Californication

Inland paddling
User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

Day 12 - last day of paddling and it was a corker! The lower Tuolumne is 18 miles of pooldrop G4 in an amazingly attractive wild valley. From May you need a permit to run the river. The flow was bigger than anything else we paddled (c2000cfs?) and I was surprised how big and long some of the rapids were - a first rate trip at the grade, with loaded boats of course to give it a bit of edge. A fantastic finish.

In the evening we finally found our Mexican (for reasons I can't recall we'd been looking for one all week) in nearby Groveland and celebrated still having approximately the same number in the group that we'd started out with. We then drove to Yosemite National Park and arrived late.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

Final report, well done anyone who has endured this far!

Days 13 and 14 - tourism. We checked out some creeks in Yosemite National Park but having established that Vernal Falls (300 feet) and Nevada Falls (600 feet) were a goer, couldn't be bothered to go back and carry the boats up. Yosemite isn't ugly.

San Francisco is nice enough, but lacks whitewater. Team LA were last seen heading down the coast towards Monteray, flying out roundabout now.

The end.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
boater rich
Posts: 912
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2002 2:47 pm
Location: Gloucester
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by boater rich »

Stunning photos as always Mark, making me feel very jelous sat here at work.

Rich

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

Mark R wrote:Image
Aha! One thing that caused the carnage depicted above (and more besides) was that we couldn't figure out how to portage Lower Burnt Ranch Falls.

This vid reveals the solution, at 2.00 ...
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

I used to link from this site to a video of Jay Sigbrandt getting a bit of a beating at the bottom of lower Burnt Ranch Falls - it was on the York Uni server, but isn't any more. Does anyone know if it is still online anywhere?

Cheers,
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
The Drowned Fish
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:23 pm
Location: Oxford
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by The Drowned Fish »

Mark R wrote:
Mark R wrote:Image
Aha! One thing that caused the carnage depicted above (and more besides) was that we couldn't figure out how to portage Lower Burnt Ranch Falls.

This vid reveals the solution, at 2.00 ...
Argh, the embarrassment.

Cheers
Simon

User avatar
kevinf
Posts: 491
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:33 pm
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by kevinf »

so who didn't swim then...?

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

kevinf wrote:so who didn't swim then...?
Just myself and ... Claire Cheong-Leen. Claire was seemingly on fire last week, and ran all the harder stuff, without crying (much).
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
ol
Posts: 2264
Joined: Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:13 pm
Location: In the middle

Re: Californication

Post by ol »

I only swam on entirely flat water strangely. We can count that as a no-swim surely? I only did it to entertain everyone....honest.
;-)

User avatar
tizereyes
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Devonshire

Re: Californication

Post by tizereyes »

Andy L and I are fighting for first place on the epic swim front. If we're going on destroyed kit, Andy get's it. However, I probably elevated the group's blood pressure to off the scale.

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

I thought Dave S was the undisputed swim champion from this trip?
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

The Drowned Fish wrote:
Mark R wrote:
Mark R wrote:Image
Aha! One thing that caused the carnage depicted above (and more besides) was that we couldn't figure out how to portage Lower Burnt Ranch Falls.

This vid reveals the solution, at 2.00 ...
Argh, the embarrassment.

Cheers
Simon
A wider view of this particular scene/scenario/meltdown/massacre reveals that Simon wasn't the only person to get the Burnt Ranch Falls beatdown experience ...

Image
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

On the subject of beatings, here's what the Cal Salmon River did to Andy L's helmet ...

Before ...
Image

After ...
Image


Don't try this at home, kids.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
ol
Posts: 2264
Joined: Sun Feb 29, 2004 6:13 pm
Location: In the middle

Re: Californication

Post by ol »

Mark R wrote:............ getting a bit of a beating at the bottom of lower Burnt Ranch Falls

Allow me to recount from my point of view, the now legendary tale of Lower Burnt Ranch Falls...

