Trip Report: Yuba (South Fork "E to P" ) - 1/21/06 (+Video)
Run: SF Yuba "Edwards to Purdons"
Flow: 1000cfs (estimated due to potential 300cfs guage variance)
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 www.cacreeks.com 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.