Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Big (Low) E

Coming off the excitement of race day on The Robe, a couple of us had it in mind that the warm temps would provide the bump needed to bring the ultra-classic Ernie's Canyon to a good level. Saturday night, we'd decided that a lower flow than normal/fun would be acceptable for the first run of '08. By bedtime, the hydrograph showed signs of responding, but it still had about a 100 cfs to go to meet our minimum. Morning came, but the water did not .. though it was still rising slowly. So our plan became, let's wait til lunch time, let it warm up & then just go for it -- we'll have at least 400-&-rising in there, which we'd consider "runnable, not funnable".

We made use of an alternate put-in trail that leads you directly to the river-right eddy at the lip of Ferryland, the first rapid in the canyon proper. Ferryland appears to have changed (again). The normal line on river-left is a junkshow &, even worse, the eddies are barely there .. even at low flow. So we opted for the main line down river-right, which netted us a kicker-boof into the bottleneck & the main ledge. The large boulder just downstream of the ledge-hole is a lot closer than it looked from the scout & is very undercut. Shane & I both narrowly avoided it. Not sure, but maybe it would clean up or cover up at a normal juicy flow. Scout Ferryland before dropping in.

Other updates .. Samson & Delilah is best run on the left (but it was last year too, so that's not news); Big Nasty is currently unrunnable due to a huge log spanning the channel (pic below). Make sure you grab an eddy immediately after Little Nasty & then portage river-left. Don't take either of the last two slots on river-left at the bottom of Bruce's Boil, badness awaits.

Low flow is interesting in there. The rapids are so channelized that all the same lines exist, they're just much tighter. I generally regard most/all of the rocks in Ernie's as dangerous. At lower flows, you have time to catch your breath between the major rapids, but the sieves & undercuts are definitely more exposed.

Here's some pics from what turned out to be a surprisingly good run down the Big E.

Shane nailing the boof into Ferryland ...

.. & blasting through the final ledge-hole ..

.. fun line! but don't get stuffed.

Johnny in the manky low-water lead-in to Samson & Delilah

... & boofing the main ledge.

Shane at S&D

Downstream view .. yeah, it's low.

The log shutting down the line at Big Nasty .. don't blow it.

Utah dropping into the left side of Vertical Vortex.

Robinson ..

Downstream view.

Utah scouting, with a pretty boulder in the foreground.


Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry for you guys having to run these pitiful runs in low water. Waaaahhhh!!!

You suck. I'm jealouos. Wish I could be there. Some day. Thanks for puttin' up the stuff!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you are calling that manky? Have you already forgotten the front range?

Todd Gillman said...

Anon #1 -- Didn't realize I came off as whiny in the post! We went in fully aware of the low level .. sorted out the new wood / new lines and had a great time. Was stoked to share some decent pics & new beta.

Anon #2 -- Ernie's at 400+ is low. Dunno what else to tell you, it is what it is. And no, I haven't forgotten the mediocrity of FR boating.