Thursday, July 26, 2007

American Whitewater Fundraiser - Cataract Canyon in 18 Hours

Cataract Canyon, Colorado River, Utah

Anytime you do a run for the first time there is an ominous feeling of apprehension associated with the unknown. Now take that feeling and exacerbate it by being solo in a 14’ whitewater race boat. In addition, the takeout lies 95 miles downriver and you have to arrive within 20 hours or it will cost you over $1,600. That was the situation I was trying to stomach as I put-on the Colorado River for a fundraiser for American Whitewater. If you haven’t heard of the fundraiser challenge: Click Here.

Waking up around 2:15am my friend Jed Woolley, who rocked the shuttle and made this whole thing possible, began cooking breakfast as I loaded up the Pyranha Speeder for its maiden voyage down Cataract Canyon. We arrived at the Potash boat ramp at 11pm the night before and were suffering the effects of less than three hours of sleep. That evening the Moab area was caught smack dab in the middle of an intense thunderstorm which caused the roads to slide and mud to flow. As we loaded up the Speeder and prepared to launch around 4am, Jed heard a strange noise in the water and focused his headlamp to the opposite bank of the Colorado. While Jed spotlighted the river I worked on adjusting the boat and wrapping the spray skirt around the cockpit. With a slight tremble in his voice he called my attention to the conveyor belt of wood floating down the river. Apparently the earlier downpour was enough to funnel a large amount of debris into the already muddy Colorado. As we stared in disbelief we questioned the feasibility of putting on under such hazardous conditions, adding to the already heavy weight on my shoulders. After a few minutes of calculating the risks of such an endeavor I pushed off, caught in a situation which would ultimately dictate my decision.

Speeder decked out with glow stick bracelets.

Engulfing darkness, 4:19am

Mile 21, 8:00am.

Mile 42, Women's Rafting Group enjoying the canyon.

Mile 60, Big Drop Rapids.

Mile 95, 10pm. Take-out - Lake Powell Hite Marina alternate take-out.

One of these days I’ll get around to writing the full story of traveling through Cataract Canyon, for now I’m just happy to be off the water. For all those who took part in the fundraiser I truly appreciate your support. To complete the donation process, please visit: American Whitewater.
Donations can also be mailed to:
American Whitewater PO Box 1540 Cullowhee, NC 28723.

If you need help donating online feel free to email me @ . Please mark in the comment box (you may have to click the modify online, see instructions below) or on the check memo, “Cataract Canyon Fundraiser” or something to that extent so that the total donations collected can be calculated.

For detailed instructions on how to donate:

Enter pledged donation amount in box on the right under “Enter your donation!”

Next click modify and you will be taken to the screen below:

From here add the Cataract Canyon Fundraiser line or something in that regard. Then make sure the quantity is correct and click the "I agree" box. Then click update cart. From there click checkout and sign up for an AW account online if you have not yet done so.

Thank you again for your support.


Paul Gamache

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Big South Slideshow(s)

Here are some slideshows of various paddlers, lines and rapids on the Big South a few weekends ago.
Photos: Chris Menges
Paddlers: Pete Stromberg, Alex Hotze, Leif Embertson

Pete’s Gear: Wavesport Habitat, Werner Powerhouse paddle, WRSI Current Helmet

Hotze’s Gear: Dagger Nomad, AT 2 Flexi paddle, Astral Aquavest 300 rescue pfd, FNA X Stream Fullface helmet

Life Force’s (Leif Embertson) gear: Jackson Mega Rocker, Werner Shogun bent, IR Double D Drysuit

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pine Creek Virgin

So I was on my way to CKS for the weekend to demo some kayaks. Lake creek was at a silly low flow but Pine Creek was at a pretty healthy 700 cfs, I figured I better man up and hit that S*#t! So I called around to my "posse" but I got nary a response back. I understand that my crew is sometimes scared to fire it up with me, but hellfire, this is Pine Creek boys! Just then, my good friend Marjolicious called and since she had never fired up the "Pine" she was all "excited" and "excited" to do it. There was one glitch, She was boating with the Girls tomorrow and I had to meet them first before I could rally with there crew. I guess to see if I was cool enough or something.
Well Marjolicious made me meet them at Benson's in Salida the night before and introduce myself. She mentioned that her crew was pretty cool, but that I had to really impress one of them in particular. I guess their friend is kinda shy, reserved and quiet. she wasn't really accepting of some new guy joining the posse. So after a couple of the best beer I do love, I strolled on over and had my work cut out for me.
This is how I ROLL!
press play and crank da volume

Oh ya, after some sleeping in and resting up and a breakfast of pancakes, strawberries, blueberries, giggling and text messaging I had
My new POSSE!
left to right
feeling alright
Kateclaw, Marjolicious, Jpeg, Gretsum

Happy ladies are the bomb

Kateclaw trying not to flirt

Marjolicious flirting, and yes, she is single!

M focused

Jpeg can't help but flirt

Kateclaw and Marjolicious scouting Da "hole"

Marjolicious expressing concern that I would only mother duckie them down to just above the hole. Since Pine Creek was running at such a high level, I thought it would be my best interest to get out above the hole and direct them through the last couple moves with a Megaphone while my buddy Atom shot photos from the rim.

