Sunday, May 25, 2008

Slater Creek

Natalie and I checked out Slater Creek way back around May 2008, but it was the first group of photos that I laid hands on, so I decided to post it first. Also, there aren't many photos.

We got stuck while trying to find the falls, which killed about half the day. We were pretty glum about it, since we thought that we wouldn't be able to get in to the falls through the snow. We drove around the back roads in the area and eventually decided to ask directions at the hunting lodge nearby. They told us how to find the falls, and we eventually ended up driving right back to where we'd gotten stuck, parking there, and hiking down the hill to the creek.

When we finally arrived at the creek, we found that it was in full flood. We had been hoping to run some of the rapids upstream, not just the falls, but decided that the upper run was out of the question.

After a careful safety discussion, I suited up and gave the falls a shot.

The results were less than spectacular. The falls didn't seem to have a really defined lip, so I ended up just sort of rolling off and getting lost in the foam. Also, since I totally missed my boof, I went a little deeper than I should have, and brushed the bottom of the river. Not satisfied, I went for a second run.

This time, I tried to get more speed, and get a little farther river right, which is a bad idea at normal flows, since the right side is even shallower than the left. At these flows, it worked great. I still missed my boof, so I'm taking a huge air whiff recovery stroke, but I bounced off a rock flake at the lip, so I was out of the foam. Overall, I think that all came together to make for a beautiful photo.

All photos here were taken by Natalie Kramer, shown to the left, except for the two photos which are OF Natalie. Those two were taken by Leif Anderson.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


After a fun, but short 1-day West Water trip, Leif and I checked out Escalante Creek. We arrived late at night (I was asleep of course so I couldn't tell you how to get there) and when we woke in the morning we found ourselves in a beautiful desert canyon.

Morning photo of camp with historic buildings in foreground- Photo by Leif

Leif and I suited up to check out what this creek had to offer. The first big rapid called Leap of Faith proved to be much less of a leap than I imagined. This leap of faith pales in comparison next to the leap of faith on the north fork of the south fork of the trinity in northern Califonia. That leap of faith was bordered by vertical walls with no option of portaging or even scouting. Not only that, but the 7ft drop is backed up by a hole you are bound to party in, and then immediately downstream is a must portage class VI rapid that may have only been run by Charlie Center (not sure my facts are straight, but I think I remember Dan Menton telling me this...) Anyway, below is a picture of me running the 'benign' Leap of Faith on Escalante Creek.

Natalie boofing Leap of Faith. Photo by Leif

After Leap of Faith, the next biggy is called waterslide. Neither Leif or I had run this creek before so we weren't aware of all of the hype associated with this rapid when we came upon it. After scouting, we chose the simple line of just boofing over the center flat rock. We found out later that many people have swum out of this rapid when they ran the right chute. Anyway, we thought the line we picked out was pretty straightforward.

Natalie boofing the flat rock. Photo by Leif

Corkscrew came next. Despite the fact that the picture makes it look like Leif is styling his line, he in fact almost flipped (maybe he did but I can't remember). This rapid is harder than it looks. The best idea is just to run it straight and lean into the pile at the bottom of the drop. It is a weird one.

Leif running corkscrew. Photo by Natalie

After running the upper section, we got to the infamous Escalante narrows. By this time another group had caught up to us and we had some seasoned Escalante guides. Unfortunatly my day ended at 57 chevy where I got stuck in the curtain and despite holding on for probably close to 3 minutes I finally decided that I wasn't going to be released. I swam and I lived.

Leif continued on and styled Escalante Falls.

Leif styling Escalante Falls, photo by some dude

Fortunately I had company for the bootie beer.

bootie photos by Leif