Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crystal Gorge 2010

A few weeks ago after being in Salt Lake City for the outdoor retailer show, Evan Garcia, Candace Sanders and myself made the drive back to my hometown of Carbondale, CO. The saying home is where the heart is is true, being home was great, and Evan and I were stoked to find that Crystal Gorge, one of the best kayaking runs in CO was in fact running. We loaded up the flatbed ranch truck and drove up into the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Marble,CO has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here are some amazing photos that Candace shot of another great day in the good old CO.

Looking down into the town of Marble,CO.

Evan and I above the lower gorge.

Me on Zute Chute.

EG steezin out a nice boof stomp.

Evan and I chillin in the Gorge. This is one of my favorite places of all time. The inner crystal gorge is a magical place, its very narrow and incredibly beautiful down there.

Clearly Evan feels the same way.

After Eg ran, I proceeded to gloriously catch an edge and eat shit. Made for a great photo!

Evan looking onto MIller Falls, a set of stacked frothing stout waterfalls just below the inner gorge, they have yet to be fired up.

On the drive back home we were lucky enough to hit Penny hot springs, a nice natural hot springs right on the river. Check out this sweet video from the day.

Crystal Gorge 2010 W/LiquidLogic from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Interior BC

Recently Ive been paddling quite a bit actually. One of the better trips was a few weeks ago to Revelstoke, BC area. We left Bellingham around 9pm, and started the 7 hour drive to Revelstoke. We arrived at a makeshift campsite at around 4am. We slept, woke up and rallied the rest of the drive into Revelstoke. After meeting up with our friends Joey and Blair, we found that the Pingston was too low. After much debate we headed to one of the cleanest 60ish footers around, Sutherland falls.
And it was a good flow.

Blair Trotman ran first and had a great line.

I ran next, and did somewhat of a boof to stomp. It didn't hurt at all surprisingly, probably one of the softest landings ever, even though it didnt look like it.

I was fired up, so i ran back up and ran it again.

This time I had a decent line, plugging but twisting a bit at the end. It hurt much more.

Todd ran next having by far the best line of the day. Unfortunately his paddle caught the water wrong and his shoulder was dislocated on impact. We got him back to the car, got his gear off, and relocated his shoulder. We headed back to Revy to recuperate, spent the night at Joey's house, and awoke in the morning with St Leon creek on our minds.
Me, Todd and Chris on the Ferry to St. Leon Creek.

St. Leon creek has some amazing drops. The put-in is just down hill from a natural hot springs with a lot of nudity, and pachuly oil. We put in and came upon a sweet triple drop. An 8 footer to 5 foot boof with a nasty hole, to a sweet slide. I did probably the biggest aerial brown i have ever done on the top 8 footer. It was nice!
Brown!!! The first stage of the triple.
The second stage of the triple.

Me starting the fun slide. This triple drop was very fun!

Chris at the end of the sweet slide. It mellows out in-between the drops with some fun boogie water, then all of the sudden we came upon a huge horizon line. A very fast, fun slide awaits. Probably around 80 feet long and maybe 60 ft tall. It was very fun.

Me on the slide. Speeding into the pool. After the slide comes a sweet mini gorge that unfortunately was choked with wood. We portaged, and the gorge ended in a sweet 30ish footer.

The last falls, a super great, clean waterfall. Gotta love BC.
Chris chillin out with a beautiful look back up St. Leon Creek.

After St Leon we proceeded to meet up with a bunch of Mt. Bikers, and had a pretty fun night filled with lots of beer drinkings and hot springs.

I didnt feel great in the morning so i took a little nap in GnarCar. Chris thought it would be funny to take a picture.

We finally gained motivation to go kayaking. We arrived at the Kuskanax river, a sweet class 4 ish section with some great waterfalls.

Kuskanax river with some beautiful classic BC gorge scenery.

After the Kuskanax we hiked up and ran sweet park and huck 20ftr right on the side of the road called Gardener creek.
The top drop on gardener.
The last falls on gardener.

...and from the bottom.
Check out the sweet little video I put together from the trip.\

Interior BC/ Sutherland Falls from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

This ended up being one of the most fun paddling trips of the year for me. We were able to find some stuff that none of us had done before, and all in all it was a great trip. We are bummed about Todd's shoulder he is having surgery in september and no doubt after that he will be back out killing it as usual. Heal up buddy.
Until Next time.
All photos by Chris Tretwold and Todd Gillman

A Few Shots of Bailey Fest 2010

If you weren’t able to make it to Bailey last weekend you really missed out. This ended up being an awesome event with great flows and a great turnout. Thanks to Ian from Denver (I never got your last name, sorry), and thanks to all the other organizers who I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet. Ian did a tremendous job getting the event organized and working with AW to make this recreational release a huge success and an event I’m sure will continue on into the future. I heard a rough estimate of 115 paddlers were able to make their ways through Bailey and Foxton Canyons. I unfortunately took a little too long to enjoy much of the free food and beer that was provided at the takeout, resort to chip and salsa dinner, but I imagine the burgers and brew were delectable. I hope we can all rally next year and continue to grow this awesome late season event, cheers!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chocolate River

The last real water of the year in salida came after a flash flood up stream. I could not resist even though there was tons of pine cones and pieces of wood. Totally worth it! The river fashed up to about 1500 cfs in about 30min or less. Now the water is dropping and its time to head for the Gauley, Yough and all the other rivers I can get on.

