Monday, December 26, 2011

California Charge 2011

Barny and I have been lucky to pretty much skip the New Zealand winter the last two years by making the now OBVIOUS pilgrimage to the sunshine state, California. During this time we have been fortunate enough to assimilate into the local Cali crew and get pretty much everything Cali has to offer! Unfortunately I bruised or cracked or broke some ribs down on the Kaweahs this season so missed the business end but Barny carried on the Charge routing Graceland, Upper Cherry, high water Devils-Postpile and the Middle Kings. Here is an edit of the spectacular white-water that Cali has to offer, and that we were fortunate to get on! Enjoy!

Here is the edit from 2010... so looks like 2012 will be better again!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kokatahi River - West Coast's Finest!!!

Waiting to enter Carnage Gorge (p. Jordy)

The West Coast is home to numerous classic kayaking runs, from the Styx, Crooked and Kaka's to the Arahura, Whitcombe and Upper Hoki. But I think it is the Kokatahi, however, that is now the West Coasts premier class V run. Granted it doesn't have the overnight facet of the Mungo, Whitcombe or Perth, but it has EVERYTHING else. Spectacular scenery, steep boulder gardens, big rapids, committing gorges, the ever-present remote feeling, deep blue pools and anything else you could want in a kayaking run. It pretty much all goes, there were maybe 5 things that didn't get run on this high-water trip ('cover-shot' and the 'direct-slot' usually get paddled at normal flows). Our crew was Barny, Razza (Simon) Rutherford, B-Rain and Myself, the flow was Juicy and we all had good lines and safe times!

Old Razza about to loose his Kokatahi virginity (p. Barny)

Its a long an intimidating flight, even more
so when you know its high! (p. Barny)

Straight off the bat, the Kokatahi is solid
class V (p. Barny)

B-Rain getting over his initial Kokatahi
apprehension (p. Jordy)

The upper section is comprised of steep open
boulder gardens (p. Simon Rutherford)

Stacked, remote, beautiful. (p. Simon Rutherford)

This flow meant everything had holes of
consequence, lucky rudders is a master in
deal with holes (p. Barny)

Everything goes, you just need to sack up or get
Barny to scout it for you. B-Rain running
an alternate line in fine form (p. Barny)

Barny and B-Rain enjoying one of the
numerous pushy boulder gardens
(p. Jordy)

Scenery that speaks for itself (p. Jordy)

Barny charging into the infamous 'Carnage Gorge', aptly
named after the events from the First Descent.
(p. Jordy Searle)

There used to be a boxed-in waterfall in Carnage Gorge,
so it always a good idea to find out what the status of
the gorge is (p. Simon Rutherford)

B-Rain entering class IV gorge, which comes straight
after the 'direct-slot' (p. Jordy Searle)

I think this is in 'Nothing Gorge', class III
entry then nothing... or is there?
(p. Simon Rutherford)

Enough said (p. Jordy)

The 'Twin-Towers', which we portaged due to high
water. (p. Simon Rutherford)

If you get here with plenty of time its worth scouting
before lowering boats as you're pretty much done,
just the portage to go really.(p. Simon Rutherford)

A trip earlier in the week had some real carnage, with
two lost boats, a dislocated shoulder (heli evac), a hike
out, numerous resues... Just before 'Portage Gorge' we
noticed this boat and decided to pull it out... destroyed!
(p. Jordy)

My beast in a familiar spot, I think that was my 12th
trip down and Barny has done as many, if not more!
(p. Simon Rutherford)

Well we got a fair bit of footage from this trip, so looks like we're back on track! The weather is good and levels are now holding... Whats next?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rocky Creek, New Zealand. First Descent.

Last year a good friend of ours was lucky enough to get a job that involved him being flown into remote parts of Paparoa National Park, giving him a great vantage point for scoping out rivers. For the past 9 months he had been going on about this creek, easy access, slides and it runs regularly. Even with this beta we always chose the 'bread n butter' flood runs opposed to scouting out/paddling this creek. One hungover morning, however, I tricked Barny into thinking it was after 9am and we motivated ourselves to walk into and down this creek to check it out... at around 7am! What we seen we liked, so figured next big rain we should get in there..... But the next big rain was too big (Civil Defence was evening on stand-by for the town of Greymouth) and we missed it. On the Wednesday, 14th of December we got some more rain and gave it another shot, this time accompanied by Skux and the Dream (ing of Whitewater) Team, Daan and Jess.

Putting in at the 'Log Bridge', you want more water
than this but not the whole rock cover (we think).
(p. Barny Young)

We, unknowingly, put on a bit below optimal flow but it was good for the first trip down to work out how everything would go. The creek is quite narrow, and is primarily sandstone. Comprised of about 10 slides, a gorged rapid and a couple of portages due to trees, this short run turned out to be quite cool. At our flow it was relatively low-stress, but as the flow got higher things would get a lot harder. Anyway, here are a few photos of a new flood run on the coast.

There are various boofs and slides (p. Barny Young)

Daan on the first part of the 'Gorge' rapid
(p. Barny Young)

The slides were mainly this angle, with some
taller ones. (p. Barny Young)

Being wrapped in the thick coastal forest just
contributes to this unique West Coast run.
(p. Barny Young)

Here is how to access this run: .... Go with a local. I have found out that access might be a little more questionable than first thought, so its a little locals spot X if you will....