I'm not privy to what was said during the team meeting, but i think it was something like "I gotta Pee".

So just when we got all fired up to fire up the "Pine" someone from Salida had to come on down and get a beatdown in front of us. "uncool Holrider". Hot Dam!
press play

Pine creek kayaking beatdow from atom crawford and Vimeo.

So We gotta mention for the sake of safety, It is best when you art da rope handler, to position yourself at river level, not 10ft up on a boulder. This can cause a Super Man effect on ones person when said swimmer grabs hold of the rope and you suddenly become airborne. Just a friendly safety tip!

I recommend watching this awesome collection of Pine beatdowns

As we pull out of the eddy above "pine" rapid, Marjolicious says to me, "heartbreak is a bitch" I say aahhhh, ya, okay, so? She replies, you know what is worse than heartbreak? I say, not having any cold beer? No she replies, catching on fire while barbecuing. Nuff said. We enter the rapid. That's me in front before I get out above moonpie to direct the ladies.

M firing up the leadin

M momentarily distracted (more about that later)

M doing the cool moonpie ride

Arms raised in triumph, Marjolicious fired it up and hot dam she friggin fired it up. Ya!

Kateclaw also got distracted

Kateclaw surfing. She hung in there and surfed longer than any boy woulda and made it out upright.

Okay, now we can get to the true reason of the Salida boys swim. He was on line, but he happened to glance left while coming down the tongue above moonpie. He was greeted with this shot of Gretsum setting safety near the hole. Yup, true story!

The real reason why Marjolicious and Kateclaw went into monnpie hole. They also glanced to thier left and saw--Yup, Atom and I found some lovely ladies just chilling on river left. They had beer.

The Posse at the take out. Thanks ladies, I had an awesome time and if anyone ever gets a chance to meet and paddle with this great crew, they are awesome, fun, sexy and a total blast to be with and they fire it up in all aspects! Oh ya, they feel naked with out this.

and last but not least, They whispered in my ear, as I headed back to Barbados, it is easier to fire up da S*#T, after some AD
Press play and pump da volume

And in the name of preserving rivers, My fellow cougar killer Paul Gamache is about to try something kinda outrageous. Whether or not he survies, American Whitewater will benifit from it. Please check it out and help out. Later, Ron Burgundy

American Whitewater Cataract Canyon Fundraiser Challenge

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here's how it works:

Cataract Canyon is a 95 Mile section of the Colorado River between Potash and Lake Powell (Hite Marina). I'm betting that I'll be able to do this section in under 20 Hours. On the 24th of July I plan to leave Potash at 3am and arrive at Hite before 11pm.

Map from the Moab Adventure Center Website.

Here's the deal:

If I don't make it in time I'll donate $10 in your name to American Whitewater.

If I make it within the allotted time then you have to donate $10 to American Whitewater.

Reasons why you should play along.

1. Either way American Whitewater will benefit. Thus we all benefit.
2. I've never done this section so I honestly have no idea if this is possible or not.
3. If I don't make it you effortlessly donate money to AW, costing you nothing.
4. The longest distance I've ever paddled in 1 Day is about 45 miles or so...this would be over twice that.

Donation Commitments Thus Far:

