Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ain't No Fat Ladies Singin' 'Round Here!

"Man, I've never wanted to run a drop I didn't wanna run, as much as I want to run that drop."

Those were my words to Bryan as we were on what was supposed to be a quick final scout of "Vertigo Gorge" prior to giving the rest of the team -- Todd and Chris, who were presently setting shuttle -- the green light to drop in. But now the analysis paralysis had set in, which prompted us to radio them with the not-so-rosy report and get them to hike in and meet us for further inspection and a group decision.

After hiking down the cougar trail along the rim of the deep gorge and rapping in for a river-level look at the source of our indecision, Todd returned and expressed the same sentiment, almost verbatim.

And now here we were standing on the Cat Perch overlooking one of the most impressive and committing gorges we'd ever seen, all quietly thinking the same thing.

Hours later ... we'd broken down camp and wallowed in our defeat at the takeout, drinking a beer before returning to civilization and the responsibilities that always pull you out of the woods sooner than you'd hope. We were bailing out of yet another canyon. This time, the third time, on our ongoing 3-year project we'd taken to calling "Waterfall Creek" for obvious reasons.

"Everyone should drink another beer," Chris chided us, in an attempt to slow the retreat.

We were demoralized and facing a long drive back to the city. Boats were strapped, gear was sorted, and iPods were plugged in, ready for the road. So when Chris casually offered up his next proposal, it really seemed to come from left field, although now, after a couple beers, we were probably more receptive. Turns out, that was part of the plan.

"What would you guys think if we could get around the waterfall and down to that little eddy? I'm ninety-five percent certain there's a big tree upstream that I could use as an anchor to rap down into the gorge. If it works we could still run the rest of the gorge. I mean, would that change anyone's mind?"

"Ah man, that's cheating. That waterfall is the price of admission into that place." Todd said.

"No way, man! I mean, the goal is to make it down through the gorge, travel the river, run some good drops and see some good scenery, right?" Chris countered.

It took only a couple seconds of consideration for Todd to agree and pipe up, "Okay, I'm in! If you can get me to the base of that waterfall, I'll drop in," as he grinned and looked at the others.

I then upped the ante, offering to just go ahead and run the waterfall as long as I had a person at the base of the falls with a rope. All weekend long, Todd and I had been the most adamant about expediting the mission and getting back home early. But now here we were, all flipping the proverbial bird to responsibilities, SO's, and sound decision making -- we were driving back up to our camp. We were going to put on Dipper Creek ... again.

On the Cat Perch overlooking Vertigo Gorge
Photo Chris Tretwold

The heart of Vertigo Gorge is caused by the huge intrusion from river-right.
Photo Todd Gillman

Photo Todd G.

Middle of Vertigo Gorge
Photo Todd G.

The cathedral teacup within Vertigo Gorge
Photo Chris T.

The double-drop into the cathedral teacup. The lead-in to the double is a waterfall into a caved-out room.
Photo Todd G.

River level scout of Vertigo
Photo Todd G.

Bryan & Chris contemplating commitment & consequences in Vertigo.
Photo Todd G.

It's good to be back!


Anonymous said...

All but given up on this blog but heard through the grapevine that you all were up to something. Glad you're back. Probably not the only one!

Nice return. Looking forward to the rest of the story.


Anonymous said...

Hell yeah Boys!! Way to make it happen! I can't wait to read more.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is another world up there...every time you post you take us to an absolutely amazing place. Nice work "Dudes"! Tim-S

Anonymous said...

Nice work Shane, glad you guys are back up and running. That gorge looks awesome.
Looking forward to future posts!

Have fun
- Paul

Anonymous said...

Totally wicked project!
Definitely worth the wait.

Eddie Mingles said...

I too have checked this blog almost daily hoping for an update. The photos are usually awesome and I am really really thrilled with every entry and photo. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

justin said...

Seriously the prettiest pictures I've seen all year. JUSTIN

Hale said...

Great post, I have heard Chris talk about a few scouts of this creek. I am glad you guys are still getting after it! Always nice to see a post on the range life. Hey Todd when are we going to see some surf posts??

Anonymous said...

Its about time you guys are back, recently i've been doing too much work at the office

Jorge said...

Great to have you guys back!

Dirk said...

What an incredible place. Nice work!

I like it when Chris has something up his sleeve.

h2othomas said...

Very nice! That gorge looks toit like toiger! Can't wait to see some colorful plastic in the slot!

Anonymous said...

Post one of these pics on moutainbuzz to make all the Colorado Bitches drool!! Mr. Unknown

Melina said...

Glad to have TRL back! Thanks for Keeping me plugged in to the GPNW. Epic shit!