It’s been a couple years since I have been to Hagen and I almost got lost on the right road. Where there used to be a tree covered hill or I should say hills, it’s now clear cut and bare. And now the old hike in is getting overgrown and tough to find unless you know what to look for. Once we were on the creek Luke Spencer, John Boone and I were rewarded with a great flow.
Years have gone by since I first heard of this run. Many reports from years back were shrouded in complaints of numerous portages and a lot of work to just get to this short piece of the Cispus River. The Super Slides run on the far upper reaches of the Cispus River is an incredibly unique section of whitewater. The gradient starts at a fun level and gradually continues as you slide further and further down the mountain.. Once your in the canyon much of the run is nearly a football field wide and non-stop sliding gradient. This was my first trip in there and after wanting to go for years I finally got that extra push this year from Scott Matthews. On day four of our Tshletshy trip this year he had mentioned discovering the Super Slides years ago. He had mentioned that he has wanted to go back for quite sometime…
On a run that has been described as “very frustrating to even find”, who better to go with than the man who put in the work to break down all the logistics. And as you could imagine, his logistics were spot on. We met up the road from the suggested bridge take-out at a trail head that dropped down at the end of the canyon, cutting off the last 1.5 miles of portaging. Scott insisted this was the best way to exit the run. On our way to the put-in we hit snow about 2 miles from the put-in.
After about an hour of hiking we started dropping down into Goat Creek. The flow was on the low side and just around the corner from our put-in we were on top of a couple waterfalls with shallow landings. After some brief excitement and a tricky portage on the right we were on our way down Goat Creek…before we knew it we were portaging up and over into the confluence with the Cispus River. The slides started and seemed to go forever. The first big horizon was wide open and as clean as it gets. One after another we were sliding down the side of the mountain between canyon walls. We slid our way down to Bonsai Falls, the largest drop on the run. After a brief scout for wood we were back in our boats and smiling the whole way down the falls, so much fun! Below Bonsai we turned the corner to one of the most spectacular whitewater scenes you will witness, Walupt Creek Falls.
Around a couple more corners we got out at the first possible exit to the canyon and hiked up about 30 min to the cars. The beauty and scale of the canyon are in-explainable and awe-inspiring, you have to go see for yourself. We had only one wood portage on the main Cispus at the very end of the Super Slides, just before the hike out trail. If you pass the trail, you will end up in a section known as “the swamp” where you will grow more and more frustrated as you make your slow pace to the take-out bridge.