Saturday, May 12, 2007

49 Megawatts...

To everyone who was at the show in Seattle last night...I'm soooooooo sorry. I can't tell you how dissappointed I was to hear that the DVD's of my new documentary film "49 Megawatts" and "BC Summer 2006", which I overnighted on Tuesday, had not arrived at Shane's by late Friday afternoon. Apperently the overnight envelope cleared customs on Wednesday but was then sent to California by accident and then back to Blaine to be re-processed. The plan was to show 49 Megawatts in Seattle last night and then launch it on TRL sometime this week. I feel terrible. I trust that everyone had fun checkin' out Todd's slides, drinking beer, watching some vintage TRL video, and talking about how lame it was that my films were not showing. In an effort to recover from last night's blunder, I'm going to release the new film on TRL today followed by a bit of Ashlu beta that should fire you up and hopefully get you out paddling this gem before they divert it into a tunnel. So here it is...


Lots of people have voiced their concern for the rivers of BC while TRL has been covering the Ashlu. People have felt helpless, and I think many people have been turned off by heading up to the Ashlu because of all the negative construction stuff we have published. I have a few things to offer...

1. BC Creek Protection Society is doing a tremendous job of taking this issue to action at the moment. It is important that we concentrate our energy together and get the issue into broader public coalitions. I believe that the BC Creek Protection Society is making big steps in the right direction. Check out their site and give the society some support if you feel compelled to help the cause.

2. Over the past couple of months some of the bigger environmental groups and various paddlespsorts organizations have recognized the value in supporting efforts to try and bring the stakeholders back into the process of decision making regarding the rivers of BC. The momentum is growing and hopefully we are getting somewhere now. Everyone's efforts have made this happen...keep on pushing to make our voices heard!

3. Check out the article that Christian Knight wrote on the Ashlu in PADDLER MAGAZINE. I thought this was a very well researched piece that shows how many people are involved in the issue and the history of the Ashlu.

4. There could not be a better time to get out and paddle the Ashlu. Lots to be done up that valley right now and to date the river remains the same. This could be the last season of free flowing water. Here is some basic beta all in one spot to help you put the Ashlu on the hit list this summer.


Class 5
ideal flows are between 30-50 on the Elaho Gauge
the current paddling season is late fall, winter, and early spring
take-out is the twin bridges, put-in is the first place the river comes back to the road after the twin bridges.

The Lower Mile is perhaps the least paddled section of the river, because it is so steep and hard to see into. However this section of the river is incredible when you have the right flow. It's a steep pile of boulders with some significant ledge drops and a couple of smaller waterfalls. The coolest asspect of this run is that you can see the take-out when you run the first drop, but it takes a couple hours to negotiate all the stuff in between!

Here is Jonny Utah about one third of the way into the run... looking down to the take out.

photo by Todd Gillman

One of the many sweet series of ledge drops on the Lower Mile

photo by Todd Gillman


Class 5
Ideal flows are between 60-90 on the Elaho Gauge
The best time to hit this section is April-May and then from August-October
the put-in is the bridge at 25 mile. If you hike down the trail on river left there is a good put-in below the 50/50 falls and the ledge drop immediately after. Or if you feel like hucking...put in below the bridge.
the take-out is on river right where a small creek comes into the Ashlu. The creek is pretty easy to spot on the way up. Just after the described put-in for the Lower Mile, the road comes up a steep incline. At the top of that incline, a creek and slide path are visible on the left of the road. Hike down that rumble to scope the take-out.
This run has several drops that are extremely hard to scout and impossible to portage. It is highly recommeded that you run this section of river with someone who knows it. It is not extremely hard, but it is a very deep gorge with no outs.

The Box Canyon (or Commitment Canyon) section of the Ashlu is probably the most scenic stretch of whitewater in the Sea to Sky corridor. It has been claimed as many as one of the best sections of whitewater in the world! TRL showcased the Box Canyon in BC SUMMER 06 The run starts with some of the most challenging whitewater. First Corner Rapid, then a manky drop you run left, Enagagement, and Triple drop are all unscoutable and unportageable from water level. Once you get through Triple Drop you can scout and portage most everything else. These first 4 rapids can be scouted from canyon level on river left, but beware that they are much bigger and very blind at river level!

Dropping into the Corner rapid at the very top of the Box

photo Todd Gillman

Todd Gillman in Kernage which is the first rapid below Triple Drop

photo by Evan Ross

The Box Canyon is made of two seperate canyons. As you paddle out of the first canyon the river turns to gravelly class II. You can hike out from here on river right if things are not going well. Scout the first rapid of the second canyon well as it has a nasty sieve on river right. The lower canyon is generally a bit easier than the first, but still has plenty of punch. that is what I have manged to get up for now. I'm out the door for 10 days of tidal race paddling for the sea kayak film I'm working on called Pacific Horizons It has been keeping me super busy at the moment. When I return I will post up details on the rest of the
Ashlu's run: Mini-Mine, Mine, Tatlow, "Play Run", and Upper Ashlu.


