Saturday, February 4

Trip Report: Yuba (NF Goodyear's Bar) - 2/4/06 (+Video)

Run: NF Yuba "Goodyear's Bar"
Difficulty: IV+
Flow: 2000 cfs

(includes video)

Excellent end to an incredible weekend after running Pauley Creek the day before. We ran the Goodyear's Bar section down to the Fiddler's Creek takeout. Both the "California Whitewater" book by Cassady & Calhoun and don't do this run justice. We put-in at the Goodyear's Bar bridge, easy, we encroached on some private land by crossing the bridge to go down to a beach but no one was around. There were a bunch of gravel bars and then Ramshorn was the first rapid of significance.

At this flow the right channel wasn't clearly evident and so we were confused for a while as we scouted, since it didn't seem to fit the description. We only noticed the third channel after running the rapid and then realized where we were. After scouting we picked the middle channel as the book suggests (which looks like the right of two channels right next to each other). There's video of that below. There were a bunch of other fun rapids not named or described in the book or online, so this run ended up being a lot more fun that you might think from the description.

Two pair had a no brainer line down river left, easily scouted, the consequences would suck if you ended up in the hole though. It's pretty nasty.

There were a couple of other really fun rapids, especially this one long huge wavetrain before Maytag down river left.

The video is over 8 minutes, but is worth watching if purely for the clean line at Maytag from Cory, very cool. In a playboat too! He made us all look like suckers.

Friday, February 3

Trip Report: Pauley Creek - 2/3/06 (+Video)

Run: Pauley Creek
Difficulty: IV+
Flow: 280 cfs (Estimated)

(includes video)

If you get the chance, run this creek!!!

This was my first time down Pauley Creek, and probably my second real "creeking" run. This was one of the coolest and most fun runs I've ever done - a total blast. It's amazing how much your first 15 foot waterfall will get the juices flowing.

Diane Gaydos took and edited a bunch of video from the entire run (thanks Diane!):

Here's me getting eaten but fighting my way out of the hole at "Slip and Slide":

But making it through with a nice boof over a drop further down the run:

We stayed at the Carriage Inn in Downieville, $80 for a room with two queen beds. Nice enough place, right across the street from the bar - not a good idea since we got hammered on tequila after the run then woke up hungover on Sunday to run the NF Yuba Goodyear's Bar run. Nice, very nice.

Downieville's a cute & funky little town which is kinda in the middle of nowhere. A good 4 hours or so drive from San Francisco with the last 90 miles on increasingly windy roads.

We had our fair share of carnage, most caught on video. Thankfully I wasn't in the middle of it, for a change. Nine of us went down, and nine of us came out! Only Brian ran Pauley Falls at the end of the run, a pretty bumpy ride down even at these flows. I didn't think it was worth the back pounding, but it was cool nonetheless.

Friday, January 27

Trip Report: American (South Fork "Gorge") - 1/27/05

Run: SF American "Gorge"
Difficulty: IV
Flow: 4000cfs

Golden oldie run on the Gorge at high flow. Some stomping holes and fun wavetrains all the way down to Salmon Falls with moving water until the take-out. Sweet.

Sunday, January 22

Pentax Optio WP Camera - Update on Problems

Back in May last year I posted that I bought the Pentax Optio WP digital camera. The camera is pretty cool for the price given the functionality you get, but the software in the actual camera is crap. The camera freezes up on me all the time meaning you have to pop out the battery to restart it. I also had some problems connecting it to my PC since it isn't always recognized as a device and sometimes the connection freezes once it is recognized.

I just had to send it back for a warranty repair since it will no longer boot up. It looks like it is starting up, shows the welcome screen, then promptly dies. I gave it a slight knock before this started when I dropped it a very short distance, but nothing that should have messed it up.

The other thing that many others have mentioned is the fact that the lens is hard to clear of steam and water droplets when you carry it in your PFD. I haven't found a good way to get around this yet, and I'm sure other similar cameras have the same problem.

