Thursday, August 16, 2007

FREE GEAR Contest 1: Where’s Nicole??

Free Gear Contest 1: 'Where’s Nicole?

CKS announces the first in a series of fun contests to win free gear!

Contest Objective:
- Find Nicole Mansfield hidden INSIDE 3 RETAIL ITEMS on the CKS Website,

The Prize:
- A FREE Wedge-E PFD of your choice delivered to your door (USA: Free Delivery. International: Shipping Fee). Winner can choose from any available size and color.

Contest Format:
- The contest will run for 2 weeks from August 20th – September 3rd.
- Contestants will be looking to find pictures of CKS staff Nicole hidden WITHIN 3 different items / products on CKS’s online store.
- When you have the answer, email with links to those 3 products.
- The first 20 contestants to email the correct answer will be entered into a random drawing for the PFD.
- Winner will be announced on the CKS Squad Blog on September 13th, at which point they will be contacted for their shipping address and size/color preference.

Who the heck is Nicole Mansfield???

- If you want to know who you are looking for, you can find more info on Nicole here:
- Nicole's CKS Squad Profile which contains more links on her creeking adventures from this past Colorado Creeking season.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gore Season, yeah baby...

Well its that time of year again, Gore season is upon us and while it looks like the official Gorefest will not be happening this year I'm still amped to get some more days in on this Colorado classic. Some people have disputed the difficulty of Gore but for aspiring class V boaters its a must do and for the seasoned veterans I head this peace of advice, when you starting disrespecting this gem hold on tight cause your about to get handed and I speak from experience on that one.

Some might say the 45 minute paddle in is tedious and takes away from the run but I actually enjoy it. Its a good time to just sit back, enjoy the scenery, visit with old friends, meet new ones, and just reflect on the last few months filled with crazy adventures and good times.

The classic slide put-in
After reaching the mouth of the canyon, gearing up, and paddling a few entrance/warm-up rapids one finds them self at Gore rapid. There are four primary lines through Gore those being; the sneak, the meat, the professor, and left left. All those lines are primarily related to how you enter this classic and after entering there are many ways to finish but your primary goal is to avoid a particularly sticky hydraulic named Ginger and generally just try to stay upright through the bottom (an ice cream debt can be costly during Gore season). The strength and trashiness of Ginger should not be underestimated. I personally have surfed it twice resulting in my paddle breaking on my face, a rough swim, and seven stitches below my cheekbone and the second time my skirt imploded which luckily pushed me out of the hole and I was able to ride things out to an eddy below.

Here's Glenn styling left left

Ginger is the hole imediately to Glenn's right

Class in session - Joe Keck showing us the professor

After a handful of more great rapids Tunnel comes up right below a RR tunnel into the mountain. There are a handful of lines on Tunnel but things are much simpler than at Gore. The meat line is by far the most common but there is a playboat sneak around the left and a creeky slot on the right. My preferred line at tunnel is the meat line as if you line up correctly and place a well timed boof stroke you'll be rewarded with some sweet airtime hopefully within full view of you paddling bros.

Joe Keck - getting it done

Well there it is and while I'm leaving out some great rapids you get the jist and heck the rookies can't get all the beta. If you show up to the unofficial Gorefest this year please be respectful of the BLM, the RR company and other boaters but don't forget to have a great time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cheeseman 07

Cheesman 07
By Nick Wigston
Photos: Gordon Banks

Some say Cheesman is one of the best and toughest runs in Colorado. Who knows, but it’s certainly up there. And it’s nestled in the heart of the Front Range, which gets criticized for having only “manky” whitewater. Cheesman Canyon’s granite domes, and smooth granite drops attest that there truly is clean whitewater to be had on the Front Range of Colorado.

Gordon Banks in Penis Buster Parfait

The problem, for paddlers that is, is Elevenmile Reservoir (a drought reservoir), that rarely releases decent flows into the river. The other and more interesting problem is the fat fishermen that own both sides of the river just below the put-in. The “Sportsmen’s” Paradise club agreed in 2002 to not bitch about kayakers floating down the navigable waterway (S. Fork, S. Platte River) that flows through their property between the hours of 9 and 11am (a major and generous compromise on our part, considering they aren’t allowed to restrict passage at all).