1. Tiff Simpson: $10
2. Joe Carroll: $20
3. Dave Kloberdanz: $10
4. Conor Ross: $10
5. Paul Gamache (I'm even betting I won't be able to do it.): $10
6. Robbie Ringer: $10
7. Drew Oldfield: $10
8. Ryan Hastreiter: $10
9. Paul Hemming: $10
10. Dave Frank: $10
11. Toni Frank: $10
12. Chris Kelly: $25
13. Randy Thompson: $10
14. Christina Warthen Gamache: $10
15. Andrew Gamache: $10
16. Andy Horn: $10
17. Tim Dunning: $10
18. Kyle Bogard: $10
19. Laura Jorgensen: $10
20. Atom Crawford: $20
21. Nadia Almuti: $10
22. Zach Simon: $10
23. Brian Copanas: $10
24. Scott Yoder: $10
25. Glen Egbert: $10
26. Colorado Basin River Forecast Center: $25
27. Ricky McDaniel: $10
28. Earl Richmond: $10
29. Jennifer Waddell: $10
30. Eric Grasser: $10
31. Gus Ghuneim: $10
32. Fred Zacherl: $10
33. Kyle McCutchen: $10
34. Baxter Pharr: $10
35. Norm Cooling: $10
36. Lawrance Simpson: $10
37. Hank the Dog (Drew's Dog): $10
38. Mark Robbins: $10
39. Mark Billingsley: $10
40. Dan Simon: $10
41. Kelly Bacon: $10
42. Chris Hatton: $10
43. Austin Smith: $10
44. Chris Menges: $10
45. Doris and Greg Gamache: $20
46. Kayla Maddox: $10
47. Chad Gorby: $20
48. Alex Horangic: $10
49. Brian Tupper: $10
50. Stacy Johnson: $10
51. Bryan Kelsen: $10
52. Alex Wolfgram: $10
53. Chris Brobin: $10
54. Shawn Hartje and Mary Sackett: $20
55. Greg Didriksen: $10
56. Josh Morris: $10
57. Mike Hagadorn: $10
58. Marianne Boykin: $10
59. Steve Schmitt: $10
60. Lynne Allen: $10
61. Bob Wilkerson: $10
62. Luke Gribick ( $25
63. Bob & Gail Corona: $10
64. Mary Schmitt: $10
65. Laura Howe: $10
66. Laura's Dog: $10
67. Christian Figueroa-Tyler: $10
68. David Fetter: $10
69. Orion Meredith: $10
70. Ian Buckley: $25
71. Devon Brecke: $10
72. Ben Hawthorne: $10
73. Heather Gorby: $10
74. Chris Shackleton: $10
75. Josh Tetreault: $10
76. Rush Sturges: $10
77. Young Gun Productions: $10
78. Dustin Stonner: $10
79. Aubrie White: $10
80. Taffe Schmitt, the great canoeing Basset Hound: $10
81. David Jackson: $10
82. Lillian Good: $10
83. Laurie Maciag: $10
84. Leif Anderson: $10
85. Daniel Brasuell: $10
86. Patrick McNalley: $10
87. Melissa Verlet: $10
88. Jana Taft: $10
89. Greg Moore: $20
90. Mike Gehard: $10
91. Randolph Green: $10
92. Jack Anderson: $10
93. Liz Ferrin: $10
94. Adam Cramer: $10
95. Eric Brooks: $10
96. Brian Vogt: $10
97. Tracy Corona: $10
98. Brian Jennings: $10
99. Charlie Center: $10
100. Tyler Bradt: $10
101. Ryan Fair: $10
102. Hut Wade: $10
103. Fil Payne: $10
104. Mark Reed: $10
105. Terra Ganem: $10
106. Mike Fisher: $10
107. Mac Thomson: $10
108. Marjo Curgus: $20
109. Emily McGinty: $10
110. Dave and Debbi LaDue: $20
111. Courtney Gates: $10
112. Zac Quick: $20
113. Lynn Koester: $10
114. Jm Sprouffske: $10
115. Matthew Gross: $10
116. Bob Beers: $10
117. Mike Zimber: $10
118. Tommy Hilleke: $10
119. Teresa Jarmul: $10
120. John Clark: $10
121. Rob Molacek: $10
122. Ann Hopkinson: $10
123. Gary Rempe: $10
124. Dustin Urban: $10
125. Natalie Tilton: $10
126. Mandy Caldon: $10
127. Mike Williams: $10
128. Anne Musick: $10
129. Kelly Lesch: $10
130. Jordan Egan: $10
131. Robin Simms: $10
132. Penelope Cronk: $10
133. Diane Cheshier: $10
134. Andy Chechier: $10

Total so far: $1,500

If you would like to be added to the list and commit to donating in the event I am successful, please email me at

Please include your full name and a phone number or contact.

If I am able to complete the challenge you will obligated to donate commited amount to American Whitewater.

Directions on Donating:
Click the link below-
American Whitewater Challenge Donation
You'll have to select the $1 bubble.
Next add something in the comment like "AW Cataract Bet" or something so we can see how much total money has been donated from this challenge.
Click the Agree Box.
After that click on the quantity button and change the amount to 10.
Click Add to Cart
After that click checkout and follow the instructions. You may need to create an American Whitewater account if you have never done so.

Thanks for helping out.

Paul Gamache

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Big South Fork of the Poudre

If you've paddled class V in Colorado, you may see someone you know here-

The Big South; Colorado's premier class V full day adventure run! This posting bring you photos video and slideshows of this classic gem.

Joe Keck padding a big boat (Mega Rocker) through a tight slot on Fantasy Flight. Oops... actually, someone just told me that he paddles the regular Rocker...

Alex Hotze routes Fantasy on the less often run rivr right side.

Pete Stromberg styling Fantasy Flight. See the full photo Sequence of this line as a slideshow....coming soon..

Evan Stafford shows some sweet technique and poise on Fantasy Flight.

Chris Menges on his 3rd Big South run paddling Cool World for his first time.

Lawrence Simpson with nice boof in Cool World. Check out the sequenced slide show on this line early next week right here.

Lawrence 'relaxing' after Cool World.

Post-boof and floating. Cool world.

Upside down on Double Trouble . Is this paddler in trouble? Check out the slideshow and decide (near end of post).

The Big South is one of Evan Stafford's local runs. Maybe that's why he looks so relaxed mid rapid on Double Trouble. The view from above.

Evan pulling the late boof.

Alex Hotze pulling a perfect late boof on Double Trouble. The view from below.

Lawrence Simpson, Double Trouble. He totally swam here. Just kidding!

Fred Zacherl lapped Double Trouble and had the best lines I saw that day. Here Fred power boofs over the hole.

Mike Haggadorn on Slideways.


Slideshow Teaser- more coming next week....