We had successfully negotiated the top and middle drops on Burnt Ranch Falls, all pretty stout drops, each with their own character.
Mark took the 1st position down the lead in to the final drop, we had to negotiate a small pourover drop about 20 feet above the main fall and then eddy-out left straight away. Mark had already got out on the bank as I came down the drop, got pushed about a bit but eddied out and got out of my boat, throwline at the ready.

Liz came next, took the drop and got pushed about quite badly and capsized. I think she had two roll attempts, desperate ones, there wasn't a lot of time to come up, with a scream that wasn't nice to witness she went over another time and started to exit her boat for the inevitable swim down the last drop (which none of us had inspected yet...)

I threw my line out and it hit her upturned boat, but there was no way she could even know it landed where it did and even less chance I would have been able to hold on to the rope in that water had she caught it anyway, she drifted off as we watched helpless into the first seam-hole, into the second, before dropping over the last and biggest drop into what looked like a huge 'trough-hole' from above and then her and her boat where out of sight around the corner.
With a quick WTF! from all of us, Mark hurriedly got into his boat, slipping about on the slick granite and proceeded to run the fall and go after Liz. Only I could see his line from where I was stood and he dropped into the final hole and got instantly backlooped....not good I thought, but he got through.
Simon and Dave scrambled up as far as they could on the unbelievably slippy granite bank to see if they could get sight of them both, eventually they did. Liz was clinging to a rock somewhere and Mark was with her. Relieved as hell, we all stood about in a bit of shock but were so relieved she was okay. we thought she would probably have lost all her kit though.

What followed next was about 45-60 mins of scouting for possible lines to run this rapid and possible lines to portage this rapid. The trouble was we really couldn't see what was happening down the drop and despite trying to climb over the rocks around, we could see no way to do it on foot, never mind carrying boats. Simon and Dave worked their way down and over a couple of the deep and incredibly dangerously slippy gulleys formed in the banks in granite and we then had to get throwlines out and haul them back up to the higher ridges on the bank. This did not look good, climbing back up the narrow ridges above the gulleys in the banks was stupidly hard and slippy. Dave went above as high as he could to look at more portage options. It was pretty much loose dirt on steep rock and gave no option for portage. We all came to the same realisation, we had to run this rapid. Like I said, by now, about 45 minutes had passed so god knows what Mark and Liz were thinking(although I have some idea...)

To be quite honest, I, and I think all of us if they don't mind me speaking for them, were absolutely cacking it now. It really was a violent looking mass of holes below and none of us were relishing the thought of getting into it, also, I had seen Mark drop into the biggest hole and get looped instantly.
We all started to ready ourselves to run it and we somehow came to what would be our 'system'. We would run it all together in a train, I think that none of us wanted to be the 'last man standing', standing at the top of the rapid that is...

Andy went first, he dropped the top two holes good and then out of sight, Claire followed, dropped into the big hole and got worked, Dave dropped right on top of her boat kindly knocking her out of the hole, Dave then got worked in the horrible recirculating eddy that everyone got pushed into river-left. With a bit of a gap, I dropped in next, fine over the first two holes then dropping into the final one, I got pushed left upsidedown and splatted against the bank/wall and came up with much scraping and about 3 attempts. As soon as I was up, I was greeted by Dave, up to his neck in river, without his boat and a cheery "Hello Oliver!"....Out of the mess, I looked behind and could not see Simon, I waited about 5-10 seconds and could still not see him, seconds more still no sign, Claire shouted him, there was no sign except the odd flash of his orange boat being flipped in the wash, the rock bank was obscuring the hole......after about 25 seconds thereabouts, which seemed like hours, he washed out, without his boat and we all sighed huge relief...
He had been pushed hard left and had been worked in the violent eddy and unable to get out, he got flipped several times the recirculated in the eddy still...Not good.

Mark had managed to collect Liz and all her kit when we got out, and even had time (funny that) to take some photographs of the falls...
What you see in the photo is just the last drop, there was a little more above this.

Image

We then had several more miles of class 4-4+ and all needed to get off the river. when we got to the take out bridge we were greeted by the sight of Dave S driving away!!! It was ok, heather was there and Dave S had gone to look for us upstream.....