Gordon at the bottom of Penis Buster

The flow problem has been the main hindrance to a successful run down Cheesman for the last five years, until now. As the guage hit over 260cfs for the first time in years, several members of the Elite Chunderposse and CKS Squad were deployed to attempt the first run of Cheesman since 2001 (with the exception of a few E.L.F. runs, that may deserve a mention). The excursion began at 10pm on Saturday night and would continue until 11pm the following evening.

Alex Clayden on Slap yo mama

Forrest, Gordon, and I manned the Lexus Land Cruiser assault vehicle, while Reggedy Andy, and Alex “A.C. Slater” Clayden took up the rear in Andy’s Tacoma. We arrived late and camped at the put in. Shuttle would commence at 7am. After A.C. had the go ahead from the forest ranger that the gate at Corral creek would be open, we headed to the take out with utmost confidence. To our distress, the gate was locked upon arrival. (Nice going Alex). Determined not to have to hike out 3 miles at the end of our mission, we promptly rallied around the gate in a cloud of dust. Chunderboy would have been proud. Many road strainers required the winch on the Lexus, but we eventually made it to within a half-mile of the river.

Andy Blakeslee on Slap Yo Mama

When we returned to the put-in we were met by a large group of kayakers sitting on their boats waiting for the shuttle driver. They informed us that the fat fishermen had notified them that they had no intention of honoring the “2002 Cheesman Treaty” and would call the sheriff if kayaking were attempted. With this information, our crew immediately geared up and launched. We put in around 10:45am in accordance with the treaty. As we crossed into enemy territory, our wits were about us. A very fat, pale, and freckly fisherman dressed like Bob Wiley and armed with a Nikon telephoto camera took pictures of us while his even fatter friend began threatening us with obscenities and other malcontent. Their anger was amusing as we floated by nonchalantly. I don’t think they were amused.
At the entrance to the canyon, we scouted the first rapid and waited to see if the other group of paddlers had made it through the hostility. We later found out that they retreated at the first sign of opposition. It seemed as though it was up to us to finish the mission and report back on the wood situation in Cheesman Canyon.

The Author, Nick Wigston on Burmese Punjii Stick

Making it downstream in a leapfrog river running technique, we reached a large horizon line. As the team scouted the technical drops of Penis Buster Parfait, portaging became the route I was leaning towards. After seeing Gordon Banks clean it without a single forward paddle stroke, I decided to run it. The whole group ran it clean, and then we scouted the next horizon line. It turned out to be Slap yo’ Mama, and scouting from the river left proved to be difficult. The entrance was technical, and we couldn’t see the lower waterfall. We ran in two groups to find that the waterfall was the ultimate 12’ boof.
Five grinning kayakers then made it to the next rapid where Gordo led us through a double drop with a sticky hole at the bottom on hand signals. I was at this point that the river dropped into the famous smooth granite canyon. Large spires and domes began towering from the riverbed. I felt like I was in California. Sweet!
We scouted Burmese Pungii Stick, which led to several different and equally interesting lines. No one ran Underpriviledged and I don’t see why you would want to. This led us to the top of Dos Chaos, which is without a doubt the crux rapid of the run. Scouting is difficult, but necessary. The drop is an amazingly huge boulder garden laced with sieves, logs, and undercuts. But most importantly, sweet boofs and technical moves. After everyone made it though the Chaos, we stopped for lunch. From our lunch spot, we could see the beginning of the end; Slide for Life’s horizon line.
When we hit the eddy above the Slide, the horizon line was huge. Gordo plopped over it blind and let out a big whoop of joy at the bottom. We all followed his lead, with equally joyous endings. The rest of the canyon provided some fun read and run boulder garden rapids. Boulders in Cheesman give a whole new meaning to the word boulder. Some areas are completely blocked by house size granite rocks. It is incredible, to say the least. I can’t wait to go back in there.
We finally reached the hike out spot, marked by telephone wires spanning the river high overhead. The half mile hike to the Land Cruiser, was rewarded by several of the treats of life, including Gatorade and Ganja. We even made it all the way to Hog Heaven and chowed some BBQ. 11pm greeted us back at home, full, tired, and satisfied after an awesome trip.

Forrest Noble on Slap yo mama

For More info and Media on Cheeseman check out Evan Stafford's Colorado Kayaking article at

There you will find some awesome pics and a great video documenting the major drops on this run.