Tag Archives: river

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.

Middle Fork of the Feather, CA (Devil’s Canyon)

Middle Fork of the Feather, California (Devils Canyon section – 32.5 mile self support in 3 days)
Last minute plans always seem to work themselves out…Memorial Day weekend was a good time to celebrate and California was the place to be. We ended up on the M.F. of the Feather River and even with rain in the forecast for most of the trip it turned out to be 3 perfect days of kayaking on an amazing self support trip. Rob Bart & Zack were the two veterans of this run and informed us that almost everything was read & run and high quality!


Part of the crew getting ready at the put in
John Boone on one of the many rapids like this on day 1

We had a couple scouts on day one in the first canyon, but mostly just great read and run whitewater all the way to camp. The run is broken down into three seprate canyons with Devils Canyon proper on day 3. We paddled an estimated 11 miles on day one and anticipated a step up in whitewater the following day dropping into Franklin Canyon.

Dan & Dave from Tahoe getting into the goods
Richard running one of 3 lines on this rapid
Boone, Jay, Dave, Dan, Zack,& Ethan at camp


Day two started out with the crew trying to dry out paddling and sleeping gear in the rain by the fire. Once we had boats loaded our first big rapid was right around the corner from camp. We scouted Franklin Falls, fired it up, and made our way deeper into the canyon.

Jay Gifford at the entrance to Franklin Canyon
Dropping in on Franklin Falls – wake up rapid, day 2
Matt Gaudette & Rob Bart scouting in the middle of the canyon

The rapids seemed to get bigger as we moved further downstream and every scout revealed a clean line through these classic pool drop rapids.

Rob Bart dropping in on the day 2 double drop
Jay Gifford cleaning up day 2 double drop
Duck the rock ledge and try to boof….
Jay on one of the many read & run rapids on day 2
Dan & Dave cleaning lines and lovin life

Having this many paddlers on a self support trip is entertaining to say the least. I’ve paddled with all but 3 of the paddlers in our group before this trip. The 3 paddlers that I had just met were obviously very skilled and even on day 1 everyone in the group felt good about our overall crew. The second night at camp I listened to Rob and Zack talk about some of the rapids that we would come across on our final day in the canyon. Words like: Pyramid Rapid, mandatory portage, a mandatory run through Helecopter Rapid, Double drop with a BIG hole at the bottom, a good step up in whitewater… these were enough to stir some mixed feelings when your faced with the inevitable. The fact that no matter what we are waking up in the morning, putting on the river, and dealing with all of these features that wait downstream, personally I was in heaven. Camped on a sandy beach on the side of the Pacific Crest Trail at the top of Devil’s Canyon proper on the Middle Fork of the Feather, fueled by the two previous days of challenging but fun whitewater in a fully loaded boat, and everything I needed would fit neatly into my craft for one final day on my first Cali overnighter…..It really doesn’t get much better than that!


That morning I woke up to the Cali weather I had been dreaming of since we put on the river. We took advantage of the hot rocks to dry our gear and had a mellow morning getting ready. On the previous day the river seemed to be picking up more flow and getting on the ‘filled in’ side. Our first scout in the canyon was a recommended portage, but there was a good line. Zack showed us how it was done and a few of us followed. We continued downstream and found many more rapids as Devil’s Canyon built into a big cascade below Pyramid rapid.

Boof in Slide day 3
The scenery was starting to change
Matt Gaudette running the double drop on day 3
Pyramid Rapid
Rod Bart (top) & Shawn Lonin (below) at Pyramid Rapid

After Pyramid the river dropped over a ledge with a dangerous house sized rock in mid flow with water going under it. Most of us jumped on the portage trail on river right and walked the entire cascade of whitewater we saw downstream. Keel decided to hang back and roll through it with the R2 crew. We hiked down below, had lunch, and waited on the boys to paddle through. Everything worked out for them in the final drop, however, Keel underestimated the gradient loss at the bottom and finished up the line with positive beta from Jay who was a good distance downstream.