A bit of an experience of a day, a memorable one though....
Last edited by ol on Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
tizereyes
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Devonshire

Re: Californication

Post by tizereyes »

Mark R wrote:I thought Dave S was the undisputed swim champion from this trip?
On shear number, probably. Although I hate to say this, but I think we might be joint. Damnation to the 'strategic exit' whilst pinned in 6" water.

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

ol wrote:none of us had inspected yet ... Mark hurriedly got into his boat ... proceeded to run the fall ... a violent looking mass of holes
I wish to observe ... this one time only, and then I'll shut up about it ... just how exciting that was for me.

The swim was a horrible event, because it was one of those times when things happen that you couldn't possibly have imagined would/could happen. In WWSR and suchlike, they talk about 'Position of Maximum Usefulness' - putting yourself in the location where you are likely to be of use, rather than covering every possible eventuality - and this is where the three of us who had already broken out were located. I never thought for a moment that we might need someone at the base of the falls. It was a simple breakout (compared to what we'd been paddling all day) but of course it was above a big horizon line and there is a big intimidation factor there; in such circumstances I guess that a simple move should thus be regarded as a Grade 5 move.
ol wrote:a quick WTF! from all of us
Thankfully our swimmer turned out to be unscratched and unharmed, but there is absolutely no worse feeling than seeing a friend in harm's way, and being unprepared/unable to do anything about it.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
tizereyes
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Devonshire

Re: Californication

Post by tizereyes »

ol wrote:Liz came next, took the drop and got pushed about quite badly and capsized. I think she had two roll attempts, desperate ones, there wasn't a lot of time to come up, with a scream that wasn't nice to witness she went over another time and started to exit her boat for the inevitable swim down the last drop (which none of us had inspected yet...)
I edged the wrong way in a boily eddy and capsized. No rolls were attempted and a speedy exit ensued, but I was already at the horizon line. I was then flushed down the toilet. To be fair, the swim seems to have been easier than running the bloody thing; lucky for me as it could have been a very different tale. Muchas gracias to Mark for running the falls blind and retrieving me from my rock and collecting all my kit.

A tale of when BAD FEAR makes everything 100 times worse. A certain case of the Nealy 'Zombie'. Ho hum.

User avatar
River Honey
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:58 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by River Honey »

Glad to hear your all alright.

Si and I did Burnt Ranch, We eddied out above the last drop in the gorge.. as you can guess we thought it was a bit sketchy especially as there was only two of us. We managed to haul ourselves out. I portaged around on river left and we roped the boat down to a precarious ledge right below the last drop, I did safety while Si ran the rapid, then I launched in.. Its one brilliant river though.

I am assuming you guys didn't camp at the campsite overlooking the gorge (as it would have allowed you to scout the whole gorge) and be warned by the camp owner that your all crazy and your going to die... like she did with us, and completely scared me out of my wits.

Looks like you all had an amazing time .. loving the pictures.

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

River Honey wrote:I portaged around on river left and we roped the boat down to a precarious ledge right below the last drop
I chatted to Si about this the other night - I think this ledge might have been underwater last week.

The level was 1400cfs on the web gauge last week. I had thought that it was 1500 on our 2002 trip, but something must be wrong as - looking at photos - it's clear that BRG was a foot or two higher last week.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
ion
Posts: 800
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:55 am
Location: California
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Californication

Post by ion »

ion wrote:Burnt Ranch in moderate flows could rightly be described as a hard 4 with a couple of optional easyish 5's...the snag is the portage on the second (Burnt Ranch No 3) requires an airy traverse on steep slabs above the rapid followed by a throw and go.
For the record, 1500cfs wasn't what I had in mind as a moderate flow :-) Maybe we should put a guest book in that left hand eddie at the bottom for visitors to sign....

User avatar
tizereyes
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Devonshire

Re: Californication

Post by tizereyes »

Mark R wrote: but the only casualties were a lost paddle and a dinked helmet
And my spare blades got snapped on the way home. Bugger. No idea how, when the other 3 in the bag were OK. Guess it doesn't have water in the shaft anymore!

