Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Washington IV+

As last week moved along plans were being made for the weekend, a couple of different ones were out there, but Tanner had the best idea with some great Washington weather, the fact that it was a Canadian long weekend, but not an American one, and some stuff was still running down there. It was decided.

Our original plan was to hit up Fall in the Wall, Cooper and maybe Icicle. We ended up changing our plans a bit so we wouldn't have to drive as far to camp on Friday night and stayed at Granite Falls to run Canyon Creek of Stilliguamish drainage as a morning warmup, despite the super low levels, lower than last time when it was my very first class IV creek, and lower than I'd ever recommend, it was a good and fun run. We walked the seive drop this time as the sneak and part afterwards didn't look as clean at the lower level. The warm, sunny weather more than made up for it. If anyone finds a green shirt with a zippered collar and long sleeves at the takeout by the way, it's mine...

We finished around noon and headed down to the I-90 to find Fall in the Wall, which we'd all been excited about a few weeks prior when visiting the Wenatchee area, but didn't know if we should make the extra drive with the high flows on a run we'd never run... We got there Saturday afternoon to find it at a good low recommended runnable level and, after some of us finding our balls slowly, picked our way down.

Fall in the Wall is amazing, like a rollercoaster you could do over and over again, it is quite a sight from the top of Fearsome Foursome looking down at the pool below it all, which must be about 40 feet of gradient in what is basically a waterfallish thing divided into 4 sections with small pools in between, at much higher flows they would all run right into each other, at these flows they presented some manky slide opportunities which were fun. The run reminded me much of Mill Bay Creek on Vancouver Island, but smaller drops and more of them. About 6 more fun drops follow Fearsome Foursome.

The first run took about 3 hours to pick our way down, the next morning we ran it in about 10-15 minutes knowing all the lines...not much to remember in there. The second run, sadly was at a bit lower level. There is the namesake entrance falls to the run as well which we looked at, but isn't the most inviting 20 footer out there. Also, after the main run is another fun, taller, slidier rapid into a very short pool before a manky falls called Little Franklin, afterwhich is the certain death jumble that is Franklin Falls.

Running around noon we decided, in our efforts to redefine creeking by running things that had been run a million times already and style them, to head up towards The Cooper, a classic IV+ creek running at a perfect medium with a slight touch of low level. We got there just as a group was about to embark and they agreed to guide us down turning what would've been probably a 3 hour scout-fest into an hour long boof-fest. We looked at 3 rapids (S-bend, Voodoo Wall and Sharks Tooth with a new boat in it) and ran everything else blind.

After cleaning most of the run I flipped twice at Voodoo Wall in front of a crowd of about 50 spectators. The next day we ran the entire run, just the three of us, without scouting except for Voodoo Wall at my request, and the opposite happened as I flipped 3 times, didn't quite hit my perfect lines on Shark's Tooth and S-Bend, but cleaned Voodoo Wall. The run was shorter than our guided run I think.

There are not enough awesome things I can say about Coopers! It is beautiful, a complete classic, although much shorter and lacking the waterfalls of Canyon Creek Lewis. It's 8-10 foot ledge after ledge, slides, boofs, and the odd rapidy rapid with moves, tons of fun, one notably dangerous hole called 'Norms's Retreat' is of note, and as a general rule of thumb pretty much everything can be run on the right!

Dan after cleaning drop 2 of the fearsome foursome

Tanner dropping into drop 3 of the FF

Tanner stroking some rocks

Tanner dropping Shark's Tooth on Cooper, now with more boat

A little audience awaits after Voodoo Wall

Dan boofing a perfect line on Voodoo Wall's entrance

Dan safely heading left on Voodoo Wall

Tanner in Fearsome Foursome

Me after drop 3 of FF

Tanner on Fall in the Wall

Getting ready for Cooper at the base of the unrunnable 50

Me running a slidey early drop on Cooper

Tanner getting mean

Me looking like I know how to kayak some days on S-bend
In all it was an amazing weekend, and  I am loving the Burn!

Photos courtesy Adam Frey and Dan Bentley

Sweet video, some footage from a run we did with these guys:

No comments:

Post a Comment