Happy holiday and all the best in 2011!
Happy holiday and all the best in 2011!
Last weekend I had a great time on Black canyon of the Gunnison with some of my best friends Yonton Mehler and Bryan Owen aka Astral buoancy, Brent Toepper aka badass guy who reps for Sweet in Colorado, Milo from Crested Butte and Daniel Windham from Boulder. We all rallied in on Saturday night to stay in Montrose, set up shuttle on the next day and meet rest of our crew. We put on in early afternoon, entered beautiful canyon and paddled down stream…
Our crew: Jakub, Daniel, Milo, Brent, Bryan and Yonton
Milo lives in Crested Butte and tried to talk me into running Black Caynon several times. This time it finally worked out and I understand why in his age of 46 it was his 46th run of the caynon.
We paddled in for a while and walls of canyon started to get taller and whitewater got spicier. There was two super fun rapids before portage of nasty looking rapid called triple drop.
Fun rapid number 1 and Yonton getting after it
Fun rapid number 2 - going for a boof
After portage of nasty looking rapid called Triple drop with really unnatural line we got to another badass rapid. Double drop with tight line continued with some juicy drops and cool moves. Daniel and I went and had a great lines.
Entry moves in rapid called Ball Crusher
Few rapids below Ball Crusher is a great waterfall. Gets better at higher flowes but our summer level 620 cfs was great for the entire run.
Big boof of fun 15ish footer
As you can see. Black Canyon is totally different river than anything else in Colorado. There are big boulder garden rapids in 2000 feet tall vertical walls. Waterfall also marks a big mandatory almost 1 mile long portage of sieve city deep in the canyon. The good thing is that after you get done with portage there is the best campsite on the world called cave. There is also big pool for fishing full of delicious trouts. Yumm!
View of the canyon while we were portaging
So happy to make it down the portage and see the most beaautiful campsite on the world. After that we got few hours to relax, fish, eat and if we werent pussies we could swim in freezeing cold water. Some whiskey drinking afterwards and good night of sleep.
Daniel enjoying some fresh trouts
Thats what we saw in the morning before good stuff started to happen
When we put on in morning on the next day we started with big portage of huge river wide siphon. We dropped back in the river from big boulder jam. Next thing was a long big rapid and while everyone else was portaging I looked at it and decided to fire it up. Rest of our crew set up safety and few cameras and some exciting moves started to happen. Entry move is nice boof and then you gotta move to the left for the actual entrance.
Big boof to enter the rapid
This is the entry move of the rapid called Next Genaration. Right downstream of this thing is tight sketchy waterfall landing on the rock on the right and going in the undercut on the left. Downstream of that is few other bigger moves to do before the rapid melows out.
On the edge of the world dropping in the goods
Thats how main drop and bottom of the rapid looks like
After I ran Next Genaration I felt pretty good. There is no other place on the world I have been which has the big canyon and such a good whitewater to offer. Also, it runs 365 days per year. Almost makes me wanna live here!
After like two miles of fun class 4 whitewater there is a last portage to do. I scouted the rapid and saw big maze made out of siphons and manky looking drops. So I portaged my boat downstream. What I saw down there I couldnt just portage. Bottom very technical rapid ended with nice 20 feet waterfall. There I came, ran that thing and it felt like heaven.
One of the coolest moves in the whole run
Right below the waterfall we took a break, talked about what we just did, kept looking at the huge walls and after few minuttes paddled out to the take out.
After couple of miles of easy water we rolled in the take out. Ate granola bars, filtered some water and started hiking to the parking ground where our shuttle vehicle has been parked for last two days.
Happy to make it to the take out
Hike out is pretty brutal, almost 1 mile long and up the very steep hill. After we got that done we drank few beers and enjoyed being with a good friends. That was absolutelly one of my top 3 river trips in my life and I already know I will always come back there.
Thanks for a pictures to Bryan Owen from Astral buoancy!!!
The best thing about it is that is just 20 minuttes drive from my place. Welcome on the Lake creek photo tour
First rapid of the bottom section called Brains
First rapid called Brains because of big bubble at the bottom of the first drop. Better boof it! Right after that you have few hundred meters of boogie class III-IV before you get out on the left to scout rapid called Paralizer.
Paralizer rapid from the river right
Paralizer has a very tight line on the left. If you hit it good you get sick air a great feeling landing just few inches next to big chunk of rock. In case you would get pushed right you would probably find out why is this rapid called Paralizer.. After few runs almost better not to scout and just have fun.
Enjoying air time landing next to sketchy and dangerous rocks
This is great view of Paralizer from the bottom. You can see the rock you wanna stay away from on the river right.
Cleaning the line on Paralizer
Right below Paralizer there is another quite sketchy rapid called Kiss me. It is a slot going from the river right to left right under ugly rock. I ran it just once and I got pinted to the rock for a few seconds. It was pretty wet kiss I gave to the rock and it wasnt easy to roll back up. Made it eventually though.
Kiss on the Lake creek means getting pushed against the rock
After Kiss me rock you have about mile of great and fun class III-IV whitewater to enjoy. Below artificial 5 feet boof eddy out on the right to scout last big rapid called Cauldron. Its easy class IVish lead in with tight technical drop at the bottom. Coming from the right to the left into tight slot with some undercuts I always go deep no matter what. Probably need more laps on this creek to line up this one..
Entry in Cauldron rapid
Running tight Cauldron chute
Bottom of Cauldron is nice technical right hand curve where you can totally ride the wall. Its pretty fun!
Crusing down the last move on the river
Once you get to the bottom of the creek it melows out and your feelings are really good. To me it still feels like pretty hard class V even though I ran it like five times already. Section is just 2 miles long but excitement you get on all 4 big rapids is as much as a full day river. After you take out on the left under old broken bridge drive the shuttle or go for a nice high elavation run to the top which kicks your ass.
Kicking it next to Twin Lakes where Lake creek comes into
Have a great day!
View I get if I hike up the hill at my place not bad huh?Fireworks on 4th of July Independence Day
PICTURES COURTESY OF MONICA GOKEY AND MEG SMITH - THANKS!