Sunday, August 26, 2007

Middle Kings River... Trip of a Lifetime

After two Upper Cherry runs and a couple chill days, it was time for Pat, Coop, Dylan and I to bite off the crown jewel of the Sierras... the Middle Kings River.

We met up with the Asheville crew that was just taking off the river and got some very encouraging advice, as well as a couple scary peeks into what we were going to be dealing with:

Tommy- "It's the river trip of a lifetime."
John- "Here's a picture of Jules hiking in the snow on Bishop's Pass... ok here's a picture of Jules puking on Bishop's Pass."
Tommy- "There's the rapid where I swam."
Katie- "There's the rapid where I swam and lost my boat."
Jason- "Get ready to punch a thousand holes. It's awwwwwwnnn in there!"
Jules- "There's the rapid where homie compound fractured his arm and swam."

I knew that the Middle Kings represented a milestone that I've been training for since I started creekboating. The specs of this adventure are pretty incredible:

Shuttle- 400 miles down around the southern slope of the Sierras
Hike- 13 miles to putin, over a 12,000 ft. pass, 2 miles up at the takeout
River- 31 miles
Putin Elevation- 8600 ft.
Takeout Elevation- 2200 ft!!

I didn't take any pictures of this trip, so I'm going to refer to Pat Keller's Blog, and Cooper Lambla's Blog to tell the photographic story of the Middle Kings. It was six of the most incredible days of (I think) all of our lives, and I can't wait to go back.

Click below to watch the Middle Kings video.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ohiopyle Falls Festival Rescheduled to September 15, 2007! Downriver Race, Freestyle, & More

The Ohiopyle Falls Festival is happening. The festival will include a downriver sprint, freestyle off the falls, upstream race through Entrance Rapid, a wicked town party, and much much more. So, if you are cool and want to continue to be cool, come out to the Ohiopyle Falls Festival Saturday, September 15, 2007.

Additionally, there has been some concern about the level for the race. Recently the area has been getting a considerable amount of rain which has brought the level of the Lower Yough up considerably. The official word is this:
It does not look good... The Corps of Engineers can adjust the flow from the Yough dam to meet our 1.8 limit but they cannot adjust the flow of various tributaries and only do so much. If we cannot run the falls on Saturday we will try to run the falls on Sunday assuming the water level will permit this. If we can run the falls on Sunday we will still have the town party Saturday night which will now be the beginning of the Festival as apposed to the end.
If the water levels are too high for both days, then the event will be rescheduled for September 15, 2007. (UPDATE: Event Rescheduled to the 15th). Information about the event will be updated Thursday, August 23rd at
Photos coutesey of Bob Anderson,
See you there!

-Adam Johnson

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cheesman Canyon and Yule Creek

Hello Folks! Hope all is going well in the whitewater world. We had a pretty good summer out west, and now I'm back in the southeast paddling the green off and on. While we were out there, we met a lot of cool coloradonians, who made our trip go a lot smoother! Whether it be showing us down the mankety-mank or letting us crash on their couches, these guys really helped us out. Eli Loper in Vail, Nate Brown in Boulder, Evan Stafford and Kyle McKutchen. (Check out their bad-ass colorado guide book here: Also thanks to Nic Vanderhoof in Glenwood, the Wavesport guys, and whoever else I'm forgetting.

We were lucky enough to get on Cheesman canyon, which is very rarely run as the access issues are pretty tight. As we put on, the stories of rock-throwing fishermen and photo shooting old men lingered in our minds. One incompetent police officer, and one photo-shooting old man later, we began paddling down one of the most beautiful rivers I've ever run.

The famous Dave Finney demonstrating a perfect rudder.

The entrance to "double undercut" or something like that.


Sitting in the blazing hot sun at the take-out

Yule Creek was probably the highlight of the trip for me... It was absolutely gorgeous, with huge waterfalls, crazy steep scree slopes, and crystal clear water.

Go HERE for more photos from Yule.
Stay tuned, we have lots of good video and more photos from the trip. Be safe out there,


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Upper Cherry Double

I've heard a lot about Upper Cherry Creek near Yosemite National Park, but none of the hype could possibly have prepared me for just how incredible this granite playground is.

The 11 mile hike in through a lunarscape...

