Sunday, September 03, 2006

Callaghan Creek, BC

Fish on Callaghan

Labor Day plans were slow in forming this year, but Jarred Jackman, Ryan Scott, Lana Young, Fish and I found ourselves in Squamish looking for the last of the BC summer creeking. Everyone had run Callaghan Saturday while I was stuck in border traffic but we were finally all in one place and looking forward to some BC canyons.

The plan was the Ashlu and it took some work but we made it in to the bridge. Committment Canyon was in and many were there, including TRL on a video mission that should yield some world-class footage. We scouted and hiked but ultimately decided to head for a Callaghan Creek run.

Below 50-50, Ashlu

Callaghan was low but definitely still in -- exactly how I like to see a creek for the first time. The run starts out with some technical warmup before dropping over an 8-foot ledge. My good friend Fish calmly caught an eddy and told me to work right. Now, Fish sometimes likes to watch me boat scout something he suspects I'd portage if given a chance, but I went for it. I was on a good line but stalled above the main ledge and went deep. My paddle was wrenched from my hands but I came through upright and in my boat. Jarred and Ryan followed and helped retreive my paddle. I got cameras out in time for Fish's payback ... err, run.

Fish cave swimming on Callaghan

Next up is a fifteen foot drop normally run left of center. Today the line was right but the drop was clean.

Lana and Ryan setting nice lines on the 15-footer

Callaghan's sculpted walls

After an interesting drop below the 15-footer we came quickly to the 25-footer, the signature drop on Callaghan. Everyone else had great lines, but I dropped my right edge and earned some downtime. Thanks to Lana for shooting stills and Ryan for shooting video of Fish and I running the drop.

Lana Jarred and Ryan clean the big drop

The author about to explore the subsurface hydrology conditions [LY]

Fish cleans the 25 footer [LY]

Below the 25-footer the character of the run changes. The ledges and bedrock are gone, but excellent technical boulder gardens come fast and furious. Fish's schadenfreude relented and he suggested some great lines as we made quick time downriver. This section of the run is stellar technical creeking -- lots of fun! Certainly could have used more water, but even at this level lines were plentiful and clean.

One of the last significant rapids (and recommended portage) is a boulder ledge against the left wall with a backed up riverwide ledge hole as the first move. Fish had boat-scouted it and swam the day before, but dropped right back in to clean it this time.

Fish cleans the portage

An afternoon well spent ...