Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dog days of winter

Had to share...

Hospital Rock for Desperate Souls

After a long winter with no boating, some nice weather and a hunk of time on our hands convinced us that a trip to the Kaweah was warranted. Normally I am a high water junkie; my personal low run on this section before was over 600 cfs at Three Rivers, but reports of successful runs down in the 400's made us think that a flow of 380 cfs might be doable, if not enjoyable. After two low water runs (one at about 380 and another at about 400 - corresponding to about 120-140 cfs on the stretch), I can definately say that this run is a good time, with or without water.

Rebecca looking up at a scenic Angel Wing rock formation

The first day we ran from the Hospital Rock parking lot down to zero-to-sixty. At that point the 60 cfs diversion made the river extremely non-enticing, so we hiked up to the roadside and jogged the shuttle from there. The second day we decided to walk on up to Buckeye campground and put in there.
Rebecca on Buckeye rapid

Gino takes his turn

When we got down to the "normal" Hospital Rock put-in, we discoverd the scary reality that is the Hospital Rock rapid - Check out the massive, tree clogged sieve on river right. At this flow there is no water going around the sieve...

Rebeeca doesn't like the line on this one

From there it looked pretty chunky down to Baby Niagra, so we decided to shoulder back to Baby Niagra and put-in there. Most of the rapids from there down had the same lines as normal water with smaller holes and a lot less push.

Rebeeca on the roadside drop

The only exception really was 420 rapid where the water starts to go subterranian. The first day we carried around the entry sieve and ran the rest, the second day we just called it and walked around the whole thing.

Reba's 87th photo on 420 gorge

That funky drop with the pinball finish

Gino on Table Rock

Again, I was blown away by how much fun this run was at these low flows. Maybe it was not being in a boat for 4 or 5 months, but I would certainly go do this again on a nice February day!

The author getting his Februboof on

Out of the office, will be back soon...

We are still alive and well, just been either too busy or too lazy to update stuff. So here are a few pics and synopsis of what has been going on around here...

2009-2010 winter has been a good one around the Kern River Valley. The normal El Nino pattern here is wet and warm; for some reason, the latest rendition of El Nino has been wet and cold. Normally we have to do most of our skiing above 8000 feet, but this year's low elevation snowline has opened up some new territory for us, namely Spirit Bowl.

Mike Breaking Trail to the top

Spirit Rock is a granite outcrop near the top of the Sherman Pass (at least the part that they plow in the winter) and has a nice north facing slope. Marc, Mike, Andrew, Rebecca and I got a chance to get on it one day with a nice fresh dump of snow.

Sorry Andrew, I didn't have any good pictures of you skiing, so this will have to do

A look at Spirit Bowl from the top - Spirit Rock is to the left

Mike with Spirit Rock in the Background

All in all it was a super day; good sn0w, good folks, good workout...

Marc shredding his spirit

One of the more entertaining aspects of this ski is the exit across a creek and up the hill back to the car. Some folks decide to ditch their skis and jump across, others tried to make a snow bridge.

Um... how did you get across?

"Back in Canada we simply walk on water" - Marc Vernon
We all eventually made it across with varying levels of sucess and skinned our way back to the car. Who says Kernville is best enjoyed in the Summer!