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Thread: The Blackwater (BC): TR
06-03-2012, 12:05 PM #1
The Blackwater (BC): TR
So yesterday a group of 9 of us hit a "local" epic that gets done infrequently (last time was 4 years ago).
***I have yet to get a good grip on shooting from the river and since it was a long day we only boat scouted so pics are a little lacking, enjoy the scenery***
The Blackwater is a longer run and we were looking to do it a medium level (there are no gauges on the river). It is a wild canyon run about 28km long with pretty near no good outs after the put in. The guide book puts it at a II and III, although the majority of the river has boily shit throughout and potential for wood is high.
We peeled outta PG at 0730, there is a hour long shuttle mission and then on the river by 1015.
Off the get go it became apparent that one boater lacked the skillz to get it done; and in hind sight we should have had him get out right away, but that is hind sight and he thought he could get through it. With only 2 of 9 having boated the river before and knowing when to eddy out to scout being critical for a couple rapids we took things easy and tried to build some eddy skills and confidence in the weak link.
The first drop comes pretty quick about 2km into the run. After a quick scout and reviled a log in the inside third followed by a bit of a log jam shortly after only Ian ran it.
After that there was a confidence shattering swim or two then the next drop and a swim resulted in a boat swap and option discussion: A) swap boats, creeker being a easier boat than the play boat, or B) start the miserable hike and hope there is a road, option A...
More boogie water, holes and short drops then the next short rapid which was about a 3 foot river wide drop with a couple weaknesses, which resulted in another swim.
By this point hiking out was on the table again and the next rapid was another swim. Swimmer latched on to the smallest boat in the river, by the cockpit mid rapid as more holes appeared and towing was not happening our swimmer took a paddle to the face resulting in a decent gash and a massive orange sized goose egg.
After some first aid, and time with a shitty map, 2 poor bastards volunteered to help our smashed up swimmer hike out, as luck would have it the only road in the area was about 3km from the river at that point, and there was a break in the canyons as well. That was pretty much where their luck ended.
And now there were 6...
We kept boating and made up for a bunch of lost time rallying a good 10km of river with sporty II+ features waiting for the first real canyon, and waiting... waiting... .
Last year there were record flows on a lot of the rivers and the Blackwater was no exception. As we kept paddling the power of last years flood was obvious as gravel bars had been cut in half with the river running 6+ft below the high water mark and the gravel bar looking like it was cut with a knife. While this event probably resulted in the gravelling out of the first canyon rapid and a few features before it the loss of the canyon made us doubt our knowledgeable guide and has provided ample ammunition for shit talking from now until the end of time. Needless to say the seamy, boily, whirlpool infested first canyon and rapid passed by with out notice...
So as we all kept boating waiting for the first canyon, having passed it already, and quickly approaching the 2nd and 3rd canyons which are in the last 4 km of the run. More boils and class two with a healthy flat ish section then around the corner we were in the 2nd canyon, read and run try to stay middle and look out for the holes, good fun.
A quick regroup boat scout then the final canyon, more of the same but bigger and squirrellier, Curt, who had been really stepping it up this being his 2ndish season and the biggest and squirrellest water he had ever been in, couldn't hold his line, got turfed in a whirlpool river left and after a couple rolls ended up back upside down for a ledge drop that I wanted to avoid upright. Watching the hull of his boat I could see the impact that brained him but good, with a couple more holes coming and a brief black out from a blow to the brains he managed to attempt a roll then pull. Props to him for flipping his boat and trying to hold onto his gear but there is a time to hang onto your shit and there is a time to swim like a made bastard and it was getting to swim time. I can't say I like watching the top of a helmet bob up then down and shoot past me knowing that there is a body below it but it happens to the everyone at one point or another, Curt's first real swim was stout, and after some work to pry is paddle out of some wood we managed to finish off the rapid and get to the takeout. 4km up hill got us to the beer and the trucks.
With a beer in my belly it was time to find the 3 that went hiking, lucky for them and us they had hit the road and almost got their boats out. By this time the gooseegg had gone down the bleeding had stopped and a quality black eye was forming.
1hr later we had recovered the boats smashed up the last ridge and were rolling towards several beers and pizza, nobody died so it must have been a good day.I don't work and I don't save, desperate women pay my way.
06-04-2012, 04:55 AM #2
Solid effort, glad everyone ok. Beerza's earned the hard way.You are the mission Bob.
06-21-2012, 08:38 PM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
- northern BC
I did that river maybe 10 yrs ago as a 2 day gig, from a road pullout somewhere above the Batanuni bridge to a takeout at the blackwater bridge where we camped at the forestry site and the second day from the bridge to the fraser ... what part did you do?
I remember the worst part of the trip was hiking up from the Fraser lugging the boats which sucked big time, I think Crazy Graham if he is still around knows an easy takeout just down from the Blackwater/Fraser confluence a short drift
06-21-2012, 11:59 PM #4Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2009
Thanks for the TR. Well written, but sounds like a few people really need to work on their roll and river running otherwise they are just a liability to the group and themselves. IMO any river that has significant chance of wood should be run in the same way as a steep ski line over a 300 foot drop - i.e. don't fuck up!
06-22-2012, 09:01 AM #5
PhilM - Yup there was one guy that needed some work on his roll and confidence, the two that hiked with him were better men than myself. Most of the run can be boat scouted but not fucking up is how I like to do things as well.I don't work and I don't save, desperate women pay my way.
06-22-2012, 11:55 AM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
- northern BC
I remember the takeout closer to the Fraser being STEEP & long but maybe that doesn't register on a forest fire fighter, in any case the upper section might be a better run for the newbies but the Black water is not a bad run for the new paddler
back in the day a crew did a multi-day from way up river by canoes and had to come back the next year to finish due to low water levels which is not the problem this year with snow pack up here being 125% of normal or SFT ... big runoff this year
06-22-2012, 01:05 PM #7
great TR, tks.The blues has always been about taking your problems and turning them into something you can dance to, drink to and fuck to.
We're certainly not a blues band in any kind of purest sense, but to me Rock and Roll has always had it's roots in that tradition.
Patterson Hood of the DBT's