I'll let you know if there's any improvement when the camera comes back. Would I change my buy recommendation? Probably not - but just be warned that it has some limitations. The new model might be better.

Saturday, January 21

Trip Report: Yuba (South Fork "E to P" ) - 1/21/06 (+Video)

Run: SF Yuba "Edwards to Purdons"
Difficulty: IV
Flow: 1000cfs (estimated due to potential 300cfs guage variance)

(Includes Video)

This was my first time on this run, I loved it. The crew was Brian T, Christine "Hannibal the Cannibal", Mike "Pie Face", Bob W, & David. The water is pretty clear, the rock gorges are really cool, and the rapids are pretty consistent for the entire run. Although it's only about 4 miles, we spent easily over 4 hours eddy hopping, playing, scouting and shooting some video. Even though the sun didn't hit the water much given the steep slopes, the weather was great. Interestingly enough the write up isn't very detailed and leaves out a lot of cool stuff on the run, the other book I recently bought "California Whitewater" also only has a brief mention of the run.

From San Francisco it took me about 2 hours to get to Auburn and then the put-in is probably a good 45 minutes or so from there off Highway 49.

Finding the put-in and takeout is a bit of a challenge. You have a non-optional but well maintained dirt road down to the take-out. There are several routes up to the put-in, one involves another dirt back road (in slighter poorer but good condition) if you follow the put-in road straight up the hill after the bridge, and the others involve heading back across the bridge and up to the paved road. The roads are wyndy and you should make sure you have someone familiar with run or good directions to make sure you don't get lost. If you bomb the short 4 mile run you might get frustrated with the fairly long wyndy shuttle.

Many thanks to Christine for editing this into a cool video, it shows us all sucking at the beginning since you have about 15 seconds to warm up once you put-on before you hit that drop, keep watching for some cool boof shots. Excellent music from Alpinestars:

This was a great training run for me, there's lots of eddy hopping, which is more often than not required to stay safe given its continuous nature and the frequent risk of getting pinned given the numerous boulders and drops.

There are quite a few great boofs. Brian T got a nice one on video which is part of the clip above. Unfortunately I don't have a good sense of the run to describe where they are specifically enough to be helpful.

Right below the put-in there's a short ugly rapid, pretty shallow with lots of barely exposed rocks. It starts with a short squirrelly drop into a couple of holes. We had a group of 6 and it flipped about half of us. A heart pounding start to the day given that you have about 100 yds to warm up. I guess you could walk it if you really wanted to, but if you are actually thinking of walking this first rapid then you probably shouldn't be on the run. I didn't flip but braced and flopped all the way down - a little tragic if I say so myself.

Shortly after this you get into the run for real, apparently some people call this "Entrance Exam" since you're still barely warmed up. It has a couple of fun chutes & drops but with ample eddies to boat scout and drop down.

The other rapids of note are "Esthers" (?) and "Easy Ugly". I'm not sure if Esther is really the name or whether this is just a play on words given that it is a tight "S" turn. There are three large boulders in the river showing a narrow deceptive sneak route on the left, the S turn around left of the second large boulder, and a sketchy middle line through the two largest boulders. The sneak route is rocky at this flow, probably not advisable, and the middle line looked suspicious. The S turn around river left of the main boulders in the middle is the popular line. Depending on how you line up, you can get shot against a rock wall with a great deal of current pushing off it and some pin risk against boulders slightly downstream on river left. There are big eddies right below on river right and slightly further down after the next drop. Scout on your first time.

Easy ugly is a definite scout on your first time. The line we took was around river right with a couple of relatively easy moves but with a nasty risk of getting pinned if you don't make them.

Like I said, this is a great run that you should try & do when there's enough water. Certainly not "epic" at this flow, but really nice if you get bored with everything else or need a change of scene. I thought it was a good run for someone like me with limited class IV experience. I wouldn't say that it is a good run for an introduction to class IV though.

I'll go back for sure.