The Guidebook

To visit the LiquidLore Guidebook, click right here. It's the starting point for all kinds of whitewater beta and the main reason this site exists - be sure to check it out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ashlu Bottom Mile. Easter Update.

While the weather in the lower mainland of BC is slowly starting to switch from the rain and cloud of winter to the rain and cloud of spring, the rivers are also slowly starting to awaken and trickle back to life. During the past few weeks as we wait patiently for the booming high water of summer we've been able to snag the Bottom Mile of the Ashlu for a few laps at both low and high levels. Despite praying for the Box to come in, flows haven't quite risen enough yet!

The weather, in spite of my comments above, is actually quite pleasant with many sunny days - the leaves are even starting to grow down in the city.. All this culminated in the crew having some amazing sunny days while we descended the final canyon of the amazing Ashlu Creek.

I've been looking to run this stretch for a long time - having visited the area several times in the "normal" kayaking season I've had a chance to run other stretches of the Ashlu and have always wondered what lay down in that first piece of river we drove past on the way to the upper reaches. Actually a little too keen this winter, our first attempt at the Bottom Mile in February was a failure - the water was too low, and it was mega cold with tons of snow at river level. Returning a month later however the Ashlu delivered. The Bottom Mile is a fine stretch of whitewater - it's steep with lots of boulder, cool boofs and sweet lines. Check it out if you're ever here in the kayaking off season.

Finishing up on the Ashlu half way through the Easter long weekend, Toni and I changed focus and headed south to Seattle to check out the city. It's a nice city. In addition to exploring down town, eating good food and drinking good beer, our secondary (or primary?) mission was to go paddle some of the classic whitewater sections close to the city.

We started on the Middle Middle - the Middle of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie. As is the case sometimes, AW mis-rated this section and it ended up being a float with almost no notable whitewater. It would be an excellent section to learn on though. Not deterred and with rain pouring down around us we decided to head further into the mountain to run the Fall In The Wall section of the South Fork Snoqualmie. The only beta we had was that the level was good (on the gauge) - a local kayaker, in passing, mentioned we may have to post hole through some snow to get to the river.

As we went deeper into the hills and up towards Snoqualmie Pass where the FITW is found our hopes went from high to sceptical to very low. Our friend wasn't kidding about post holing - where we were supposed to find the river we were met with no less than 15 feet of snow. Sheepishly turning around and taking a few photos of our blunder, we headed back to the city maybe not wiser but certainly armed with the knowledge that spring isn't a uniform phenomenon when you're living in the mountains...

The last day of the weekend we fired up the Sunset run of the Skykomish at a nice flow of 8000 cfs followed by a quick blast down the lower Sultan. Cool section, but way too short. Here are a few photos of the kayaking portion of the Washington trip.

No, boating is not an option at Snoqualmie Pass in April. We felt dumb...

Kayakers beware - only those with appropriate headgear may pass.

And last but not least, the beta for the Bottom Mile of the Ashlu, and some photos for you to check out.

Kyle Dunn marching towards the river.

The scene after the first major drop of the Bottom Mile.

Exiting the Tantalus drop.

Begin the boulders. Photo Kyle Dunn.

Photo Kyle Dunn.

Photo Kyle Dunn.

Action! It all worked out. The level was a little low, so getting screwed by rocks was inevitable.

The stacked action of the last few ledges.

The whole Bottom Mile.

Checking things out at a good, stout flows.

The sweet ledge boof at the end - this is the same ledge as in the photo three shot up above. The hole was sticky...

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