Monday, September 20, 2004

Lower Tilton

Leap of Faith on the Lower Tilton

On saturday, Nick Borelli, Steve Munk, Lyles Larkin, Eric from PDX and I met to run the Lower Tilton. We had flows of ~1600 cfs. This is a great class III+ run with a couple of decent class IV drops. Photos are posted at and here's the video:

Eric -- first rapid [quicktime stream] [windows media download]
Steve -- first rapid [quicktime stream] [windows media download]
Eric -- last ledge [quicktime stream] [windows media download]
Lyles -- last ledge [quicktime stream] [windows media download]
Nick -- last ledge [quicktime stream] [windows media download]

The run begins with a mile or two of class II floating before coming to the first big drop. This rapid features a huge wave-hole feeding a massive hole, nearly riverwide, at the bottom of the drop. A few of us walked, a few ran. The line was enter right of center with left angle and move left into the eddy to the left of the wave-hole. Exit the eddy below the big hole. The line through the meat was a flip for sure.

From here to the lake, we were treated to fantastic pool-drop rapids in a canyon reminiscent of the rain-soaked moss covered walls on the peninsula canyons. The rapids were well spaced, every 1/4 mile or so with a good recovery stretch below each drop.

There was a great variety of rapids. There were boulder gardens, most of which were straightforward, and several ledgy drops. One of these develops a massive hole, nearly river wide. I believe it is the third one. The run is all the way right -- so when in doubt, stay right on this run.

Below the ledges came Leap of Faith. This rapid was the most challenging on the run. The entry was straightforward move from the left side entry to the center chute. We tried to punch a lateral wave above a huge wave-hole, only to ride the lateral right into the wave-hole. In the run out from the entry, the river bends right. the left is a trashy rock and log mess, so the run is far right. Apparently this rapid has changed recently, with the large rock just off the right wall having washed somewhere downriver.

Below Leap of Faith, more great drops continued until the final two rapids above the lake. The first is a great ledge run 15' off the right wall. Straightforward and fun. A little higher water looked to offer a great boof on the left side. The last big rapid had a long class III entry into two sliding ledge holes. Enter left, move right to avoid the ledge holes. We had some swims here, so make sure to get right at the bottom of this drop!

Nick swimming in the final drop.

The paddle out was much less work/time than expected. Granted the reservoir is low, but the paddle out is fairly short. Much of the paddle out continues through the Tilton canyon, with only the last 15 minutes being out on the larger lake.

At flows of 2000 this would be a great cat/raft run. There are few places you could flip a boat at those flows so be prepared!

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