Posted by: evanstafford | July 9, 2012

The Big Timber Spiritual Chamber


 Image

Shit has been on fire. Excuse my language here but it’s been crazy. Crazy hot, crazy smokey and my local canyon was on fire for about a month. I was camping with the family when lighting struck a nearby ridge and next thing you know the blazing sun is red behind a thick veil of smoke and we’re getting evacuated! It felt like a swirling plume of doom was rolling in to suffocate the life out of us. I had to escape. As timing would have it I had a trip to the whitewater state already planned. Idaho sounded like a damn pleasure compared to the taste of ash in my mouth.

Then my Secesh/South Salmon combo partner bailed and with the short window, which was going to require thru the night drives on both ends of the trip, I had to look at some other options since I was now going to be rolling solo. Montana seemed like a fine substitute and Casper Mike confirmed Big Timber would be in.

Image

The Crazies on the drive in

Image

Pretty brutal hike to the put-in. Something upwards of 1200 feet of elevation gain in 2 miles. Casper almost to the upper put-in drops

Image

No Worries Falls a.k.a the put-in

Image

Shayne Day No Worries part 1

Image

No Worries part 2

Image

O’s Woes, Casper style

I have to admit I was a little skeptical. I pretty much started kayaking when Twitch and then the first Teton Gravity Movie, Nurpu came out, and Big Timber was all over those films. At first it was something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be into running but shortly became something I’d aspire to. And then a funny thing happened on the way to the ball. Slides became, well, whack. There was a period in my paddling career where low-volume waterfalls were about the greatest thing I could imagine but lately I’ve been craving big deep water and long thick paddle strokes. I was just questioning the wisdom of driving 9-10 hours to slide down some shit with nary a completely submerged stroke.

Then again, the smoke in town was semi-unbearable and I already had the hall pass. I looked up some other runs in the area and there was the prospect of getting on at least a couple new runs so finally, at the last minute, I committed to the rally and started driving north.

Image

Top of the first long slide Fine Line

Image

Looking up at Fine Line

Image

Beautiful gorge below the Gambler

Image

Casper Gamblin’

Image

Super fun slides below the Pinch

Casper was of course ecstatic and said he would a rally a crew for the morning. When I got there it was just me, for awhile, but eventually in rolled Casper, also by himself. A two-man crew proved to be fine and the little creek proved itself to be everything it’s cracked up to be. Over three days we got in two laps and a nice run down the Hells Canyon and Bible Stretch of the Boulder River in between. Casper even managed to rally a third partner in crime for our second lap on Big T so we got to share in the joy!

Image

Kayaker nightmare. Natural Bridge Falls where the entire Boulder River goes into limestone tubes underground. When the river is flooding it fills in the tubes and goes overland as well creating a 100+ foot falls with a first and only descent by Ian Garcia.

Image

The first drop on the Hells Canyon is a beautiful portage. Could probably be run with the right mind set but it’s long, stout and ends in a multitude of sieves. There’s definitely a route though… just not for most.

Image

First rapid on the Hells Canyon of the Boulder River stretch

Image

Great continuous action in Hells Canyon

Image

Casper in the crux of Hells Canyon

The mythical Pinch slide turned out to be bumpy on the first round but a spiritual experience on our second lap with better flows. Launching and sliding intermittently down the whitewater greased bedrock, careening towards a curler filled four foot wide gap, my steely look of determination transformed into a guarded smile.  I was going to make it to the Pinch facing forward and upright. I ducked the curler closed my eyes and skipped into the pool below. It was a certain moment of counting my blessings. I had a second moment of counting my blessings rolling up at the bottom of the big falls… after taking it switch by accident. What a sick run and sick place. Them Crazy Mountains be the stuff of legends. Check the Big Timber video by Casper below, an excerpt from his series The Schmitt Chronicles.

Image

Erik Johnson bouncing down the Pinch

Image

Big Timber Falls. Scary peel-out into a near vertical curler into mock 10 sliding. Awesome. Beautiful. Backwards. 

Image

No Big Timber run is complete without a stop at the Frosty Freez!

Advertisements

Responses

  1. For the record, my bud – and Golden, CO local – Josh S. ran a good bit of the first portage drop on Hell’s Canyon. At near flood-stage. I can’t say that it was intentional, but he made it and caught an eddy on river-right below the vertical 20’er in there. GDalton


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: