Californication

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sarajames
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Re: Californication

Post by sarajames » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:16 am

I agree with you to a certain extent but I think that some people have a skewed vision of paddling in California.
This is an awful drought year, if you had a tick list of High Sierra runs, don't come this year. However it you have a broader enjoyment of kayaking and don't just want to come here to ' Go Large' then there is still kayaking to be had ( throughout most the year) if you are willing to drive.


For example, last year was also a ' really bad water year' ( not half as bad as this year but enough that paddlers were complaining and worried). However I got to paddle regulary on multiple drainages across the state including the American, Yuba, Kaweah, Mokolomne,Tuolomne, Kern, Merced, Trinity, Feather and others that I no doubt have forgotten the name of. I paddled lots of different sections of these rivers ranging from class 2 - class 5 including some class over nighters. This had entertained me enough to enourage me to kayak on a regular basis.

Not that bad I reckon.

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Re: Californication

Post by freddie » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:24 am

Last year seemed good to me, we got on Upper Cherry/North Kings/Tuolomne/Trinity inonly a 2 week window in Cali, and didn't even get to do some of the other stuff that was going (San Joaquin etc.). So there's always going to be something good to do, just perhaps not what you set out for.
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Re: Californication

Post by sarajames » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:51 am

Talking of which there are a bunch of pretty awesome creek races that are held in Cali every year. Whilst not as well publized a some creek events around the world these are great rivers to race on with a great field of competitors. If I was planning a trip out here I may try coincide with one of these as its a great way to meet more paddlers , get introduced to local rivers and generally have a fun time ( even if you don't actually race in the competition. )


Cali Burn - Boater Cross down Burnt Ranch Gorge, Trinity River -
Gnar Fest - South Branch of the Feather Class 5+ race - ( If you want to skip to the action go to 1.49 where you start to see them paddle)
Feather Festival - Creek race down Tobin section of the Feather River -
Cherry Creek Paddle as fast as you can down the river race -
Brush Creek ( unlikely to run this year due to water levles).

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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:03 am

You missed the Cal Salmon race Sara, thats normally in May.

So the thing to understand is that last years paddling season wasn't so bad, it was on the low side (50% average snowpack) and that is generally actually good to get on the High Sierra runs as they plateau at a paddlable flow rather than way too high...HOWEVER the water you paddled on last year all fell from the sky in 2012, snow after New Year contributed maybe 5-10% of last years snowpack. Right now we have maybe on average 10% of the snowpack we had on the same date last year, and in a typical year 75% of the winters snow has already fallen by this date. Compounding this, the ground is exceptionally dry due to the absence of pretty much any 2013 precipitation, which further impacts the the run off, as melt water first saturates the ground before running off into the rivers. And lastly the reservoirs that were still very full going into last year with the bumper 2011 season and OK 2012 season are now at record lows, which means our dam release runs are impacted badly this year too.

We could still have an amazing series of storms that rescue the situation, but as the weeks go by that looks less likely, so I'd hate to think of people buying plane tickets without the heads up.

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Re: Californication

Post by sarajames » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:29 pm

ion wrote:You missed the Cal Salmon race Sara, thats normally in May.
Cal Salmon race does sound great. Definitely hoping to make it up this season.

I do totally get your point about the multiple factors that are contributing to our poor water levels this season. I am not going to pretend that I am not disappointed however I am trying to stay positive! Including a quick road trip to Oregon / Washington, I have managed to be on the water 25 days this year. Hope I can keep up with that.

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Re: Californication

Post by krazi_kat » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:49 pm

Hi Sara,

I'm thinking of heading out to CA summer next year. What months are usually best for creeking in CA - May -August? Can you recommend any books/websites for whitewater kayaking in CA?

