Friday, July 20, 2007

White Salmon River: Green Truss

Today, I finally made it down the Green Truss section of the White Salmon River. I have been wanting to do this run almost since I began kayaking not quite 3 years ago. After a little talking with some friends, Ryan Cole put together a trip and off we went. The river was running just shy of 2' on the stick at Husum and proved to be a great first time level. We had four people on the trip with everyone having at least one run down except for myself.

The put-in requires a little bit of a sketchy climb down a steep hill. We of course had our share of mishaps as two of the boats fell about 20' and took off down the river. Thanks to Tony who jumped in after them, we didn't have to go far to catch up to our boats. (Mine being one of them)

Once on the river, the action starts off fairly soon with some nice class III to IV. Some of the more notable drops were Elbow Basher, Meatball and Bob's Falls(10') before we came to the first big drop of the day, Big Brother(25'). Now, I had actually planned on walking this my first time down, but I was feeling good, the line looked good and I had just watched Tony clean it and Ryan C. go into the cave and paddle out without too much of a problem. I was a little concerned that the low flow would equal a hard impact and I've stayed clear of big drops since Alex's accident. This was after all a class V 25' falls with a technical lead in, shallow landing on the left that has ankle breaking potential and a cave on the right that if upright, didn't seem bad today. I gave it a go. My line wasn't the best, I ended up in the cave, but I did stay upright and paddled out without trouble. What a rush!

Ryan Cole firing up Big Brother
The author giving it a try
Next up was Little brother(14'). This has the reputation of being an easy falls. Everyone ran it while I took pictures. Gary had some trouble, but nothing serious. I fired it off, not thinking and through a right boof stroke. This effectively screwed up my line enough for the falls to pull me back in at the base and tumble me a couple times. I managed to surf my way out. What fun.

Gary on Little Brother with Big Brother in the background
Ryan Cole
We cruised down to the next big rapid, Double Drop(18'). This drop is a roll of the dice at best and the guide book lists it as a class V-V+. I had thought about portaging this before today as well, but I skeptically watched as everyone else gave it a try. Tony shot through without trouble. Then Ryan went and, well, he got caught in the bottom hole and took a ride. He eventually worked his way out, but swam in the end. Gary had a better line, flipped but shot through. I tried to follow Gary's line and had the same result.

Ryan Cole's run through Double Drop
Gary's run through Double Drop
Below Double drop was some easier water before the last big rapids that I planned on running, Upper and Lower Zigzag. Upper Zizag was a blast, just line up and hold on. This was a really fast rapid.

Tony probes Upper Zigzag
Lower Zigzag was not runnable due to some new wood that showed up this spring so we got to do a little climbing and a rappel back to the river. I don't have any real climbing experience so this proved to be just about as exciting as the river. The rappel was about 30' with the last 15' or so off of an overhang. It gave me the opportunity to use my Astral PFD as a harness and it worked surprisingly well. Below Lower Zigzag the river presents easy class IV before ending with BZ Falls, a nasty V+ waterfall(15'). Unfortunately for me, I was a bit tired and got a little lazy during the relatively easy water below Zigzag canyon. I ended up getting stuck in a very uniform hole and got some rodeo action. My paddle got ripped from my hands on the second time through and I had no choice but to swim. It took me awhile to get some air as both my boat and I were held in the hole and I couldn't get out from under the boat. I got out and with some help from the other guys we rounded up my boat and got back on the river.

We soon got to BZ Falls and we all shouldered our boats for the portage except for Tony. He ran a great line and made it through without too much trouble. Still, not a falls I have any desire to run. Anyway, the run lived up to my expectations and was a blast. I hope to get back soon.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Nice photos and writeup dude. Check out my blog in a couple days to see the our run on the Cispus. Peaceout, T.
Beyond H2O