Friday, September 17, 2004

The Stikine River Day 3- living in the present moment

To watch video from day three=>
Click Here
On day 2, after ‘the wall’, the river opened up into an area known as the Garden of the Gods (see day 2 pic of Nikki). The geologic change between the vertical walled inner gorge and the open expanse of the garden was amazing. Huge fields of scree ran off of blocky sandstone cliffs. Light brown in color, the big cliffs presented a stark contrast to the dark, columnar basalt of the canyon.

After a couple of miles we came to camp 2, a big sandbar at the end of a long straight away.

Fred unloading the kitchen sink @ camp 2

photo by Nikki Kelly

The shoe drying rack.

photo by Nikki Kelly

The crew preparing to put on for ‘The Big Day”

Our entire beta on the Stikine river pointed toward day three as ‘the one’. Everyone had told us (including Polk who had previously run the river) that day 1 and 2 were simply a warm-up for the big drops in the lower Narrows. They (Rob, Charlie, Polk) were exactly correct. All of the drops, although generally shorter in nature, were larger than encountered thus far in the trip.

John and Nikki in the Rock Garden.

Here is another random day 3 drop

Justin Beckwith in ‘Wall 2’

One of the finest treats on day 3 (although a couple had been seen high on the walls in the preceding days) was the plethora of mountain goats high on the walls of the Stikine.

Here are a few shots of some mighty goats.

The first monster of day 3 comes on with a fright. Scissors, possibly the most consequential drop of the river, was only run by 3 of the 8 contestants present. This decision was based mainly on the nasty rocks very much in play, located just after the enormous crashing diagonals.

John and Tommy scouting on Day 3.

Here is a sequence of Tommy running Scissors.

Daniel, taking one for the team in Scissors.

Grace giving it all and sticking the meat of Scissors.

The next big drop in the narrows, the fabled ‘Hole that ate Chicago’, required either boofing a very ‘wet’ ledge away from the hole, or riding a diagonal immediately in front of the hole capable of swallowing a major metropolitan area.

Here is Nikki Kelly gracefully avoiding the meat.

The culmination of everything we came up North to accomplish could be summed up in one moment. When we pulled out away from the ramp at V-Drive and pointed her downstream, there was no other place to be than the present moment.

Here are a few of us standing on the pilar above V-Drive.

photo by Nikki Kelly

V-Drive was first run by Idahoan Conrad, sometime in the 90’s I believe, and the reason others hadn’t ventured down there before was pretty obvious, even from 100 feet off the deck.

Well the portage looked downright awful, so back to the river we headed. Tommy took the first run solo, sans wingman.

photo by Nikki Kelly

The immensity of this rapid cannot be described in words, lets just say the first feature you deal with must compare to Mavericks off the coast of California, a face of nearly 20 vertical feet, ending a violently crashing hole, sending you flying toward the inhospitable left wall.

Daniel in the top of V-Drive.

photo by Nikki Kelly

These video sequences might help get a better understanding of the enormity of V-Drive.
Tommy taking the sub aquatic line.

Toby MacDermott getting swallered up by the hole on top of the Mavericks wave.

Justin Beckwith in V-Drive.

Fred Coriell and Daniel DeLaVergne, V-Drive.

After V-Drive, the sense of being somewhere and doing something monumental really took over the whole crew. We floated down through the inner narrows, elated at surviving the monster and proud to be apart of such a monumental accomplishment, not Justus making down period, but being with Ms. Nikki Kelly, the first woman to ever paddle through the heart of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine.

One last obstacle awaited our exit of the Canyon, Guard Dog and Tanzilla Slot. The slot is wide enough to pin a kayak in width wise and features several marginal boiling eddy lines and such.

The Tanzilla River flows in just above the slot, adding extras flow to the river.

Fred clearing the ‘slot’.

‘Rise Up’

It is here that Wille Kern's notes really tell the story of what's going on.

"Gaurd Dog was split by a shoal island, look down on the left for a falls coming in on the right and the n the flows combine and squishes up in front of Tanzilla Slot. Powerhouse is all that remains till the confluence of the Tahltan. And now your are at the end and nothing has changed but everything is different. Be well, be safe, beware, because."


Could not have said it better.

A scenic shot looking back up into the Tanzilla Slot. The juxtaposition of the rock types is evident in this shot.

Hilleke running the last big rapid before the long paddle out to Telegraph Creek.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, from the whistler crowd. One huge accomplishment and few will ever no what is down there. Take care and be proud.

Dave Reid
Tommy we are planning a homathco/southgate next year as well as Alsek(turnback) Give us a ring.
604 906 3969.

Oh an congrats on the future wedding.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great trip! Damon Miller and I ran the right side of V-drive on our 2002 trip. When we got to V-drive we carried our boats up the ramp expecting to portage. Damon got looking around and saw the right side was a go. We carried back down and had one of the biggest rides of the trip down the right side!


8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope to see your adventure on LVM dvd soon

the 7 reivers expedition was cool and stikine too, do you plan to go to the magpie in quebec ? the north coast of the province of quebec got a lot of very good whitewater potential and with first run

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done to T-dub!
i did burn a few down for you guys!
Well done!
yah man!

2:09 AM  

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