Thursday, November 04, 2004

Yellowjacket Creek


Entrance to the final canyon.

Thursday, November 4, Nick, Steve and I ran Yellowjacket Creek. Finally. We had just over 300 cfs and a wonderfully sunny day. We arrived at the putin just before 10am. Did I mention this a Korb write-up? The putin is great. Be prepared for a long scramble down a steep wooded slope. There is a trail, though it is hard to find in places.

I've interspersed the video links in the descriptions below. Steve shot some great video which I'll post when I get it. For the full photo dump from this trip, visit the first gallery and the second gallery.


Nick and Steve early in the canyon.


Looking back up at the first big rapid on Yellowjacket Creek.

Once on the water, Yellowjacket creek offers you a short warm up before turning hard right and dropping into the first big rapid. This is one of the narrowest slots on the run, and may hold wood in some years.

Below here, class III boulder gardens keep you entertained until The Meteorite, a series of three gentle sliding ledges just above the McCoy Creek confluence. You can scout this left and run right.


Steve, in the entrance of The Meteorite.


Nick in The Meteorite.


Steve punches a ledge in The Meteorite.

Just below McCoy Creek is Godzilla, a fine piece of water. This drop consists of four ledges. You can scout the top half easiest from the left. The last ledge is the steepest, tallest, and most uniform -- this would quickly become a huge hole at high water. Cheat right on the final ledge.

Godzilla video:
Steve's run and final drop over the ledge
Nick's run
Brian's run on helmet cam no, I still didn't swim ... it's just hard not to drop the cam!


Steve, in the second ledge of Godzilla.


Nick at the bottom of Godzilla.


Steve, in the final ledge of Godzilla.

Below Godzilla, Yellowjacket Creek tumbles over several fun III/IV boulder-strewn ledges. Most are read and run, but scout when in doubt. This upper section of river contains the best whitewater -- enjoy it!


The canyon below the confluence with McCoy Creek.


Steve runs a typical ledge below Godzilla.

Ledge Video
Steve runs a ledge
Steve runs another ledge


A ledge drop below McCoy Creek.


Nick prepares to run a typical boulder-strewn ledge. This drop is a 3 foot ledge, just above Steve.


Another of the larger drops on the run.


Nick about to enter another scenic canyon.


Steve and Nick enjoying the scenery.


Nick, floating in one of the canyons on Yellowjacket Creek.


Steve and Nick in a typical small drop.


The drop immediately above the 7 foot sliding falls.

When you see the river bend right toward a large rock on the right, and a slab of stone on the left, you'll recognize the horizon line of the seven foot sliding falls. Stay as far right as possible to avoid the wall. At higher water a line opens up on the far right.

Seven-foot falls video
Steve's run
Nick's run
Brian's run on helmet cam


Nick and Steve scout the falls.


Steve, at the base of the falls.

Below the falls, the river eases in difficulty, but the scenery continues to be excellent. You'll pass in and out of many canyons of varying width and length. Fun class III drops are spaced out over the miles above the final boulder garden.


A scenic drop somewhere below the falls.


One of the fantastic, moss hung canyons.


Another typical drop.


In one of the canyons above the final boulder garden.


Steve, on a scenic corner.


Steve runs the log choked rapid.

When a huge wall rises out of river right, you'll recognize the boulder-choked channel that is the final big drop on the run. Scout left, and run the drop far right against the wall.


The final boulder garden. The route here is far right against the canyon wall.

Final boulder garden video
Steve's run
Nick's run
Brian's run


Brian runs the final boulder garden.


Steve, below the final drop of the boulder garden.


Nick turns the corner below the final boulder garden.

Below the last big drop, class II and III rapids are plentiful through the final small gorges until you exit the canyons for good and enter the classic glacial valley cobblestone riverbed of the last half-mile to the takeout.


Nick in a class III boulder garden somewhere near the end of the run.

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