to finish the run. Jason and I went on, hitting a chain of ledges before the big one, a 30 foot falls with a rock shelf in the right side LZ.

Jason running the 30 footer. Goody missed my shot. Boo.

I came through the shelves clean, but was angled wrong at the bottom, and instead of heading into the setup eddy, I was headed for the drop. I committed, lined up, and hit the falls with a pretty good line, over-rotating a bit and coming forward onto my head when I hit the pool at the bottom. I rolled up quick, and realized that I was missing a paddle blade; I had forgotten to tuck when I was paddling away from the rock shelf. I C1'ed it over to the side, where Goody pulled me up. I borrowed Mike C's paddle and finished the run, which ended in a sweet boof fallowed by a fun slide to cap things off. Goody and Jason decided to run the lower, bigger slides, and though I was feeling good I didn't want to press my luck with a borrowed paddle. After they ran those, we loaded up and headed out.


The last slide on the main run.