Monday, November 28

Trip Report: American (Middle Fork - 950cfs) - November 12, 2005

Run: American, Middle Fork (through Tunnel Chute)- November 12, 2005
Difficulty: IV
Flow: 950cfs

Given the absence of water in most other places we headed up to the Middle Fork of the American, my first time. There are a couple of fun rapids near the beginning of the run and a few at the end, but the 8 miles of flat water in the middle is PAINFUL. I don't think it's worth it - unless you are planning to run Tunnel Chute. The shuttle is a long pain in the ass, one section of potholed dirt road at the takeout and down paved roads to the put-in, but it is very windy and takes a long time.

American Middle Fork - Put-in Posted by Picasa

The put-in is followed right away by a narrow section down from the dam outlet to the main river. A snappy warm up - gets you going, hence the name.

Panic Room Posted by Picasa

Christine AKA Hannibal the Cannibal Posted by Picasa

Crew getting ready at the put-in Posted by Picasa

- Tunnel Chute is great to see, very cool. A channel blasted through rock that drops into a big pool that goes through a man made hole in the mountain to the other side. Three of our group ran it, I saved it for another time.

You can checkout Brian T running the rapid on Google Video.

Also checkout the pix below, the first two giving you a sense of what Tunnel Chute is all about:

Tunnel Chute (see Mike W upper left for scale) Posted by Picasa

Tunnel Chute Rapid (left channel) Posted by Picasa

Ha-Kan the Crazy Swede Posted by Picasa

Hannibal at Tunnel Chute Posted by Picasa

Cave exiting from Tunnel Chute Posted by Picasa

Cave through to Tunnel Chute viewed from downstream Posted by Picasa

- I thought Kanaka Falls was the harder of the three IV rapids. We ran river right then ferried hard left immediately before the big drop into the hole. There's an eddy on the far right but it was next to a big drop so I thought it was too sketchy. The wavetrain right afterwards shouldn't be underestimated so don't let your guard down. There's also another small hole right afterwards that you need to look out for. Scouting left before running is an easy takeout.

After Kanaka Falls the miserable 8 mile paddle begins. I got so damn cold I gave up taking pictures.

- Upper Ruck-a-Chucky was worth a look but the move was pretty straightforward - potentially messy if you missed it completely and went over the top. Scouting was a pain and a difficult take-out on river left.

- Ruck-a-Chucky is a must portage and fun to see, it has a trail for the portage.

- Lower Ruck-a-Chucky was worth a quick look but the move wasn't too bad, right to left but looking out for the rock wall at the end. Easy scout on river right.