Thanks,

Casha

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Re: Californication

Post by DaveBland » Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:58 am

You may wish to divert your attention away from drought ridden Cali to either BC or the Green.
Slim pickings expected in Cali this year...
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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:45 am

DaveBland wrote:You may wish to divert your attention away from drought ridden Cali to either BC or the Green.
Slim pickings expected in Cali this year...
Dave, It's telling that you don't however recommend Alberta.... :-)

Stuff is finally going here, but it sounds like she's looking for 2015 advice anyhow.

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Re: Californication

Post by DaveBland » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:18 pm

ion wrote:Dave, It's telling that you don't however recommend Alberta.... :-)
Blimey, don't want any 'outsiders' on our local jewels do we?
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Re: Californication

Post by DaveBland » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:08 am

Stuff's finally going eh? So, what's on the cards for early-mid May Ian? Got me some days to spare and an itch to scratch that involves something that won't send my aging limbs into cold shock...
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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:41 am

DaveBland wrote:Stuff's finally going eh? So, what's on the cards for early-mid May Ian? Got me some days to spare and an itch to scratch that involves something that won't send my aging limbs into cold shock...
As of today (Thanks to a great couple of unsettled weeks), the snow pack in the central and Southern Sierra is on a parity with last year...so last years archived gauges would be a good reference. I would say:

Kaweahs (Da bomb!) will likely be happening http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.102.php.

Maybe Dinkey, though was more an April thing last year http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.453.php (Also may be bigger than you are interested in going)

A little too early for main Kings (Spicy) http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.100.php

Middle Stanislaus (Donnells run) http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.082.php
North Stanislaus (Hells Kitchen) http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.133.php

Not clear there will be any legal access to Upper Cherry this year due to fire damage.

Or way North:
Cal Salmon http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.006.php
Trinity http://www.dreamflows.com/graphs/yir.060.php

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Re: Californication

Post by DaveBland » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:47 am

ion wrote:Kaweahs (Da bomb!)
More like "Ion (Da bomb!)"

Cheers bud. Will let you know if we head down.
dave

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Re: Californication

Post by sarajames » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:14 am

krazi_kat wrote:Hi Sara,

I'm thinking of heading out to CA summer next year. What months are usually best for creeking in CA - May -August? Can you recommend any books/websites for whitewater kayaking in CA?

Thanks,

Casha
Casha ..

I would recommend getting out as early as you can in the summer. Early May should be good. Depends a bit on what sort of creeking you are looking for. The class 5 high Sierra runs can be hard to predict but you will def find some fun stuff to paddle.

http://www.awetstate.com/ is what I use for river beta etc

Lars Holbek and Chuck Stanley pioneered a lot of great runs in the area back in the day and wrote an interesting guide book called
' Guide to the Best Whitewater in the State of California '. I personally like to read this after I have completed a run rather than before as its not exactly up to date and can be very vague.

http://www.dreamflows.com/ is a great sight for river flow data and like Ian said it can help you predict what time of year things may be running.

http://darinmcquoid.com/ has some good river write ups and some amazing photography to help inspire / distract you.

Hope you make it out here Casha and if you have any other questions feel free to drop me a line.

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Re: Californication

Post by sarajames » Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:02 pm

sarajames wrote:I agree with you to a certain extent but I think that some people have a skewed vision of paddling in California.
I love being right :)

As the Californian Spring Run off draws to a close I can't help but notice that a lot of amazingkayaking was to had in this ' terrible drought year' that people kept warning me about. I unfortunately cracked my ribs the other month and so have been paddling epic grade 1-2 runs for the last few weeks ( i.e Merced through Yosemite National Park, starring at El Capitan) . However a lot of Classic Class V high sierra runs have also been runnable if you have the balls.

Image

Tracy Tate lines up for another big one on Fantasy Falls
Photo: Marco Guidi

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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:05 pm

That's the Upper Middle Kaweah, not Fantasy Falls...which is normally in this flow range middle to end of July rather than May. It's going to be a hot dry summer with a lot of Cherry Creek laps.


sarajames wrote:
sarajames wrote:I agree with you to a certain extent but I think that some people have a skewed vision of paddling in California.
I love being right :)

As the Californian Spring Run off draws to a close I can't help but notice that a lot of amazingkayaking was to had in this ' terrible drought year' that people kept warning me about. I unfortunately cracked my ribs the other month and so have been paddling epic grade 1-2 runs for the last few weeks ( i.e Merced through Yosemite National Park, starring at El Capitan) . However a lot of Classic Class V high sierra runs have also been runnable if you have the balls.

Image

Tracy Tate lines up for another big one on Fantasy Falls
Photo: Marco Guidi

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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:19 am

And it just gets worse....
"California restricts water as snowpack survey finds 'no snow whatsoever'" (Not an April fool...)
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015 ... ns-drought

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Re: Californication

Post by DaveBland » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:14 am

I am sorry for your loss. Snowpack RIP.
dave

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Re: Californication

Post by Franky » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:29 am

ion wrote:And it just gets worse....
"California restricts water as snowpack survey finds 'no snow whatsoever'" (Not an April fool...)
<span class="skimlinks-unlinked">http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015 ... ught</span>
The video caption "No snow to replenish reservoirs for the first time in 50 years" is a bit misleading. It implies that the reservoirs will have acquired no snow melt at all this year, when in fact what's happened is that they have received all their snow melt earlier than usual. In December they had a fair bit of snow:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014 ... -last-year

I'm not saying that there isn't a problem, but if you only glanced at the article you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Sierra Nevada has had no snow this winter.

(Also, isn't there at least a possibility of more snow? The only time I've been to the Sierra Nevada it was snowing, and that was the very end of May (3 years ago admittedly).)

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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:13 pm

The headline refers to the location of the press conference, which is one of the many snow survey sites used each year on a monthly basis to chart and record the snow pack. This year was the first year since records began that there was no snow at this location (and others). April 1 is the date traditionally used to declare the "final" state of the snow pack and its bad, very bad, perhaps on average 5% of what it should be at this date. Thats again, the worst on record. and is the 4th year of drought in a row.

Kayaking, not to mention daily life is going to be very rough this year

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Re: Californication

Post by ion » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:12 pm


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Re: Californication

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:47 pm

It's pretty worrying - not just for paddlers (we can usually find some chossy ditch to run in low water, or jump onto compensation flows to keep some levels of skills up) but for everyone living out there that needs water to drink and to irrigate the crops. How much of state GDP comes out of the arable valleys like Napa and San Jaochim?

Hope you get your snow sorted out for next spring, I'm thinking of trying to get a paddling trip over there again....

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Re: Californication

Post by DaveWortley » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:17 pm

I was in California 2 weeks ago for work, and we were ironically shooting kayakers in the background for a car campaign, we struggled to find anywhere with interesting water. There's barely any snow, 8% snowpack for this time of year and they were showing me the water level for normal at this time of year, it's crazy! I managed to sneak a cheeky run in on the Kern River, but it was a bumpy grade 3 rather than a pumping challenging grade 4. I looked at Bush Creek and Dry Meadow sadly with no water at all coming down them :(

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Re: Californication

Post by sarajames » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:27 am

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... 213&type=1

I totally agree about the California is experiencing a terrible drought situation, but there is definitely sill interesting white water in the state. There is no where near the variety that there usually is ( but still more than UK.)

Groups have just come out of Upper Cherry Creek, it is unseasonable early but will hopefully run for a few days at least). If you wanted a dramatic back drop for some kayak photography that isn't half bad ;)

Ironically new rapids are being discovered as lake levels drop and expose previously flooded rapids.

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Re: Californication

Post by Jim » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:55 pm

sarajames wrote:Groups have just come out of Upper Cherry Creek, it is unseasonable early but will hopefully run for a few days at least). If you wanted a dramatic back drop for some kayak photography that isn't half bad ;)
He said they were shooting a car commercial, that might be less feasible, although I suppose you could shoot the car on a green screen and than edit it into where there are no roads.... :)

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