liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

River Log: Little Klickitat

(I'm in the sparkly red helmet and antique yellow boat, with yellow blades on my paddle.)

The online gage said the flow was 1,060 yesterday morning when we headed out. There was some argument about whether that flow was correct. The people who'd run it before felt that the gauge was off, and that the flow was higher than that. My personal estimation is that it really was about 1000 cfs at the putin, and then we gained ~200 cfs in side streams on the way down.

Where you put in the landscape looks like a Wyoming ranch. The pastoral feel combines with the gush of river through underbrush to give the sense that this is not a whitewater river, but soon it drops into a basalt gorge and the whitewater ramps up. Once you are in the gorge, the road is some distance from the river and the easiest way out is generally by going downstream. If you have to hike out, word is river right is the only way to go.

We had a group of 11. It would have been 12 but B took out early due to a shoulder injury from the preceding weekend. Five of us had seen it before. Because the Little K runs so rarely, nobody knows it well. M had run it 2 time prior, once last year at 1300cfs and once around 800 some six years ago. The rest who'd seen it had only seen it once.

The first major drop has smallish eddies on the left above it and is reported to have a dangerous sieve somewhere out in the middle. We all walked that drop. The first half of the run has the majority of major drops, and we scouted most of them. Our group moved well in spite of its size. The flow was beefy for the riverbed, pushy with rollers all the way. There were a few significant holes of the sort that you'd really rather not get in them. The slide rapid was large and fast, but easy.

The waterfall was around 15' high and when I scouted it I picked a line out in the middle, off a flake where the hole wasn't so bad. Mike ran that line, but then M ran the beefy hole on river left and made it look good. Everybody went M's way, because it's easy to see the approach. Go through the point of both V's and boof. Done. I was surprised at how easy it was, but when I landed at the bottom the sound was disturbing. The falls had that low drumming sound of a flood, when there is a hollow sound to the water because so much air is being pushed under. Usually when I hear that sound I'm on shore, looking at large trees smashing their way downstream.

We made the entire run in 4.5 hours with only one swimmer who had to walk 1/2 mile to get down to where they were able to get her boat to shore. She'd exited after being pinned on a log. A group of four young men behind us only scouted the slide and the falls, and made the run in 3 hours.

Tags: floods, kayak, recreation, river, washington, whitewater, wilderness

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