Oct 12, 2011

Chelan Gorge: final release

Chelan PUD has offered releases the last three years on the Chelan River via a flow study made possible in part by American Whitewater. I recently read the original write up on the first feasibility study in Chelan Gorge. At the time I had only been boating a few years and had a different perspective. If Chelan was the only river to paddle in the region I could see pining for releases. However, Tumwater Canyon, Icicle Creek, and the best playboating the state has to offer are an hour away. Not to mention, Chelan looked nuts. I thought these guys were crazy. Things change.

This is the last year and last weekend of the flow study, then it's up to somebody other than me to determine how many times per year this jewel will have enough flow to kayak. Rowdy as always, it's good to be back!! Big intimidating bedrock drops set in a dramatic gorge. Warm water and hot temps... couldn't ask for more.
And while Tracy Clapp, Britt Gentry, Forrest Hubler, Rick Williams, John Gangemi and Bo Shelby all got to go in first back in 2000, we get to refine the lines and discover new things about the run. And there are always the un-run drops. Or should I say un-run DROP! During the last day of the last flow release Rob McKibbon aka Superchamp first D'ed the biggest drop of the run, Pinnacle. We all looked at it for a long time and worked through many different rescue scenarios if things were to go awry. In the end, I think there were 6 throw-baggers with multiple bags, two guys at the Sieve Drop just downstream and I was in my boat, in the water, 5 feet away from the bottom hole in Pinnacle. It's about as safe as it's gonna get. It is by far the most intimidating drop on the run. Rob made it look easy.

Professor Gnarly, the aptly named ledge hole at the bottom of Entrance Exam was handing out the big smackdown as well as some passing grades. Mostly smackdown. Professor Gnarly is a stickler, pay attention.

cruising to Chelan
"you only get to run a drop blind ONCE"
Dave studies Entrance Exam for his 2nd lap

Ellie doesn't think the Prof looks so bad

 Fish employs DOUBLE EXTRA SAFETY at Entrance Exam


Meat Locker safety crew

comin' in hot!!

 winna winna, chicken dinnah!!

 Fish sets safety at Meat Locker

 Rob scouts Pinnacle  dan p photo

Brad tries to move the sieve rock @ Sieve Drop

Rob at Pinnacle  dan p photo 

Rob, Scott, Totten, Alex and the whole gang will be back next year, pending release dates. Chelan is always a good time. Can't wait for next year!!!! SYOTR

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