Friday, August 20, 2010

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

All good here in Colorado. Summer is getting to the end, we got last full on week of work and then who knows what is gonna happen.

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

Our cavesite

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!!!

Stay tuned


No comments: