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, November 12, 2009

Upper Ryan: Fall's The Season

i. Upper Ryan

You might have the conception that the fall is often a dismal time to kayak, at least where natural river flows are concerned. It's not true, there's always something out there to paddle - some great stuff appears when the water starts to go away....

Right through to the end of August there was plenty to paddle - even well in to September until one weekend we drove up the Ashlu and behold! there was no water. Well, there was water - we put on the Bottom Mile and quickly walked back to the car - it was high as. Fear Canyon never dries up though, and the day was saved.

The following day was one we'd been looking forward to all year - the Ryan River in Pemberton we thought might be at an ok flow - the upper stretches were apparently a fall run that need low water, and being fall and low water it was time to go. Rallying a pretty big crew - Steve and Matt from Van/Whister, Sean from Oz, Kiwi Steve fresh of the Stikine and our friends Ben, Brian and Cody from the the States we made up a ready team of adventurers to go get lost on the only road up the Ryan valley.

A beautiful but chilly morning in Pemberton brought us to the touchy access point to the Ryan FSR - of the limited info we had on the run, the only sure thing was that the bridge at the take out that gives upstream access is washed out, meaning you have to hike. A hearty attempt at finding a "new" road to the top led up a very steep hill that was fun driving but in the end was just a few hours wasted.

Lost - and there's only one road... Photo Cody Howard.

We hiked up the old logging road that is horribly overgrown in spots with some great views of the very steep river that obviously wasn't suffering from lack of water. It's amazing how quickly the road is being re-claimed. The bridge was washed away in 2003, and already there are spots with thickets of 2-inch alders turning the road back in to forest. I had the pleasure of stepping in the biggest pile of bear shit ever while thrashing through this stuff.

The Upper Ryan ended up being a crazy steep run full of big boulder piles with some mank mixed in for good measure. Definitely something to go back to, especially in the late season when river options are a little less copious than in the summer time. The Ryan is a big river and trying to run this section in July would be silly, baring a unusually cold snap. If you want to run it, click this link to get all the beta you'll ever need.

Hiking on a great fall day.

Easy stuff before dropping in to the deep valley, and the hard whitewater.

Yes, it's steep. Photo by Cody Howard.

Sweet boofs abound.

Heavy glare in one of the last big boulder jumbles.

ii. Seymour

Back to the comment about incessant fall rain. I don't mind the fall rain - many people complain about this, but it's really not that bad, particularly when the Seymour River roars back to life. This run is practicaly in downtown Vancouver, and it's awesome. Last Sunday was the first time I took a camera along to the river - here are a couple of shots - at high water this run is a beast. A full report will appear here eventually. Enjoy.

Rain brings out all kinds of creatures.

The last rapid in the canyon is one dark spot.

Exiting the heart of the canyon.


mAdtim said...

as far as i understood it... the access is not actually private. the guy just signed that years ago to try and deal with the slednecks that use to speed down the road and kickup dust. I don't think there is much of a problem anymore now that the bridge is washed out. some of the old whistler crew used to go talk to the guy who was apparently ok with kayakers as long as you took it slow... worth a try

Mr Ross said...

Fantastic to read see a report on the Upper Ryan. Brought back some great memories of tackly the Upper in high flows in summer of '97. It was full on and and after 3km of on the edge paddling we hauled ourself out of the gorge to return in mid August for lower flows. Shame the bridge came down but recon the hike must be well worth it. Great pics, thanks