Hoping I did not get an ear infection the whole time!

Hope to see you all on the east coast or next year.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hamma Hamma Falls

This spring Evan Garcia, Pat Keller and Candace Sanders rolled up to the northwest on an epic stouting mission. They called me up and told me to meet them out on the OP to check out Hamma Hamma Falls, first descented by Todd Gillman a couple years back. The falls is a stout 20 footer into a 60 footer. Its stout. Pat ran first and killed it, Evan ran next and styled it as well. I ran and had a good line despite having to battle a little undercut wall on the left. It was a great day. Here is a sick Photo that Candace Sanders shot of me on the second falls.

Then a few weeks ago Demshitz came through and were ready for stouts. So we headed to Hamma Hamma once again. The video tells the most complete story. Check it out.
Demshitz represent.
This is one of my sickest videos to date for sure.

Hamma Hamma Falls W/Demshitz from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Middle Kings On!!!

Day 0:
There’s something about traveling around in a huge unmarked van that makes every road trip a little more interesting. At least I’m sure that’s what Oliver “Hollywood” Deshler was thinking as he ran through the reserved limousine section of the Vegas airport and leaped into our conspicuous rig; which had been repeatedly rejected from low clearance parking lots and descended upon twice by airport security. And so the Middle Kings adventure begins.

Day 1:
Waking up early we took a short trip into Bishop for last minute supplies and one last look at the gauge. We were happy to find the river had gone from the low side of too high to the high side of good and seemed to be dropping fast. It looked like our short window was going to be perfect and so with added confidence we started walking.

Matt Klema contemplating taking up lake paddling.

Ben Luck and Xavier Engle near the top of the pass.

The hike over Bishop Pass was absolutely beautiful and about 7.5 hours later we arrived at the head of La Conte canyon with sore feet and childlike excitement. A few miles of savage front-range-style mank boating later we found a beautiful camp on granite ledges where we feasted on steak and dreamed of the whitewater to come.

Matt's all business on steak night.

Day 2:

Kayaking on nothing but granite is fun. Sleeping on nothing but granite is not AS fun and after a long restless night I was more than ready to venture forth in search of the legendary California gnar I knew was to come. Name a style of rapid and chances are you will find it on day 2 of the Kings. We ran big slides, small slides, boulder gardens, waterfalls, holes etc. Roughly 93% of the pictures I have seen of the run were taken in this section.

Xavier on what I believe to be called Money Drop.

Money Drop was so fun we had to do it twice! Matt on run numero dos.

Oliver "Hole-Slayer" Deshler and Matt Klema making short work of the Waterfall Gorge.

Oliver "Gnar-Probe" Deshler working his way to the lip of the confluence slide.

Xavier on yet another sweet drop.

Yours Truly busting left on the confluence slide.

Polish ambassador to the high Sierra Bernard Sobieski running the slide in Ben Luck's boat. I'm not sure where Ben was for this.

It may look like I'm boofing in this picture. Looks can be deceiving.

Matt and Oliver "45 Degree" Deshler above the classic twenty-footer.

This was the longest day of our trip and we were all thankful when the whitewater finally eased up and we found a nice sandy camp amongst the Sequoias where we feasted on fish courtesy of Oliver "Trout-Slayer" Deshler.

Day 3:

Another great day of boating. The manky boulder gardens were nicely covered and we made good time down river. The highlight of the day came shortly before lunch. We had been leap-frogging with Jason Hale, Drew Duval, and Will Pruett the whole trip and we knew they were just ahead of us. Seeing their boats on the right shore we made for the same scouting eddy. Matt and Oliver pulled in first and just as they entered Jason peeled out in front of me with fire in his eyes. You could tell by his intensity something big was going down, and we scrambled out of our boats; running down the bank to try and get a good view of Hale firing up the Big Bad Hairy Beaver slide! That thing is massive! I considered the slide for a while but in the end decided on the conservative line (through the trees on the right) and we continued. That night was spent at my favorite camp on the run, on an island in the beautiful Tehipite valley, under what Wikipedia claims is the largest granite dome in the Sierra.

The view downstream from the Tehipite Camp.

Day 4:

I can’t remember whom, but someone once told me that the Bottom Nine on the Middle Kings was a lot like the South Merced. The joke was on me. I guess I can see the similarity if you just take all the pools out of the South Merced, turn up the gradient, tighten the canyon, and throw in some rattlesnakes and thicker poison oak for good measure! Both runs have granite boulders! That said this was one of the more memorable days of paddling I’ve ever had. This is full on expedition style boating with class V lines between portages, small eddies, endless horizon lines, and pieces of kayaks on the shore to remind you to stay on your game.

Bernard Sobieski in the Bottom Nine (still not sure what happened to Ben).

Matt and Oliver "Bottom-Nine" Deshler

A Typical Bottom Nine Scene.

A mellower section.

We had a good flow and got to run a lot of great whitewater, reaching camp at the confluence of the South Fork in good time with spirits high.

Day 5:
The Garlic Falls run provided some fun, rowdy big-water and boulder gardens. Three hours of paddling put us back at the van with cold beer and a long food-filled drive to Flagstaff to get my brother to work the next day.
Xavier on the "paddle out"

Did I mention that my dad went beyond the call of duty and ran our shuttle making our tight window possible! Three cheers for Tom Klema!! Also thanks to Rolf Kelly for the great beta, it was key. Good luck to all of the boys in there right now. Hope you have good lines and many stories to tell.