Friday, July 27, 2012

Mesa Falls, Idaho

Well we finally managed to break out of the vortex and I think this time it may be for good. Our five day trip to the NF Payette blew out to almost three weeks, which mean't it would make sense to detour even further east to Wyoming and try and bag some of the late season runs. To break up our drive we figured we might as well stop in at Mesa Falls for a little huck session and to check out the infamous right side of the falls. So we linked up with some Boise locals Matt Elam and Jason Butts and made out way out to Mesa. 

Stoked to have ticked off another thing I have wanted to run

We probably should of read something about accessing the falls etc, but we eventually worked it out and were soon making the 1-2mile hike down to the falls. We figured we should all paddle the left line and then see how we feel for the right. So Jason and Matt got things under-way then we followed suit.

Jason and Matt making their way to the falls.

and then scouting their lines.

Jason first to making it down.

Matt on his second attempt, this time with my Snapdragon deck on!

Just another waterfall for Nick.

Another angle of the spectacular falls.

Nick stomping the second drop

Going towards the 25footer.


After we had all paddled the left side Nick and I went over to river right to inspect the line over there. We had been told by some friends who paddled it recently that you aim for the reconnect 15ft down and then you land in the veil of the left line and you just wait to be spit out.... tempting? Not really. Nick, who is well versed in the waterfall world and who is crazy as fuck, couldn't even justify the idea of potentially falling 40ft. Power to those crazy's who have ran that side before!

Scouting the right side... no wonder this one has dished out so
much carnage!

 Trying to keep a leash on Nick, not mean feat!

Next is Bull Lake, the Upper North Fork through to the reservoir. One of the most epic trips of my life, not a classic but am glad I have it under my belt!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Vortex - Still North Forking!

I'll let you in on a little secret, going to the North Fork is like a can of Pringles. Once you pop, you can't stop! The only difference is, you never run out of NF. Nick and I tried to break out of the time-vortex that the North Fork is, we even made it as far as  Boise for a night out with some new friends. But due to high flows in Wyoming we only had one real option, head back to our regular routine of waking up at Shady-7, setting shuttle at the convenient banks cafe while grabbing some breakfast, paddling top-to-bottom on the NF and then some serious lifestyling for the rest of the day. Pretty tough life really, but its what we have to deal with I guess. Them the breaks. 

 Always stoked for a T-to-B on the NF!

We never really motivate to take photos, 15 miles with no portages does that to you, but we were fortunate enough to have Beth and Amanda follow us down one fine day and snap a few more shots of us taking some locals down our new home run. 

 Nick and I exiting 'Nut Cracker'

 Nick letting the Jah-Mad do the work 

Me busting through the hit in 'Disneyland' 

Richard Young following suit  

 Nick entering 'Bouncer'

 Nick and I charging through 'Jacobs Ladder', always a serious rapid 

 Me on 'Rock Drop' in 'Jacobs Ladder', its good when its good and fucking
scary when it doesn't go good!

 Nick cruising through 'Hounds Tooth', legit. 

 Pablo, stoked to be back on the water

 Our group back to full size for the lower-five. 

We're finally breaking out of the vortex now, we'll trying at least, and are slowly making our way towards Wyoming to get on some proper wilderness runs. And I can't wait!

Demshitz keeping me safe on the Payette

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Humbling - North Fork Payette, Idaho

After our all out Huckfest in Oregon we proceeded with the obligatory bender in Eugene's BARmuda-triangle, one that will never be forgotten. The end result was 1 lost credit card, 1 police citation, 1 person being physically thrown from the bar, 1 person sleeping between dumpster, 1 person sleeping in a random persons front yard (miles from where we were staying) and one of the boys taking up accommodation with a fine local lady. We wont name names but it was a good night for all. From here Nick, Charles and Myself decided to head up to White Salmon to get a few days lapping the Little White. We got in a ton of laps, routing Spirit every time and took absolutely no photos. After reaching our point of content we decided it was time for boot-camp, which mean't we were heading to Idaho. More specifically, the North Fork of the Payette!

Nick Charging into 'Nut-Cracker' (p. Jordy)

With specific instructions from the NF locals I have the following to say about the North Fork, "it's horrible, the camping sucks, the locals will exclude you and there is absolutely no reason to come here". That said, it is by far the most life changing river I have ever been on. The 'simulated big-water' is all consuming, taking a lilly-dipping foreigner and converting him into a real paddler. Having spent almost 2 weeks here, paddling top-to-bottom pretty much every day I have to say it has been educational. Going from a gripped, wide-eyed and lost paddler to... well a little less gripped, often wide-eyed and semi-knowing where I am going. Both Nick and myself were brought back down to earth and had to adapt to this new-form of whitewater. Big moves, big holes and big enjoyment. Nick even topped it off by bagging 3 top to bottoms, and a middle 3 in a day, which equates to a vertical mile!

 Seth coming into 'Steepness' (p. Jordy)

 Nick getting right half-way through 'Nut-Cracker' (p. Jordy)

 Seth charging (p. Jordy)

 Me being engulfed... somewhere (maybe 'Disneyland') (p. Alison)

 Nick hucking the meat of 'Rock-Drop' in 'Jacobs Ladder'. (p. Alison)

Me leading Nick and Seth through 'Golf Course' (p. Alison)

Having learn't the lessons of the Payette we're ready to leave 'boot-camp' and move onto something else, potentially the goods of Wyoming and then BC. Who knows!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Land of Giants - McKenzie River, Oregon

Well I am glad to say that I have managed to make my annual pilgrimage to North America, and although I knew it, I was gutted to arrive in the COMPLETELY melted state of California. Traditionally a June 17th arrival would mean I would at least get the back end of the high sierra season, and therefore I would catch my 'unicorn', which is the Middle Kings. But this wasn't to be and I would once again miss the ultra classic high sierra season ender. Nonetheless, I had arrived and would be linking up with the ever charging Nick Murphy for our search for Truth. Our path is unknown, but the direction would be North. I managed to get in a few runs of Tobin's on the North Feather and Cherry Creek (Proper) on the Tuolumne before Nick's charge wagon was ready to go. 

