Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Devils Punchbowls VIDEO

Here is the video of the Devils Punchbowls trip attended by Nicole Mansfield, Paul Gamache, Chris Menges and safety guru Chris Larsen.

Check it out!!!

Bummed I couldn't go but awesome work guys.

Peace out

L C Simpson

Monday, June 25, 2007

First "Backwards Female Descent"! At the Devils Punchbowls.

The aesthetic, stacked waterfalls known as the Devil's Punchbowls are located on Schoffield Pass between Crested Butte and Marble, Colorado. If ya wanna go huck, drive to the stream crossing from the CB side and hike downhill.

Chris Larsen and Chris Menges hike down towards what they hope to find: punchbowls that are clear of wood.

After an easy hike, you'll come to these beauties....

Devil's Punchbowls as seen from below (above) and from the side (below).

Paul Gamache likes paddling off of waterfalls. He knows that scouting is a good idea even when something looks like 'plop and drop' from far above.

Paul scouting the first falls (above) and running them (below).

What??!! Someone framed this shot (below) a bit off. Paul on drop 2 of the punchbowls.

The most interesting part of running the Punchbowls in simply putting in, and getting on the water. Basically, it requires a sliding seal launch from 10 feet up a steep bank. This slide puts the paddler on the water slide/entry to the waterfall, about 15 feet from the lip. It's a great warm up for flopping. Chris Menges, in his boat (below) getting ready to slide in and drop.

The 'entry move' (above).

Chris Menges dropping the first waterfall (above) and in the pool between (below).....

....and dropping into the second falls (below).

A cool sequence of running the second drop as seen from above (below).

Ok, so here is what you have been waiting for! Nicole Mansfield (below) styles the first backwards female descent of drop 1 on the punchbowls. We are calling Guinness right away to notify them of this new world record (joke).

So how did this happen? You'll see in an upcoming video that we will be posting soon. Funny thing about this backwards descent is that Nicole had a better line than either of the boys (who both ran it forwards).

CKS 'used kayak sales-woman' Nicole Mansfield stomping the second drop (above).

This upper South fork of the Crystal region also contains a really fun double drop upstream of the punchbowls section that is a bit mellower and easier to access and put on. It's a 8 to 10 foot boof into a pool, a mini mank class 3 boulder garden drop and a clean 12 - 15 footer. Nicole running it forwards (above & below).

Paul Gamache entry boof (above) and on the second drop (below).

Paul on the second falls of this super fun double set as photographed from above.

Nicole hiking back up to the truck after a fun afternoon of park, hike and huck.

Safety coordinator and principal photographer Chris Larsen paddling Luna across the river.

Look for a short video on this adventure coming up soon. It will be posted right here, so check back.

Photography by: Chris Larsen, Chris Menges and Paul Gamache.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Treasure Canyon of the Alamosa River

Treasure Canyon is a remote 5 mile Class V run on the Alamosa River in Colorado's 'Pagosa Zone'. It is a long, tiring day filled with logs, 2 death drops to portage and sieves- This requires a lot of energy to scout and get around hazards safely, especially on your first run. It's totally worth it! Treasure is an quality run in a beautiful alpine setting wit several quality class 5 drops.

Unlike most Colorado class V runs, Treasure is a full day on the water, not just a short roadside run. Photo: looking downstream from the put in- The river is in a canyon in the 'v' and goes behind the mountain on the left. The road is on the other side of that mountain.

This blog post contains media from 2 different runs. Photos are from a Saturday June 9 run with Chris Larsen, Chris Menges and Michael from Crested Butte and the Video is from a Tuesday June 12 run with Lawrence Simpson, Mike Haggadorn and friends.

Chris Larsen warms up on the low volume entry ledge (above) and on Boner falls (below). This is just below the put in. Note the low volume at this point... It definitely increases.

Photography by Chris Larsen and Chris Menges.

Chris Menges, Boner Falls (above and below).

From "Treasure Canyon is a relatively new run as it was only discovered in 2004/05 and hasn't been run much since. This could be partially due to its remoteness and just the whole unknown factor that it brings. It feels like your running a First D even though you know its been done before."

Check out the video from Lawrence's trip. Principle videography and editing by Lawrence Simpson.

As you progress downstream into the gorge, the water definitely picks up plenty of volume. Quality drops and some portaging follow. Twizzler is the quintessential Treasure drop with a slightly tricky lead in (see video)

As you can see in the picture (above) the river picks up a substantial amount of volume.

Chris Larsen runs Twizzler almost perfectly, but with a slight piton into the protruding river right wall in the landing zone.