Anonymous said...

Awesome work on 49 Megawatt.
I am from NZ and I must say the Ashlu is one of my favourite runs ever!
All power to you!!

Jasper said...

Dude, what a movie you made there. I'm from holland but I am absolutely stunned by what's happening over there. It really pisses me off.. I've been in the states a few times, never seen the Ashlu but the pictures say enough. This is a gem, and we should protect rivers like this. You're doing a great job, keep on doing that!

Andrew Oberhardt said...

Jasper - it's probably a good thing you didn't see the Ashlu in the States, because it's not here :-) It's located in our friendly Northern neighbor, British Columbia, which despite some common belief is actually in a different country (Canada), eh.

It's also reason enough for another trip out here, being one of the best rivers in the region. The Ashlu box canyon is one of my favorite runs anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi TRL crew. We are going to post this link on our next newsletter to all our consumers and dealers. I was really glad y ou added the part in about what each of us can do to reduce our energy consumption. It took me about two hours to convert our whole house lights over to compact florescent lights.
One of the nice perks to saving energy is that it is good for your pocket book too.

BTW: you guys need to get me what you need for your upcoming trip to Peru.

at Shred Ready

Todd Gillman said...

tom -- on bryan's behalf (he's offline for awhile), thanks a ton for the comment/support. he's been bustin' ass on this project for some time now, &, of course, doing it pro bono. if it helps raise awareness, then i think he/we are stoked. & it seems to be working.

talk soon,


Todd Gillman said...

Also, Tom ... i need your email address / contact info. we submitted a PO forever ago. Get in touch & i'll submit it to you directly this time. My email is accessible from my blogger profile.


Anonymous said...

tom at shred ready dot com

MattC said...

Tremendous work. The key to striking a balance between commerce and environment is public awareness. Folks are used to accepting these projects because they feel powerless against business and money. It is, and always has been, an uphill battle. Y'all are fighting the good fight...

Matt C

Anonymous said...

The link to the paddler article (which is very good and to the point) is a wrong link. Here is the correct
definately worth a read. Atom..

Todd Gillman said...

thanks Atom (& Andrew) .. meant to fix the busted link the other day but got swamped with other crap. it is fixed now .. & yeah, Christian did an awesome job on that article. Definitely check it out!


Robert Payne said...

Bryan, you did an incredible job. Keep going!

Michael Vanderberg said...

Bryan and TRL, 49 megawatts is a wonderful production stemming from an unfortunate circumstance. Thank you for getting the word out on what is happening with BC green energy needs to be shown. We've been giving TRL and the Ashlu major props in our tiny 'lil ol' blog. My time spent up at the Ashlu in September of last year was some of the best of my life. The Box is the best run I've had the pleasure of kayaking. My heart is heavy and my soul saddened by the destruction and deceit surrounding the Ashlu project. Keep up the bomber work...and thanks again.


Anonymous said...

I moved to BC after the approval of the Ashlu project was all zipped up, and so was unaware of the significance of this issue. I feel frustrated that I missed out on the public hearing process (though how much good did it really do in the end?).

Anyway, a huge congratulations and thank you to Bryan and the TRL crew for shedding light on this problem. I had seen "49 Megawatts" several weeks ago on your site here, and then again at the Puntledge Festival on Vancouver Island a few weekends ago. It was very well received, and many people, like myself, who are just learning about the Ashlu project, were shocked and alarmed to hear about how this got the green light at the last minute. Such dirty politics!

This film has certainly moved me to get more serious about minimizing our energy consumption and overall footprint. (At the very least I'm going to get our condo building to switch over all our lights to more efficient bulbs, and encourage my colleagues to be more conscious of the energy and resources we waste at work...... big ass, energy-sucking and waste-producing hospital!) I will also try to stay informed about other such projects and make sure to voice my concerns.

Your footage is beautiful. The aerial shot through Box Canyon was amazing. How on earth did you string up your zip line thingy if its unportageable and unscoutable through there? Now that's commitment!

And lastly, I'm very sad that I will likely never get to paddle the Ashlu. I'm nowhere near a Class V boater, and certainly won't be before the diversion project is completed. Guess I'll just have to enjoy your photos and footage.

Thanks again. And cheers from cheers from Vancouver.

Sarah H

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