Rock Creek – Random boulder-garden run

Rock Creek, WA
PCT Bridge – 2nd road bridge 2.5 miles

A break down of the whitewater on Rock Creek
A break down of the whitewater on Rock Creek

November, 2012

This is a pre-story to the Top of the Rock Trip last December and we had the chance to paddle a new section of whitewater. So, back in November we all met to attempt the Top Rock, but due to access issues we were forced to paddle something else that day. We finally decided to hike in on the PCT and paddled the mile down to the bridge. The hike in was easy and beautiful at the put-in, the PCT never fails to impress.

PCT Bridge over Rock Creek

Jeremy Bisson at the PCT b Bridge put-in

The run consisted of continuous class II with 1 wood portage and we were at the bridge in no time. Since that had failed to meet our whitewater needs we decided to keep going the next 1.5 miles to the next bridge which is the normal put-in for the classic run. On the drive up the road you can catch a glimpse of the beginning of what forms into a dramatic white tilt in the creek bed almost all the way to the take-out. We scouted the top and decided to pick off a short section over a tight mushroom ledge drop with an immediate portage below.

We put on, paddled the tight lines through the boulder drops and paddled to an eddy on the left and scouted a long section. At this point the creek was full of boulders and debris scattered along the sides of the creek. The next line required running a 1/2 miles section straight down the middle of the creek with sieves along the sides all the way down. The crux move required a boof onto a log sieve and over the pour over on the other side… Jeremy and I decided to go test our luck as Jacob waited at the crux setting safety. He pushed off and I followed close staying in the center and watching for the log landmark. I saw Jeremy get stalled above the crux and slow down, I was going way to fast and caught and eddy just above it behind a small rock as he dropped over it and out of sight for a second. I turned and threaded the needle through the sieve, log and rocks into the run out and into the eddy. It was manageable at this flow, but no room for error. If the flow was a little lower the center of the creek would probably be mostly sieves too. We paddled a short busy section down to the left and got out on a small island where we had to portage around wood down to the end of the island, which was a short distance, but slow going. We put in and paddled a fast section around the corner with a blind drop on the left into a busy section down the right to a confluence with a tiny creek. We had another log portage then the gradient eased just before the take-out.

That section proved to be more a little more than we were expecting and it’s not a run I could recommend unless you are in the drainage already, bored, and don’t mind micro creeking with lots of sieves in play. The Washington guide book mentions two class VI waterfalls in the upper section…given the loose and crumbly nature of this section of the creek I wouldn’t be surprised if those have been pushed over in post floods. It’s now one continuous mile long boulder-garden with many obstacles…

Heaven & Hell downstream on the classic run…

Other whitewater on Rock Creek

Money Drop/First Falls

Top of the Rock – Headwaters

Other whitewater nearby Rock Creek

Hagen Creek Gorge


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