Larsen's legs and ankles felt fine but his boat got a nice little shiner.

This shot gives an idea of the random in between boogie water and the amount of volume to expect there (a nice amount).

Colorado scenery = contrast.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Los Pinos River

Three days of wilderness paddling, Moose, Elk, Swimmers, Sieves, waterfalls and the A Team crew, has been added to my list of amazing outdoor excursions and has certainly formed long lasting memories of adventure.

With nearly peak flows and plenty of cocky testosterone, Jared Jonson decided that the long anticipated Pinos weekend had arrived. We decided to plan for the trip in typical laid back kayaker style. We got our paddling fix in the morning and headed for some climbing in the early afternoon. Knowing that we still needed to buy food, drive 4 hours and find a willing paddling crew, we promptly arrived back in town by 6pm and motivated to put things together and in motion.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought we would be rolling out of town by 7:30pm and getting a good nights sleep before the 7 mile hike in. However after raiding City Market, getting our gear together and motivating Brad Higginbotham, Scot Baker, Ben Stokesbarry, Lizzy and Raffa to join the team, we were sluggishly departing Durango some late hour after dark when you’ve simply given up caring.

Finally getting to bed with the moon falling rather then rising.

The fallowing morning, bummed that we had more miles of hiking in front of us then we had of sleep, the boats were slowing being loaded with all our multi-day necessities. Annie’s Tuna Mack, sleeping bags, whiskey, and various other goods, such as the B.J.M.

Unfortunately the other half of the crew were a little off from their anticipated arrival time. After several hours of waiting Brad Hanganbothem decided to urinate a finishing line in the middle of the road with the hope that our other frinds would arrive before it dried back to its dusty state.

Around 2 O clock the crew had been assembled and we embarked on the hike taking us from the Rio Grand reservoir, over Weminuche Pass and into the headwaters of the Pinos River.

With the Sun just hanging high enough we found enough water to begin our 25+ mile paddle to Lemon reservoir.

Soon after beginning our late afternoon paddle we found ourselves barreling through a small, manky miny gorge without the key ingredient, “eddies.” This quickly led to two pinned paddlers, a simmer and a cracked boat. A unanimous vote led to finding camp 1 and telling rumors of what one believed to find in the rarely explored whitewater to come.

Beginning day 2 at camp 1.

Lizzy throwing downs her mad boofing style day two

Towards the end of day 2 we reached the rumored “first gorge,” which really isn’t much of a gorge but rather one burly section of whitewater. The holes were looking meaty and drops stout, so the idea was thrown out to camp and hope for lower water in the morning. However with Brad’s solid energy and our confidence in paddling with each other, we couldn't’t let the opportunity to probe the Penos’s inner depths pass.

Loaded boats make the best hole bashing battering rams, myself surviving drop 1 of 4

Photo Scot Baker

Drop 2 had a good old, sticky ledge hole that had both Brad and I digging for freedom.

Photo Scot Baker

Drop 3 was a killer supper boof that lead into one of the biggest holes on the run. Yet by this point we where so jacked up on adrenaline, the safety was sweet, swim lines chill and it was no time to hold back. I found myself swimming out of this one, followed by Brad stomping the line and showing everyone how to get’er done.

Camp 2 was found a short walk down stream and was well beyond the word “amazing.”

Side hikes and relaxation filled the remaining afternoon.

With the start of day 3 almost everyone found a little chunk of action in the first gorge.

Jared firing up the first d on a drop just upstream of our put in from the night before.

Ben on the first drop of his 3rd day. One hell of a warm up.

Jared stomping the last drop of the section.

Rafa in one of many drops following the first gorge section.

By the Time we made it through this large section of whitewater it was around 3pm on the 3rd day and we still had another burly gorge section and 15ish miles of water between us and our PBR’s basking in the blistering head of the shuttle rig. Jarred, Lizzy, Been and Rafa were in no rush and decided to find camp 3 before the last gorge. Brad, Scot and I needed to be back to work the following day so we embarked and an afternoon endurance run of the remaining miles.

With so little time for scouting and portaging I think we where all tweaking out on adrenaline as we closed the gap between our shaking fingers and the warm waiting love of the PBR.

With the lack of time very few photos where taken of this section, except for this one by Mr. Baker, of myself and the goods in the lower gorge.

Photo: Scot Baker

The rest of the crew had an amazing day finishing the run on day 4 with no time restraints. This was one vary worthy mission in the San Juans and I would highly recommend it to anyone.