Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Vallecito in The Bone Zone

Guage: 1.85-1.75
Weather Forecast: Crap
Kayaking Motivation Meter: Full

Gear is packed!

After some last minute spring trip planning late Thursday night and Friday morning we rallied a crew:
  • Mike MurfNasty
  • Ben Jebus Carter
  • Chris Mack
  • Scott Dent
  • Myself
Mack, Ben, Mila, and I meet up Friday afternoon and load up. It's actually happening. We show up late to meet Murphy and Dent at Murph's RV site.

The Next Morning Trying to Stay Warm

Finally we motivate after a Pabst and a breakfast bagel.
Murphy, Mack, and Spivy hiking to the putin

Nerve levels were low and Stoke levels were high.

Dent and I Hiking up

The warm weather was definitely a plus

Gearing Up!

First up, Entrance Falls 18' with a cave on the left side that isn't in play much at low water. Everyone has decent lines, but Dent got pushed right into the over hanging wall making a roll impossible. He swims with no consequences just a few strokes to the eddy.

Mack landing a lofty boof!

Trash Can is boney and has some high piton potential. Pick-up Sticks isn't much, but it's fun to boof. Fourth major rapid is Fuzzy Little Bunny. The creek at this level channelizes into a falls on the right and a falls on the left. The center boof at this level is non-existant. Unknown to us all under the river left falls is a scary 10 foot deep cave.

Me moments before my swim

Dent and Murph line up and come out alright, but when I run it I get pushed into the cave upside down. I swim and no one can see my boat. We all start talking, and we decide that I'm going on a hip belay down behind the curtain into a scary room of doom to see if my boat is there.

Setting anchors and discussing worst case scenario options

Attempt #1 ends with me swimming down the channel still not seeing my boat. We adjusted the angle I was being belayed from and try again. Attempt #2, I see my boat fish it out with my leg and clip into it. I pull my quick release and swim the channel to the eddy. The boat went back into the cave and got caught in the sieve at the opening. We set an 8 to 1 pulley ratio and Dent climbs across the river, but still no luck the boat is stuck. Attempt #3, I climb back down there and man-handle it out of the cave, but the rope clipped to it wraps around my legs. I immediately pull my quick release and jump out of the loop and swim to the eddy with my boat behind me. Luckily no gear was lost and I had my boat back. This is the advantage to having a solid crew that has your back in any situation.


Here I go to one of the scariest places I've been on a river
Cave Sieve!

We're exhausted so we eat some food, get all our gear back together, and head down the river.

Next up Paddle Bitch:

Dent in Paddle Bitch

No Way Out and Finish Line go smooth with some great boofs. The canyon opens up and we're all on Perma-Stoke level.

Paying homage for safe swims

If I have any words of advice to people looking at Vallecito in the bone zone it would be, always bring a solid crew and never take this creek too lightly.

Enjoy this video by Chris Mack: