6.25.2008


CB Campsite


Storms
6/13

Another black rock run. Smooth sailing, despite the date.

6/14

Got up to the Narrows of the Poudre to meet up with a guy I hadn't boated with before. We had high water, and should have been in for a good time. Things being as they were, I swam at the run-out of the first rapid, Sports Car Corner. I had relaxed after the rapid and was flipped by a lateral wave. As I was setting up to roll, my paddle hit a rock and was pulled out of my hands. I was screwed. I pulled out of my boat, considered hanging onto it for a second, then gave it up and started heading for shore. The swim sucked; I sucked in a lot of water and was happy to pull myself into an eddy, despite being sans paddle and boat and left shoe. I climbed out, and our shuttle bunny picked me up and we drove down to where the other boater had corralled my boat. The paddle never showed up. I was eventually driven back to my car and I changed clothes (the drysuit kept me dry throughout the ordeal) and started hiking the river to find the paddle.

The paddle never showed up, though I did find the Nalgene bottle that came out of my boat. The paddle is still unreturned. Weak. A 10 second mistake and a $300 paddle down the drain.

I ended up killing some time in Ft. Collins waiting to hang out with a buddy of mine, but when he was late I headed for Denver. I made a bit of a half-hearted attempt to paddle the next day, but we couldn't find a guide, so I ended up hanging around town.


6/17

Another Black Rock run, this one with a ton of people. I think we had 10 boaters or so on the run at the same time. Bridger and I ran together as usual, and cleaned everything. We saw a couple somewhat sketchy runs of Rigor Mortis, the V at the bottom of the run, and I packed up to go catch my softball game.

6/21

Bridger, A. and I headed out to Crested Butte to do some creeking. Though there was a race on Oh be Joyful, we figured we should be able to avoid some of the crowds and get some boating in. We rolled in pretty late and set up camp in the dark. After a pretty chilly night, we awoke to clear skies.

We hiked the Slate River, since the put-in was right at our campsite. Unfortunately, we found a pile of wood in the middle with a narrow line around it and a bit of an ugly portage. That, combined with mediocre drops, lead us to opt out of the run. A. came along for the scout, which was too bad, since it was a bit of a sloppy, bushwhacking mess.

We headed up to Daisy Creek, which involved a river ford that the FJ handled with abandon, and some 4-wheeling to get to the put-in. We tied in with another group and walked the whole thing, scouting for rapids and wood. One of our crew decided to walk, and the remaining 4 fired everything up. Things went smoothly to start; everything boated a little easier than it looked. Then Mike broke his boat on a fan-tail rapid and we had to patch it while scouting Big Wood Falls, which everyone paddled cleanly. We boated down to Rip Your Head Off, which only I ran. It was a fun rapid, boating fairly easily, though I lost a contact in the last part of the drop when I was keeping my eyes wide open to make sure I wasn't off-line and headed for the head-ripping rock.

We went over to Oh Be Joyful (OBJ) to scout it and catch the tail end of the race that was going on. Then we headed over to the East with a new guy we had met up with. We dropped our boats at the top and our car at the bottom, then hiked the 3/4 mile shuttle. We had good flows, and it was a roller-coaster of fun slides and surprisingly big holes for the size of the riverbed. We took out above Stupid Falls 10 or 15 minutes after we had put on.

We headed into CB for dinner and supplies, though I was battling a headache that was either from dehydration or from borrowing one of A.'s contacts to make it through the weekend. We probably headed for the tents around 9 after a long day of hiking and boating.

6/22

After waking up early and breaking camp, we headed for OBJ. It would be my second time on the run (after breaking a paddle on the 25 footer the first time out) and Bridger's virgin run. We hiked our boats up the whole thing, memorizing the order of the drops.

The put-in is on a pile of rocks about 4 paddle strokes from the first drop, a falls of around 15'. We fired things up after resting at the tail end of the hike and getting into the right headspace to run the river. Though a lot of people talk about OBJ as a low-skill plop-and-drop, they're usually class V boaters that have lapped the run dozens of times. As a first or second timer, it's still very steep.

The first drop went smoothly for both of us, and we headed downstream through some small slides. The second falls of any significance is preceded by a tricky lead-in. I penciled more than I would have liked, but ran it clean. Bridger came in at an angle and was rolled at the hole at the bottom, but hit his roll.

Then came a slide with nasty rock on the left-hand side and a hole at the bottom. I had a fairly clean run and continued on towards the big falls, catching the bathtub-sized setup eddy before it and resting for a bit. Bridger was a long time coming. He had gotten stuck at the hole at the bottom of the slide and almost didn't make it out. When he finally did, he was tired and a bit rattled, and rested before meeting me in the setup eddy. It was around then that I started to have second thoughts about running another lap.