Looking down into the portage
Ethan Smith dropping in after the portage
The only mandatory rapid on day 3 – Helecotpter

Helecopter was our last scout and everyone bombed through this one after another. We paddled more great read & run, including Grande Finale rapid, down to the take out bridge and caught our shuttle out of the canyon. This take out is also the put in for Bald Rock Canyon, the hardest section on the MF, and it was hard to leave this river knowing that it would be possible to drop in right now. The shuttle logistics on the other hand would have to be dealt with so we reluctantly gave in and saved this one for another day. Part of the crew headed south and the rest of us went north, both in search of the same thing!

Eagle Creek, OR

EagleCR copy

Class: V – V+
Miles: 4
Portages: 0 – 1 (Depending on how big of a waterfall you want to run that day).
Shuttle: Human powered- Hike up 4 miles and paddle back to your car. A Northwest Forest Pass is required at the take-out.
Put-In: Hike up 4 miles to Skoonichuck Falls or keep going another 2 miles, up to the confluence with the east and west fork. There is another 40 foot drop up there that can be a put in as well, with some quality read and run boulder gardens as you work down to Skoonichuck Falls.
Take-Out: Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery – Exit 41 on I-84 east bound only.

Kayaking Metlako Falls on Eagle Creek, OR

May 30, 2009 Rafting on Eagle Creek

On May 30, 2009 a small crew of Rafters and Kayakers hiked up Eagle Creek in the Columbia Gorge and put on above Skoonichuck Falls. The perfect day and lots of fun! Check out the video.

Music by Braille www.braillehiphop.com

-March, 2009

Tyler Bradt & Ian Garcia standing above Metlako Fallsscout-copy

Ian Garciarolling inMetlako Fallsmetlakoiangblackwhite-copy

– March, 2008

Austin Rathmann scouting Skoonichuck Falls, Eagle Creek, OR

Last weekend was quite an adventure here in the gorge. Saturday started out with a large crew including a small group from Seattle and no one backing down from the surprising 3.9 feet on the Little White when we arrived at the put in. The day ended with the LVM 25 premiere in Hood River, thanks to Stacey Johnson for organizing the event, and the next day a large group including Nick Hinds, Scott Waidelich, Ben Hawthorne, Paul Gamache, Jesse Becker, Jason Schroeder, Christie Glissmeyer, Austin Rathmann, and I hiked up Eagle Creek for a high water adventure. There was plenty of action, broken paddles, and humbled paddlers. At the end of the day everyone involved was more than happy to be at the take out…here are a couple still images taken by Paul Gamache and Jesse Becker…

Austin dropping in

Austin, free fall

Christie Glissmeyer steppin up to Skoonichuck

Christie from the bottom

Austin and Scott Waidelich taking a break below the warm up drop

Skoonichuck proved once again to be one of the toughest put in rapids here in the gorge and received a 50/50 rating by those who dropped in at this flow.

– March, 2007

Once again I found myself on Eagle Creek, OR for Jason Schroeder’s Birthday run. Jason, Keel, Jarred and I hiked 4 miles up in the rain to Skoonichuk Falls. We had a med/low water level which was perfect since we did’nt do a pre scout to check the level.

Keel Brightman scouting the put in drop, Skoonichuk Falls, Eagle Creek, OR

Keel dropping in.

Jarred Jackman contemplating the put in drop.

Jarred fires off Skoonichuk Falls.

Keel doing his annual run then jump off Skoonichuk.

Jason, Jarred, and Keel deep in the gorge on Eagle Creek.

Keel on the ledge drop just upstream of Punchbowl Falls.

A brief look at Metlako Falls on the hike out.

We finished off the day at the LVM #22 premiere in Hood River.

Other whitewater nearby Eagle Creek, OR

Multnomah Creek

Herman Creek