Thursday, December 27, 2007

North Fork of the Blackwater (V+) (WV) Headcam + Freestyle Footy

Adam gyrating in Hungry Mother, Upper Gauley, WV.
Watch the full video embedded below or click HERE.
Anyone who paddles in WV knows that the Blackwater River in the northern central part of the state is of the same caliber of North Carolina's Green River Narrows (but, of course, better in every way ;-). The Blackwater is a naturally fed stream that has three different sections: the "North Fork" (V+), the "Upper" (IV-V+), and the "Lower" (IV-V).
Jake Greenbaum admires Douglas Falls, North Fork of the Blackwater, WV.

Out of these three sections, the Upper Blackwater, averaging 233 fpm, runs the most frequently and is paddleable at a wide range of levels (some people run it real high, it just depends on how crazy you are). The Lower is less frequented because you have to either run the Upper into the Lower, or hike in and down a steep 400 vertical foot mountain (see map below). The Upper and lower offer extremely challenging boulder drop rapids with a few slides and larger drops. Both the Lower and the Upper will challenge any paddler when they descend the canyon, no matter their skill level.

Blackwater Area Map. Note the sections. When the Upper and North Fork meet, the remaining stretch is called the "Lower" Blackwater.

The North Fork, on the other hand, is a completely different stream. Instead of boulder drops and hard, tight, technical moves, the North Fork, which has a max gradient of almost 400 fpm, offers steep vertical drops consistently. The big drop, called Glutial Mash, is a picturesque 30' drop that you have to either boof or enter at a maximum of a 45 degree angle to avoid pitoning potential.

Some of the best things about the North Fork is that you can run it multiple times in a day (provided that you have the corn to power up the 400' vert hill and 1.5 miles of rail trail each time), it runs fairly frequently, and, essentially, is a park and huck (due to all the hiking).

Needless to say, the Blackwater is a powerful river that should not be taken lightly. Experienced teams only. In the words of LVM, "If you don't have the skillz to pay the billz..." please admire from a distance...

OR from this video!

If you are having trouble viewing this video, click HERE.

The video is from the North Fork of the Blackwater with some headcamera footage (WV, V+) and some freestyle on the Upper Gauley. Enjoy!

Also, if you would like to see the entire North Fork of the Blackwater headcam footage, click HERE.

Happy holidays and see you on the water,

-Adam Johnson

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