The 25 footer (or 30 footer, depending on who you ask) could have gone better; I didn't charge left hard enough and almost smashed my bow on a rock shelf in the right side of the LZ. I bumped it a bit with my bow, and surfaced somewhat sideways and was flipped by the curtain. I fought back to the surface and away from the wall and into the clear. Bridger had a pretty clean line.

The real tough stuff was over, though we both got caught in surprisingly large holes in the bottom slide.


As we were taking out, Bridger mentioned that he thought one lap for the day might be enough. I couldn't agree more. At those flows, it was just a little too sketchy for us to really be having fun on the water. Happy we had ran it, we were equally happy to head back to the truck and home.

6.10.2008

6/7

Got out onto Alto-Alto with Bridger. We had good flows (900 or so), and had A. as our shuttle bunny, and even a sunny day. Unfortunately, the run itself didn't quite measure up to the rest of the circumstances. Billed as a great class IV run, it had a single class IV rapid, which boated pretty easily. It was a pretty run, and it was good to jump on a new river, but I wouldn't get in line to do it again.

6/8

Since we couldn't find a guide to take us on some of the local Vs, Bridger and I headed back to the Big Thompson, which was a blast. We both fired up Cannon Shot, and had a great run of the rest of the river. It was good to get some of my confidence back after stomping some of the lines, and it took all of four minutes to hitch a ride back to the top. We even found some orphaned gear; a paddle in an eddy and a boat pinned up against a logjam. We had some rescue practice with the boat, and managed to get both the boat and the paddle out of the river and into the car. It isn't very often that we come back with more gear than we left with. I put up a post on mountainbuzz and learned that 2 boats and paddles had been abandoned when a boater swam and dislocated his elbow, and his buddy ditched his boat to follow. The rightful owners are coming for the gear later this week. If they're nice, they'll bring scotch. Fun day altogether; it's hard to not have a good time in continuous class IV.

6.05.2008

5/30

Got another run in on Black Rock. Everything went really smoothly, and I made a new paddling friend. Can't complain much.

5/31

Headed out to the Big Thompson, which had water. Neither Bridger nor I had run it before, but it looked like lots of read and run III+ to IV+; challenging stuff but nothing life threatening. We looked at the Sluff Section, which contained lots of gradient, two ugly drops and one pretty one. I ended up running the pretty one, Cannon Shot, which lead us into what was essentially one big 4 mile rapid. Things went really well; we even handled the surprise IV+ section well, and blew through the whole thing in about an hour. Then we hitched back to the top of the run, where two other groups were putting on, and we let ourselves get talked into a second run. This time around we both fired up Cannon Shot, and headed downstream with the group. When we got to the class IV+ stuff above Drake, one of our members portaged, while I lead the group into the rapid again, eddying out behind a big rock about half way through. I was feeling good, especially since I had a clean run on it last time, and I dropped in. Things went well until the end, when I started feeling tired after a series of boofs and holes.

A hole near the bottom of the rapid tried to flip me, and I half-assed my brace and was flipped. I floated into a hole upside down, which surfed me for a bit before it let me go and I could roll up. As I was rolling up I saw a 3 ft wide slot that I was headed toward, and I tried to put in one more paddle stroke to straighten out, but it was too late. My bow caught on one rock and the force of the current jammed my stern against the other and pinned me solidly. I could reach the bottom of the river with my vertical paddle, which I leaned on, and assessed my situation. Water was pouring over my boat and my body, covering me to mid-chest. I could breathe, and I was stable. Things could have been worse. I blew my whistle three times hard, and prepared myself for waiting things out until my buddies could eddy out below me, get out of their boats, and come to help me.

Moments later I felt a tap on my helmet and someone grabbed both straps of my PFD. The boater who portaged the rapid, Frenchie, had heard my whistle and was standing on the rock behind me. "What do you want to do?" he asked. I replied "I'm stable, and I can breathe, and I can reach my sprayskirt. I'll count to three, pull my skirt, and try to step out of the boat. Pull me out." I counted down, pulled, and he extracted me and dropped me into three inches of water next to the rock he was standing on. I didn't even have to take a swim. As I was getting out of my boat, one of the other boaters in our crew got into trouble in the same spot and almost ended up pinning as well; we grabbed the bow of his boat and pulled it over the top of mine so he wouldn't get stuck. That dislodged my boat and we chased it downstream, where a couple of the other boaters eventually pinned it again near shore where I could get to it. All of my gear was still there. I was ok, the boat was ok. Not too shabby.

We ran the rest of the river down to the park and headed home. Aside from the sketchy bit, the Big T has made it onto my list of favorite rivers. Really busy, not too tough but not too easy either.