Charge Wagon ready to go (p. Pruett)

Our first point of business was the Giants of Oregon, two 80 foot waterfalls that lay waiting between Eugene and Bend. This was a personal goal of Nicks who was fresh of a Chile season and a hurried Cali season. I was not really interested in the beasts as I am pretty much terrified of tall drops, but figured at the least I could provide good safety and get some good snaps. Just as we were leaving Cali we got some great news, Snarley Charley (Charles King) was going to break the shackles of working life and get off the couch! Our plan was to meet up with Jake who had been hanging out near the falls and also link up with Dave Fusilli, Darin McQuoid, Mike & Craig so we had good numbers for safety and media. 

We woke in the morning to find the grey and dismal weather had cleared and we would have blue skies and sunshine. We spent a fair amount of time scouting out Sahalie, the first of the two falls, trying to established how to run the entry, where you want to be going over the falls, how the bottom would go and most importantly, how would we best set safety. I personally wasn't sold on the falls but thought I would help with safety and photos and see how I felt after some boys had fired. Nick and Jake were both stoked on it and made their way to the top of the falls and proceeded with the obligatory ro-sham-bo... which Jake won. Winner Goes!!! In true style Jake stomped the falls and paddled away clear and unscathed. Nick was next to go, and although he was a bit further right than expected he came through okay. Next to go to the top were Dave and Mike, and much to my surprise King Charles. After a short moment of looking I could see in Charles' eyes the 'Fuck-it' look as he quickly moved to his boat and the fired the beast. Another clean line and I was suddenly much more attracted to the idea of running the falls, but this would be short lived. Dave was next to fire and had what I thought was a perfect line, entering at the perfect angle in the middle of the falls. Unfortunately his deck imploded and he knew to ditch his gear and look for the bag as a very serious rapid was immediately downstream. Jake hit him with a bag and dragged him to safety but unfortunately there was a mix up on river right safety and his boat washed down into the rapid and was damaged. I was quickly brought back to reality, and after sorting out Dave's boat etc we decided to finish for the day and come back tomorrow with clear heads. 

Dave contemplating Sahalie (p. Jordy) 

Mike also looking (p. Jordy) 

 Nick about to realise his dream (p. Jordy)

 Safety set (p. Jordy)

 Ro-Sham-Bo (p. Jordy)

 Nick charging Sahalie (p. Jordy)

 Charles off the couch (p. Jordy)

 Dave about to go deep (p. Jordy)

That night I put the falls out of my head, enjoying a few drinks and good food. Come morning time, however, Nick brought me back to reality... "it's your turn today bro". It was the longest one hour drive I had ever had, but I had set my mind on getting into my gear and going to the lip of the falls. When we arrived at the falls things changed dramatically. Everyone had moved down to Koosah, Mike, Craig and Darin had lost their desire for Sahalie and todays goal would be Koosah. This curve ball was good for me, instead of over thinking things as I am guilty of doing I was starting with a fresh slate... and I was keen. Mike, Jake and Nick were keen to go first so they rocked off, Jake won and would be going first, then Mike, Nick, Me and then whoever. Jake, AGAIN, styled it, mike got the instant eject - to - yard sale (gear all over the place), Nick styled it and then it was my turn. I dont think I have ever been so focused above a drop, I was almost in a trance looking down towards the lip. I came in hot, not going to the eddy people were using to set up, going through the confused entrance without a stoke and then grabbing the all important rudder to control my angle over the lip. I sat as proud as I could but still couldn't avoid an early tuck after ditching my paddle. I hit pretty much vertical and hand-rolled into a fit of celebration. In scouting the drop I had talked myself out of the height of the drop but after feeling the prolonged free-fall I was stoked, styling what I think will be the biggest falls of my life. 

Dave was next and came soon after me, plunging in on a perfect angle as I charged out to toss him a paddle and celebrate with him. Although he hand-rolled immediately, when my paddled landed beside him he was unable to use it. I quickly grabbed his paddle and ushered him to the side of the river. He was grasping at his shoulder, indicating to us that it was dislocated. I was a quick attempt to put it back in, knowing it only gets harder with time. I then drove Dave immediately to the Emergency Clinic, but before I left Nick ran up with fire in his eyes and said, "We're going to finish our business here, then meet you at the clinic". I knew what that meant. Everyone else ended up running it, making it 8 for the day... probably one of the biggest single days for kayaking. 

Mike about to take the leap (p. Jordy)

Nick stomping Koosah, and bagging the double (p. Charles)

Me about to drop the beast (p. Darin McQuoid)

After a medical examination, x-ray and a long time it was established Dave has actually broken his Cromium in his shoulder. It wasn't a complete break so hopefully it doesn't need surgery. I guess that it's a reminder to all of use there that day, and those who are reading this... is one moment of glory and adrenaline worth the pain of not only the injury but more so knowing other people are still paddling while you are recovering. I am stoked to have run the falls but wont be rushing to run another drop this size, well... I don't think so. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Episode 4: Kokatahi River - New Zealand

Better late than never, here is the last episode of the Worthy Series I got done before I left to the USA! This is my favourite river in the world, the Kokatahi!!!

Some shots from the USA coming here soon!