Category Archives: Geology

Lostine River, OR -The Wallowa Mountains

The Wallowa Mountains are a mountain range located in the Columbia Plateau of northeastern Oregon in the United States. The range runs approximately 40 mi northwest to southeast between the Blue Mountains to the west and the Snake River to the east. The range is sometimes considered to be an eastern spur of the Blue Mountains. Also called the “Alps of Oregon” Much of the range is designated as the Eagle Cap Wilderness, part of the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest. The highest point in the range is Sacajawea Peak, at an elevation of 9,838 feet above sea level. The Wallowa Batholith is formed of granite from a magma upwelling in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time (between 160 million and 120 million years ago)

Most precipitation in the area is orographic precipitation. Near the tops of the mountains, total annual precipitation can exceed 100 in per year, as opposed to 10 in in the valleys. The Lostine River is a tributary to the Wallowa River draining northwest from the north side of Eagle Cap.

Before this trip Matt King had dialed in a few rivers in the Wallowa’s and after a cross-country road trip, back home for 8 hours, I was on my way to the Lostine with Jacob Cruser. We met up with Tygh and Matt and headed to the river.

The put in. The last calm pool you will see.
The put in. The last calm pool you will see.

 

After the put-in the Lostine tilts on edge and the whitewater begins. A lot of blind turns and consistent gradual gradient goes until the first long boulder garden.

The long boulder garden on the Lostine River

 

The last couple rapids build into vertical walls with an intimidating rapid to exit the gorge and reach the take-out. After ducking a log-jam and catching an eddy on river left, you can see the take-out eddy downstream on river left…in between is the exit crux. This section can be seen from the take-out bridge. Scout well and have fun. The Lostine as well as the greater Wallowa’s are packed full of adventure.

 

Log ducking before the final rapid.
Log ducking before the final rapid.

 

Tygh cruising into the take-out
Tygh cruising into the take-out

 

The Lostine was an instant classic with easy access, flat water put-in shortly followed by non-stop action. The character starts out with fast paced shallow boulder gardens that eventualy forms into a bedrock gorge before the take out bridge.

For video on the Lostine River and a couple other Wallowa Classics, check out this edit by Jacob Cruser

 

Flows: Flows are hard to catch in the Wallowas, but the best time is the spring/summer run off when the rivers slowly drop into a good flow range
Take-out: High bridge on Upper Lostine Rd.
Put-in: About 4 miles up the rd. near the first calm pool.

Advertisements

It’s only a matter of time… but which one?

With the right conditions and athletes anything is possible. The Columbia River Gorge continues to unveil it’s hidden and majestic falls. Kayakers have been in search of runnable whitewater and the heights of the falls have grown and grown over the years.

For over a decade I have been paddling, scouting, hiking and crawling through the creeks of the Columbia River Gorge and about 7 years ago I made a top ten list of the runnable and un-run waterfalls left in the Gorge and greater area. Erik Boomer recently pushed his imagination on Tanner Creek, knocking off Wahclella Falls —-CLICK HERE to see. That one was on my list at the time as was Palouse Falls (After I scouted it in 2007, which at the time seemed unbelievable, but somehow realistic for the right paddler). Well, Tyler Bradt put that one to the test and knocked it off the un-run list and the rest is history…

The technicality of the falls, access, and the height are factors that keep them from being run, but for those who look for these type of runnable waterfalls in a kayak it’s only a matter of time. Here is a look at a couple runnable waterfalls that are still on the un-run list. As i said, I made a list of ten falls, here are 5.

 #1) Big Creek Falls Standing around 90ft.
Big Creek Falls, WA
Standing around 90ft.
#2) Falls Creek Falls Standing around 70ft. Very challenging lead-in, short recovery pool.
Falls Creek Falls, WA
Standing around 70ft.
Very challenging lead-in,
short recovery pool.
#3) Hidden Falls, Multnomah Creek Standing around 70 feet Steep hike in - Vertical lip
Hidden Falls, Multnomah Creek, OR
Standing around 70 feet
Steep hike in – Vertical lip.
#4) Un-named Un-run Falls Upper Rock Creek, WA Getting there is quite a mission.
Un-named Un-run Falls
Upper Rock Creek, WA
Getting there is quite a mission, but also has more un-run gems downstream..
Horsetail Falls  Can be seen from I84 pouring in next to the Historic Hywy just west of Multnomah Falls. This one will take some intense imagination focus.
Horsetail Falls stands around 176 ft.
Can be seen from I84 pouring in next to the Historic Hwy just west of Multnomah Falls.
This one will take some intense imagination and focus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Editors note, this list is simply for entertainment and I am in no way saying these falls are safe to descend. It is simply an opinion of mine based on years of paddling experience on what I have seen at each falls. Take it for what you will.

 

The Columbia Experience

In March of 2009 Paul Gamache, Keel Brightman, & Ryan Scott set out to experience the Full length of the Columbia River in two separate trips. The first; Revelstoke to the Pacific Ocean, 882 miles. The second; Columbia Lake to Revelstoke, 361 miles. The river is blocked by 14 dams with only a couple short sections of free-flowing river left. In the early 1930’s plans were set in motion to harness the flow of the Columbia to power the Pacific Northwest & beyond. Check out the video for more information on the Columbia River and check out thecolumbiaexperience.com for a day-by-day journal on the 1,243 mile journey.