*All photos by John Warner*

Dylan and I drove straight through the night from Crested Butte, Colorado with beta from my buddies Max Kniewasser and Chris Harjes that Upper Cherry was super high, but would come in to a perfect level with a big cold front rolling into the area. Unfortunately, Max and Chris did not know just how cold it was going to get, and about halfway through the brutal hike it started snowing on us. We then recieved the news from some hikers that the high for the next day was 40 degrees, and lows for the next two nights would be in the teens! Needless to say, after 4 non-stop days of paddling in Colorado, a 27 hour drive straight through a night and a half to get to Upper Creek, and only 4 hours of sleeping in the dust before starting the hike, we were freaking demoralized! I had a 40 degree sleeping bag, a couple of good IR thick skin layers(thank God), and another crucial, lifesaving piece of gear, my tent fly. That night was brutal, nothing short of a blizzard hit us at the put-in, and we all hunkered down and shivered it out next to a dying fire. Harjes got the worst of it with no shelter, and the group was feeling rough in the morning.

It got sunny just long enough to coax us into not hiking out, and putting on to paddle down to Cherry Bomb...

Rapid #1, right below camp.

Filming Sam...

As soon as we put on and ran the first couple of the rapids, the snow started falling again, and the temperature plummeted. There was a lot of blowing into hands that day, and praying that we wouldn't swim as we worked our way through the Class IV Gorge, and the Gorilla Gorge.

Upon reaching the top of Cherry Bomb Gorge, the last place to exit before you drop into the 8 or so entrance drops, Cherry Bomb Falls and the next 5 walled in holes, I was feeling super pumped to drop in without the standard walk around and scout the gorge from the top, and Nick Wimsett, an incredible Kiwi paddler who had run Cherry Bomb the previous year, was also in. After a couple of minutes of deliberation, Sam and Dylan decided they were feeling fired up as well, and the four of us left Harjes, John, and Peacher and started paddling into that chasm.

Leaving the point of no return...

Amazing what glaciers can do.

Climbing up to the rock at the lip of Cherry Bomb was pretty incredible, just because that rapid is so legendary and I've always been so impressed with the way it looks in video and photos... and there I was, finally!

Our lines went well through Cherry Bomb and the next series of walled-in holes, and needless to say I was repeating the 7 Rivers Expedition famous line... "left, left, middle, right, right, middle, left". My dorky kayaking video obsession finally paid off!

Dylan givin' er.

Paddling the beautiful teacups coming out of Cherry Bomb Gorge.

A bunch of wet, cold, underdressed kayakers crowd around the fire at Flintstone camp while the blizzard fires back up.

Filming from the media ledge after it finally warmed up on Day 3.

Brendan Bayly styling Double Pothole.

Needless to say, in spite of the two nights of blizzards, a ruptured eardrum, and a couple of big swims, Upper Cherry is one of the most incredible places a kayaker can find him or herself in. We got two runs with a total of 7 days out there on the granite, and I can't wait to go back. I'll let the video do the rest of the talking...

**Thanks to John Warner for use of his images**

Chris Gragtmans

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Lockapalooza 2007

On August 18, Lock 32 Whitewater Park in Pittsford, NY will be holding its 3rd annual Lockapalooza Whitewater event. Lockapalooza consists of a slalom race, a boatercross, and a rodeo. Last year there were over 300 spectators and 50 participants in the men, women, and junior divisions. The rodeo will take place at one of our holes called Faceoff. It is possibly one of the best man made playspots in the North East.
This year we hope to have even more participants and more spectators to make this year the biggest Lockapalooza yet. It will be a great time with competition, food, drinks, movies, and I can't forget that the Riot Karaoke Tour: Don't Quit Your Day Job, will be making an appearance. If you want some free kayaking gear, just pick a song.

Lockapalooza Schedule:

9am - 3 pm Registration ($15.00 for participants, spectators – no admission charge)

10 am-1 pm Free Clinics by Lock 32 and Zoar Outdoor Instructors

1:00 pm Youth Slalom Race (under 14)

Junior Slalom Race (14-18)

Adult Slalom Race (18+)

3:00 pm Youth Boater Cross (under 14)

Junior Boater Cross (14-18)

Adult Boater Cross (18+)

5:00 pm Youth Freestyle Competition (under 14)

Junior Freestyle Competition (14-18)

Adult Freestyle Competition (18 +)

Here is a short video of last year's Lockapalooza. Edited by Corey Robinson

See you at Lockapalooza,
Danny Doran