User avatar
CCL
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:55 pm
Location: Oxford

Re: Californication

Post by CCL »

Claire followed, dropped into the big hole and got worked


Actually I think I did that on a different river !!! But all that Hurley time comes in useful sometimes!

As number 2 in the train (I didn't realise we were all doing it in a one-er!), I followed Andy L (who later admitted that he had seen the video footage of Jay in this little room of doom on the LHS of the big hole - I didn't even know this recirclulating eddy existed as you could not see it from the bank). He skirted the big hole and I decided to play safe and skirt it a bit more......only to find myself stopped dead (but upright) in the LH recirculating eddy.

After at least 3 attempts to paddle out and several revolutions, Hodgy came to join me....I think he was still upright then and I decided there wasn't room for 2 of us in there. Only option out was to paddle into the hole - get flipped (not planned) and luckily when I rolled up I was downstream of the ongoing carnage.

Conclusions:
I think if i'd seen the footage of Jay beforehand, then I might have been even more unhappy about being forced to paddle it.......

Big boats in stoppers is a bit of an old school thing but maybe its useful to have a bit of 'hole riding' experience in the big boat and not just in the little playboat

The guidebook needs updating - portaging would still be worse than running it

It was a 'bonding' experience ;)

User avatar
River Honey
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:58 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by River Honey »

Liz sorry to hear about your paddles.. can you claim from your travel insurance / Airline??

You definitely had more water than we had, I think we got it around 900 to 1000 CFS.. That drop was sketchy at low levels let alone the levels you had!!
If you look at AW guage you definitely had a spike of water near the date you were on it.
We think the ledge is just visable on one of your pictures, We did have to rope / climb down to get to it though. It isn't the most obvious portage.

Well it sounds like you had an exciting adventure, main thing you all lived to tell the war story..even if some of the gear didn't.

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

CCL wrote:
Claire followed, dropped into the big hole and got worked


Actually I think I did that on a different river !!! But all that Hurley time comes in useful sometimes!
I recall a riverwide pourover at the bottom of a rapid located perhaps a mile below BRF - Claire failed to clear the towback with the boof, and then 'typewritered' all the way along to the end to escape - a reminder that (for a very short period, back in the Triassic era) Claire was a member of the UK Rodeo* Team.



*Now called 'Freestyle', kids.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

tizereyes wrote:And my spare blades got snapped on the way home. Bugger. No idea how, when the other 3 in the bag were OK. Guess it doesn't have water in the shaft anymore!
Snapped where/how?
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
tizereyes
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Devonshire

Re: Californication

Post by tizereyes »

Mark R wrote:
tizereyes wrote:And my spare blades got snapped on the way home. Bugger. No idea how, when the other 3 in the bag were OK. Guess it doesn't have water in the shaft anymore!
Snapped where/how?
On the plane I assume. In the middle of the shaft. Due to excessive pressure I guess!

User avatar
The Drowned Fish
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:23 pm
Location: Oxford
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by The Drowned Fish »

Mark R wrote: ... my wife paddled like a demon and made me well proud (okay, I'm biased - but somewhere along the line she's got quite good at this paddling stuff).
Indeed:

Image

There a few more pics from our trip here: http://picasaweb.google.com/simon.knox/California2009. I'll just take this opertunity to say thanks to everyone who made it a memorable trip, especially those who collected me and all my kit after the 'Burnt Ranch Experience'.

Image

Cheers
Simon

User avatar
tizereyes
Posts: 660
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:51 pm
Location: Devonshire

Re: Californication

Post by tizereyes »

Wow, more lovely photos. Glad to see the lampost shot made the final selection!!

Image

Whoah boy! Woah!

Image

Ha ha, very good!

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

Simon, where did you see these guys?

Image
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24134
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 15 times
Contact:

Re: Californication

Post by Mark R »

Image

... awesome.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

Post Reply

Return to “Whitewater and Touring”