Monday, November 20, 2006

Robe Canyon 3.0 Beta

This past weekend the clouds parted, the sun shone (yes, the sun still exists), and the rivers receded from the FLOODS of recent. These ingredients were the perfect recipe for some exploration boating. Exploration boating, that is, on a familiar run. Robe Canyon, as noted by Tao Berman in Whitewater Classics, has a reputation for its riverbed being re-shaped; however, after the recent storms, the deck has been completely re-shuffled. Out team tried to take a conservative approach, scouting the first two rapids and probing new lines through them. But we quickly found ourselves boxed in above Last Sunshine - minimal scouting options and even fewer portage options.

Darcy Gaechter (up high in the middle for perspective) tries to assess the situation.

Darcy comes back to report what she has seen after her billy-goatin mission.

Last Sunshine, Trap Door 1 (T1) and Trap Door 2 (T2) have notoriously been some of the most shifting rapids on the river, with a landslide shutting down Last Sunshine in the Spring of 06. However, a right hand sneak always remained available. Although something about the sneak just didn't look right this time. So it was time to get creative. After some attainments, portaging upriver, and a sketchy, slippery, crumbly ROCK CLIMB I was able to find a way to get to the decommissioned railway that would take us through a Tunnel and around the aforementioned rapids.

Getting some Vacation to Hell Training

Darcy making the attainment. Thanks, Schertzl, for the images.

Apologies for not collecting more media, but getting down this river before dark became the primary mission for the remaining team members. But for future Robe enthusiasists (at least until the next flood), the following is a breakdown of some mental notes to help you though the current version of this mystical canyon:

IMPORTANT: I would highly recommend getting out of the river above Tunnel Rapid on river Right, and either portaging all the way below T2 (through the tunnel) straightaway, or at least scouting this entire section before dropping into Tunnel. Eddies and scouting become minimal below here. T1 and T2 are basically gone. All the gradient is now lost in Last Sunshine in an abrupt 20-30 foot drop. While it looks runnable, scouting and safety will be difficult at best.

Every rapid has changed - some dramatically, some minor - and will continue to change, scout accordingly. Hole in the Wall has a nice launch pad boof in basically the same line, Hotel California looks basically the same, Faceplant is super fun now with a more straightforward line, Leep of Faith looks better on the right now with a mostly riverwide hole below it. The portage looks better at the top and BEET at the bottom. Garbage has wood issues, but river Right looks promising. Conversation was smooth, fast and fun, but the small ledge below its run-out looks very sticky with a new line on the left. The double drop above Conversation is better at the bottom, but has a trickier first ledge. And the biggest highlight was the class IV above this double drop. It is now, fully class V with a super fun 6 foot ledge to 12 foot vertical ledge.

There was virtually no wood, however, several logs were sitting on the shore and will surely be swept into the current during the next moderate flood event ... be safe. Also, if you wanna check Robe of old, there is a video link of some footage caputered a few years back...excuse my early use of final cut.

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