Fremont Canyon

First, here's a slideshow from the trip. For a more detailed report, some trash talking, and a selected handful of images, read on.



I'm still sorting through all the photos from spring break, and getting ready to make a post with a nice summary, but in the mean time, the Colorado season is really starting to pick up, by which I actually mean that the Wyoming and New Mexico season is picking up. New Mexico has no water this year, so it's not too hard to decide where to paddle on the weekends.

Two weeks ago, we headed up to the Casper whitewater park, where I had a chance to try out my new Fluid Element surfboat. I wrote up a review for the fluid blog. We had a blast.

This weekend, Nathan and I got word that Fremont canyon had some water in it, so we rallied up while Natalie played volleyball (ha ha). We were running on beta from local legend Caspermike of mountainbuzz. He knows all the secret goods in the Casper area, although ironically he now lives in Bozeman.

Nathan has a chuckle about Caspermike's literary skills. Freemont Canyon 2011

We found our way to the run, and spent an appropriate amount of time scouting out the two gorges that make up this short run. Interestingly, we ran into Caspermike's dad at putin. It's a small world.

Nathan gets a glimpse of the one rapid. Freemont Canyon 2011

At different levels, I'm sure things change, but at our flow of about 2000 cfs, here's how it goes. The whole run is pretty short (if you take the conventional bridge to bridge run), and most of the run is flatwater. There are a number of class III drops in the upper gorge, then two class IV drops guarding the entry to the main gorge, followed by about half a mile of pristine flatwater in a very narrow very deep very cool canyon. Then you arrive at the rapid.

Entering the main gorge. Freemont Canyon 2011

The rapid (Geronimo) could easily be unscoutable and unportageable at different water levels. With less water, apparently the whole river pours into a pile of rocks and the drop is totally unrunnable. At our flow, it was a straightforward entry leading into a 6 foot boof (with no hole in the landing). It was tricky to nail the boof, but missing it just meant a flip, not a trashing. When we scouted from the rim, the rapid looked trivial, but once we were at water level, it was clear that the end was a lot steeper than we had thought. Also, the entire right half of the river was a sketchy sieve.

Nathan enters the rapid. Freemont Canyon 2011

Nathan misses the boof and melts down. Freemont Canyon 2011

I nailed an awe-inspiring boof on my first lap, but of course there was no photo of it. We hiked out just upstream of the bridge and got a ride to putin for another couple laps.

This boof was ok, but not as good as the first one. Freemont Canyon 2011

I won the ice cream game with my clean first lap. Freemont Canyon 2011

Apparently there are also some rapids below the main gorge, but we haven't been able to get a good estimate of how difficult they are at 2000. We might return to do a little more exploration, since it was kind of a long drive for a single rapid, although the scenery was hard to beat. This would be a great run for someone just starting into creekboating, in order to get a taste of the commitment required on more serious runs, since although the rapid is straightforward, it does pack a bit of a punch, and once you're in the canyon, you are not going to be able to change your mind.

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