Saturday, February 26, 2005

Tumwater Canyon

On Saturday, David and I drove out to Index to meet Mike Novak on our way to Tumwater Canyon. We were running late, but Mike Horner was still waiting for us at the Hwy 2 bridge rafters use as a putin. He was geared up, dressed and ready to go. We decided to take the time to do a little road scouting, and to see if any of the Seattle kayak crew was waiting on Icicle Road. We scouted The Wall on the way down, and met Joe, Larry, and Dave in Leavenworth. On the drive back up, we scouted Chaos Cascade and Perfection of Whitewater. POW was the only drop short enough to be remembered, so it was clear we were wasting time. Mike decided he'd rather watch the carnage than contribute to it, so we loaded him up with cameras and decided to putin just above The Wall

All photo credit to Mike Horner. Photos are posted in the Gallery.

The Wall is a long drop. The line starts off right, center right, center ... and then I lose track. There are at least 7 more moves. Things were going pretty well until I got surfed left in a small hole. This was just enough to blow my line, and I dropped backwards into a small slot and pinned. After two or three minutes -- it felt like half an hour -- I managed to work free and stay in boat. I caught an eddy, portaged a rock outcropping I couldn't get around, and finished the drop.

Video: The Wall

The author hole-bashing in The Wall.

Playing follow-the-leader, somewhere in The Wall.

The author, pinned in The Wall.

Post-pin in the lower drop of The Wall.

Below The Wall, Tumwater eases to class IV. There were some great drops in this section. My favorite was a drop that started with a left-to-right move before a sharp move back left around an island with some huge boulders and fun holes. There are many fun III/IV drops before the next significant drop, Chaos Cascade.

Video: Chaos Cascade

Chaos starts with a broken ledge stretching from center to the right bank. This ledge feeds into a nasty sieve, but offers a boof to the left to avoid the mess. Nobody had much luck with line, so I opted to run left-to-right, riding a steep seam. That didn't work either, so I joined David in the Chaos Swim Club, swimming right into the mess in the middle of the drop. Joe pulled me through the worst until I could recover my boat. David, meanwhile, was repairing a busted thighstrap. That's the sixth thighstrap busted since December.

David, founding member of the Chaos Swim Club.

Brian becomes the first dues-paying member of the Chaos Swim Club.

After so many blown lines in Chaos, Mike decided a cold better sounded better than a cold swim. The rest of us regrouped and headed down the last final III drops above Perfection of Whitewater. POW is a long rapid in its own right, but after The Wall and Chaos Cascade, it seemed positively miniature. I'd had enough for one day and pulled out above it, while the crew starting eddy hopping down the left side of the drop.

Video: Perfection of Whitewatwer

David in POW, lining up for the monster double-hole combo just out of sight on the side of the photo.

Below POW the group took out. By "took out" I mean "spent half an hour trying to talk someone into running Exit. No one had hit their head that hard though, and it was left for another day.

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