Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ice Lakes Creek Cascade

Mission: park & huck the burley looking cascade into SMC Campground
Location: South Mineral Creek Campground, CO
Paddlers: Boyd Ruppelt, Adam Goshorn, and Matt Wallace


(Boyd working his way down Ice Lakes Creek. by Samantha Brunner)

After enjoying the high water in Crested Butte, I went down south with Samantha Brunner, Adam Goshorn, and Matt Wallace to find waterfalls and run some of the classic whitewater Colorado has to offer. The first thing we came to was Ice Lakes Creek, pooring into South Mineral Campground. It was getting late, the water was crankin, and we were losing our light for the day, but Matt's itch was contagious and we all decided to run it before setting up camp and cooking dinner. The Ice Lakes Creek cascade is an interesting, powerful series of drops that weren't very forgiving with the high water... but a super cool drop for sure.

(Matt Wallace finishing a strong line minus an epic back ender. by Adam Goshorn)

Matt was so fired up he went first. I held his boat on the tiny launch ledge until he was ready to slide in immediately above the first one. Having decided to follow it on the right, Matt had a great line down but when he hit the big pillow/hole above the last big ledge he was back endered and rolled just above the lip of the last one. I couldn't see him below the first lip so adam came up and told me to go a bit more left on the 3rd ledge... So trusting his last minute changes he held my boat as I climbed in and got set. Before I knew it I was sliding down the sloped bank immediately above the first ledge (hidden in the photos). I wasn't happy with my position above the second one and my contact was a bit out so I eddied out into a small pocket above the first big ledge before lining back up and going for it. I paddled over the pillow of water keeping me off the lip and before I knew it I was flying down the first big one with a big delayed boof to line up for the next one...

(Boyd boofing off the first big one. Photo by Matt Wallace)

Exactly where I wanted to be based on what I had heard from Matt's line, I felt good going into the next drop. The idea was to slide right into the outflow of the hole and off the next drop. To my suprise I slid in sideways losing all my momentum. With a quick roll in the hole, I rolled up grabbing the green water exiting the hole and flowing off the last big ledge and pulled myself off the next lip catching a little rock flake on the way down.

(Boyd rolling up before sliding off the last big one. Photo by Matt Wallace)

It wasn't a bad line but it made me think the first line (far river right) was the way to go... Adam began to gear up and Matt hiked back up to hold his boat. Adam thought we could go even more left (just on the brink of disaster) for a good line.

(Adam setting up for the first big one. by Boyd Ruppelt)

So as he peeled off the first ledge he kept his speed and flew off the first big one too far left, nearly pinning on a tree. Skirting a potentially bad pin and even worse swim, he heroically pulled it back into the main flow but got surfed in the hole above the next one. Ripped down the cascade upside down, Adam kept his cool but got a bit pummeled in the big pillow/hole above the last big one with a not so prefered line:

(Adam with the not so prefered line. by Boyd Ruppelt)

He took it like a champ though and rolled up just in time drop off the last one backwards but upright, making it into the take-out eddy with a shit-eatin' grin like no other. He said amazingly enough he didn't hit much but water on his way down. Now we were ready for Whiskey, dinner, and a camp fire before our next adventure on South Mineral Creek.

(Boyd on Ice Lakes Creek, by Samantha Brunner)


Till next time,
Boyd

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