The Guidebook

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Dipper Creek

LiquidLore definitely doesn't operate in real time. Only 5 months after the fact have I finally gotten around to getting up a short story and some beta for this monster creek that was discovered just a few years ago. It's just in time though for you to try and get in a run before the taps turn on and it gets too high for the upcoming summer season (that can't come quick enough!). There isn't a lot of low elevation snow this year, and it might just be possible to squeak up there this spring. Some folks reached as high as Fear Canyon on the Elaho road back in early March and it's only been getting warmer.

There's not a lot to say - our journey was already plastered on the interweb back in October. Dipper was on my mind after seeing photos of the first trip, and it came together the first weekend of October. Without a lot of beta we started on a small tributary of Dipper called Carnival Creek that ended up having a lot of shyte but also some great bedrock stuff.

Once to Dipper the volume grows but the creek is horribly manky. It doesn't last long though, and you quickly get to the huge entrance waterfalls to the Dipper canyon proper. By the time we scouted, set safety, took lots of photo and video and rallied everyone through the first two waterfalls it was getting late in the day so we bushwhacked out to the road. It actually wasn't too steep once out of the river canyon, but the woods was wicked thick. The alder patch at the edge of the logging road was one of the thickest, most tangled patch of trees I've ever seen - the only way through was to push your boat and then crawl through the hole. Hard, sweaty work indeed.

The next day we didn't walk back in to where we took out - it was decided that to make the most of the weekend we would tackle the lower section of the run including Vertigo Gorge, skipping the middle canyon and a stretch of it that had yet to be run. It was a good decision - everything went smoothly in Vertigo despite the fact there are a couple of places that are pretty heavy duty. It's hard to articulate just how awesome it is in the canyon. At the end we walked back up the animal trail along the rim of the gorge where we parked our cars - that might not have been a good decision...

Over the course of the next few days some of the guys went back in from the top to continue down through the upper and middle canyons. After some solid problem solving it was sorted that you can run the whole creek without having to hike all the way out of the canyon (to portage the unrunnable), and on the Thanksgiving weekend Fred and Ben returned to run Dipper Creek in its entirety from top to bottom. Unfortunately, I don't think that a crew who shows up at Dipper without having scouted extensively or without a guide would be able do this on their first try, at least safely. Work that week and other commitments the next weekend kept me away from the rest of the adventures - it just means I have to go back...

If you want to go run Dipper, here's the beta you'll need. Be careful in there!

One more note before the photos - if you would like to get some information about whitewater releases on some of the dammed river reaches in southwest BC click back to the previous post about Fire, Tipella, Douglas, the Stave and the Ashlu. Enjoy.

Gearing up on a very crisp morning back in the mountains. I'm not sure what Cody is doing in the background...

The approach to the creek just below the Carnival Creek bridge. The woods is thick here and the terrain is very steep all along the canyon.

On the water, Carnival Creek is tiny and is almost too small to kayak on. It pinches down into some very tight canyons though and is difficult to scout from river level.

The reason why starting above the confluence with Dipper Creek was a good idea.

After some horrible mank on Dipper below the confluence with Carnival things quickly and abruptly get big time. This is the first waterfall of the Dipper canyon.

Over the shoulder between the two drops of the double falls - Cody as Fred and Steve look on.

And the second waterfall/slide - Big Dipper. Things start stout once you get to the Dipper canyon.

I don't have any pictures of the middle part of the run because I didn't paddle it - work and other commitments called. This is below the entrance falls to Vertigo Gorge, heading into the heart.

Vertigo Gorge, from the rim.

Running the hallway drops out of the teacup.

After the first wave ran through Vertigo, AJ and I went up and dropped in - scouting the narrow drop at the exit of the Vertigo teacup.

Freedom! The exit drop to Vertigo gorge. The scale of this place is huge.

Below Vertigo Gorge there are a few more waterfalls, including the Squamish confluence falls.

A parting shot, not really showing any of the whitewater but just a great photo. This is me running the first drop of Double Dip at the start of the Dipper canyon. Photo Ali Marshall.


abc uuu said...

beautiful creek!!!!

Meistarinn said...

This place looks amazing ;o)

Anonymous said...

So Steve, how does it compare to Granite? Sure is a stunning spot. Treat me to a tour in there after i get back from knee surgery.


Chris Menges said...

Amazing creek and shots. Thanks for posting. Looks like an intense place.

Steve Arns said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Shayne - lets get at it this fall - I'm looking forward to going back! I doubt it will be low enough any more until then. It's different than Granite and in my opinion is much better, though way less user friendly..

Andy McMurray said...

good stuff, thanks for the beta.