Monday, September 19, 2011

Middle Fork of the Kings - MFK B9er!

The Middle Kings is one of those rivers that rates on the top of many of the worlds best kayaker’s hit lists. And after being lucky enough to experience this amazing run last year I was eager to get back in and enjoy the Cali goodness. Beginning our walk at a leisurely 2pm from the Bishop Pass Trailhead, ready for the start of our five day adventure, this time I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last time and packed plenty of extra chocolate goodies (into Jordy’s back pack who hiked in most of our food up and over the grueling Bishop pass) knowing that they would come in handy on the last couple of days.

And the walk begins... (p. Jordy)

On the walk we took turns alternating the lead along with Taylor Cavin and his team who started at the same time as us.That evening we camped on the Le conte canyon side of Bishop pass about 2000m below the top of Bishop, Well me Snarly, Pruett and the Jugonaut did, the rest slept where they fell and were re united with us in the morning for the final couple hour slog down to the river.

Barny dwarfed (p. Jordy)

Preacher working for it (p. Jordy)

Barny and Preutt almost at the top of Bishop Pass (p. Jordy)

Little Will Preutt (p. Jordy)

No fires above 10,000 feet... we were AT 10,000! (p. Barny)

Putting on mid afternoon we made quick progress through a couple of miles of manky whitewater before Snarly pulled over in dismay after putting a 20cm crack in the base of his boat. Making the tough decision Snarley decided to walk out knowing that he at least had a track to follow at this stage.Gutted to see Charles having to walk out the rest of us carried on our way paddling through some lush meadows making a few more miles progress before pulling in for the evening. The next morning we awoke to the sounds of Taylor Cavins crew. Putting on again we made some quick progress through some some sick slides and rapids before catching Taylor’s crew at the 7 rivers cover drop. All of us decided to give this one a miss apart from Dan the Man Menton who fired it up. In the next 2 minutes I witnessed one of the most full on beat downs I have ever seen as Dan surfed for 40secs before pulling the pin. After having his hands on numerous ropes he finally held on tight to Pruetts miracle bag penduling him in just in time before he swum of the next drop.

Barny going big (p. Smurf)

With our team carrying on it wasn’t long before we came across one of the coolest things I have ever had the opportunity to paddle through. A Snow Tunnel. This epic tunnel had obviously been created by an avalanche earlier in the year and being witness to just how big a snow year Cali had this year was still in full force in the middle of August!!! Getting through the snow tunnel we all were in a state of awe.

Will paddling towards the snow cave (p. Barny)

Below this we made quick progress with us all remembering snippets of what lay downstream. Before long we arrived at the waterfall Gorge where I pulled over to empty my boat feeling as thou it seemed a bit full. Turning it over I soon realized I had a 30cm long crack in the base of my boat. Knowing I was past the point of no return I left my boat to dry in the sun scouted the waterfall Gorge and with the help of the boys applied a layer of bitchothane to the inside of my hull and got back to business. The next few more miles progress we camped at the sweet 'Pruett' camp, a nice spot on river right at the end of a few miles of cruisey whitewater.

Peacher on his maiden voyage down the MFK-B9er!!! (p. Barny)

The following morning we motivated early putting on at 10am, running some good cruisey water for the first few miles. I was happy to be making good downstream progress with my wounded boat. Soon however the intensity picked up and after another couple of miles of chunky whitewater we reached the “BIG BAD BEAVER”. All deciding to give it a look the only one with the fire in his eyes after about half an hour of chilling at the base of the Beaver was Smurf. Avoiding the killer hole on river left with ease Smurf showed us all how this bad boy should be run. Below the Beaver we were in for a few more sweet rapids and a friendly meadow before reaching the towering dome of campsite of Tehipite at 2pm. That afternoon we chilled out knowing the next day would be a big one as we planned on pumping out the 20 mile section of both the bottom 9 and Garlic falls in one day.

I guess Big Bad Beaver had a pool at the bottom, thats
smurfs criteria for running drops! (p. Barny)

Lifestyling (p. Barny)

Tehipite Valley (p. Barny)

The following day we defied all odds and even had preacher on the water by 9am for what we knew would be a big day. We made quick progress through the steep and continuous bottom 9 section, making a few quick portages and us all taking our turns of probing some exciting lines. In the final mile of the bottom 9 I noticed my boat had started to full again but was stoked it had made it. Reaching the confluence at 2pm we chillaxed for an hour before Taylor Cavins crew showed up who we had met again midway through the bottom nine. Throwing our high fives we were all stoked to have made it. Not before the Garlic falls section was done however!! This 10miles is a complete different style after getting of the Kings with a Big water feel that with some cunky holes and hydraulics that keep you on your toes right until the end.

"Charging", Will Preutt. (p. Barny)

Reaching the car at 7pm, we were stoked to see Pruetts pink shorts hanging in the tree. With cold beers all round it was an amazing finish to another Epic cali season!

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