Monday, June 13, 2005

Fear Canyon of the Elaho!

Life is good up here in BC! Seems like an endless supply of rivers to run, waterfalls to huck, glaciers to ponder, and wildlife to sight. With Drew, Justin, and RT all up from the dried up lands of Washington I was forced to come up with some plans for the weekend. Damn! Have to go boating again...what a bummer. Since I have been running the classics (Callaghan, Soo, Upper Cheak) on a weekly basis, I was fired up for something new this weekend with the boys in town.

I had been in the Fear Canyon last fall at 60cms on the gauge. The whole cms thing has screwed my brain forever. Now I speak of cms, cfs, kilometers, and miles all mixed together. For those that have trouble with conversions (please say you do even if you don't...It will make me feel better about my confusion) 60 cms is about 1800cfs. The Elaho river gets mocking high this time of year, but recent cold weather has kept things a tad low. The Elaho gauge was reading 140cms on Sunday morning...that would be about 4500cfs...or twice what I had run it at in the fall. With Jonaven giving a "yea you guys will be fine in there at 140" and no typical pause with an additional comment of caution, I was confident things would be on the "high side of good". This comment is quickly becoming linked with... "it is just class 4 boogie". The two phrases basically mean that things are damn high but it will probably go.

The road into the Elaho is very nice as far as BC logging roads go, it is just long. After 30 miles on gravel and a couple of close calls with oncoming traffic we made it to the take out. The usual onslaught of comments came from the boys..."what do you think about levels?"..."is it too high?"..."how does this compare to last time you were here?" And again I answered with the typical BC lingo..."I think it is on the high side of good and it is mostly class 4 boogie in the canyon." In reality we all knew it was going to be big and we were stoked to fire it up.

one of the many views on the drive in to the upper Elaho

photo by Lise-Anne Beyries

Bryan about to put-in just below the portage

photo by Lise-Anne Beyries

Once we made the decision to get on the river and pushed off it became obvious that we would have a big volume monster to contend with. The first ledge that we could scout from the road 200 feet up was rather large but super fun. It had a big tongue on the left that landed in a flushy hole and huge boils.

Bryan about to stick the entry ledge

photo by Lise-Anne Beyries

Bryan in the pool below and if you look close...Justin upside down in the hole!

photo by Lise-Anne Beyries

Once we entered the canyon things picked way up. The walls are solid granite and in many places it is next to impossible to get out. Although the road is not far away you are super committed once you drop into the canyon. Over three hours later, one attempted hike out that turned into a portage, and lots of big rapids we reached the take out. It got me really stoked to get back in there at similar flows for pics and video. Yet another super high quality BC run in my backyard!


Anonymous said...

Fear Canyon is sick! It is sooo cold. I met Lise-anne a few years ago on a Tarkio trip, she is way cool! Enjoy that BC whitewater, it's been raining down here in Asheville. We got some quality H20 as well.

Lise-Anne said...

Hey, thanx! I appreciate the comment!