Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Green Truss Section of the White Salmon River, Wa:
August 10, 2006:

\/ Photo by: Kim Russell \/

So in my last post, I mentioned that on our trip to Hood River, we were going Trussing. Here we go!

What is Trussing? Trussing is the verb form of the Green Truss( “To do the Green Truss”). In guidebooks, it is 6-mile class V section of the White Salmon River in Washington with intimidating drops such as Big Brother, Double
Drop, Upper/Lower Zigzag, and BZ Falls. We got excited just reading the guidebook, but at the same time our stomachs were turning over. AH! NOT GOOD!

We arrived in Hood River after our round-about drive where Highway 35 was closed and grabbed some grub with Brandon Backman, River Ranger of the White Salmon and Klickitat River Drainages at the taco stand. Can you say veggie burritos and Horchata, this really cool rice drink. It’s kind of sweet and cinammony. SUPER good. Our lives basically revolve around food, so I will apologize in advance if either Christina or I wander and end up writing an entire blog about a slice of pizza. Over lunch we even had time to work on our Magnum and Blue Steel faces from the McKenzie River. :)

Christina and “Blue Steel”
Photo by: Kim Russell

Kim with “Magnum”

Photo by: Christina Russell

Brandon Backman with his Blue-Steel Magnum Combo
Photo by: Kim Russell

Back to the story; Over lunch, we decided to give some people a call and see if we couldn’t get a fourth person for the Truss. What we didn’t realize, was that this week was the week for the Outdoor Retailer Show and that almost everyone in town we would be calling would be at that show. We felt smart. HAHA. No…. really it was good. Anywhoo.. After many messages and scrolling through the entire list on our phones, we decided to head up to the put-in, and see what happens. YEA! Good stuff.

We headed across the bridge, paying a toll of 75 cents (“If you don’t pay no toll, you wont get no rolls, and if you wont get no rolls…. Then…”)

/\ I think that is how the quote went? Robin Hood Men in Tights. Great movie!

Anyway, we headed up to the put-in and got our stuff together while Brandon proceeded to hitch a ride for shuttle.

Meanwhile, Christina and I looked like this. \/ \/ \/ (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Super nervous before our run. HAHA. It shows.

On the Green Truss, at this flow, a little above 2ft, Elbow pads are recommended..... The run starts with class III-IV boulder gardens and ledges, then picks up at the rapid, Meatball. Here, there is a funky boulder jumble lead-in to a boulder blocking almost the entire river. River-right slot is stuffed with wood, and river left is this cool airplane turn... Super fun. (We were able to get a few pictures, but not too many. On the lower half of the run, we wanted to get down safe, so left the camera in its box temporarily :) Below Meatball, the gradient picks up and you get to Elbow Room. At these flows, just a little about 2 ft, the rapid is substantially narrower than at higher flows (so we are told). Again.... elbow pads are recommended. Nothing shattered this time.. yay!!! Pretty stoked on that after getting quite the talk before hand about the risk to our limbs at this flow…

Christina running Elbow Room

Photo by: Kim Russell

Anywhoo, We all made it through alright and continued to Bob's Falls, a 8ft-ish slide/ledge. We were told that at normal flows, the hole at the bottom is INSANELY STICKY. We sneaked far left and everyone was bueno once again :) .

Bob’s Falls

Photo By: Kim Russell

Next up was Big Brother, a technical 25 ft waterfall. The line is to start right moving left across the lip and hit a flake about 3 ft wide with a strong boof pointing left, but not too far. If you angle too far right, you hit the wall and end up in the cave at the bottom. The pool has shallow spots as well, so you've got to know where you are going. We’ve heard lots of horror stories about the cave: drownings and such, and decided to take a pass on our first time down. I.e: We were a little chicken under the circumstances. Needless to say, its a very runnable falls :) Brandon Backman fired it up and cleaned it nicely… there was a little wall-action, but life was good. (Sorry no pics, I was throw-bag girl).
Hangin’ out below Big Brother (if you look about mid-picture on the left in the photo, you can kind-of see the cave).

Big Brother
Photo by: Brandon Backman

Immediately after Big Brother comes Little Brother, a 14 ft super clean falls (as long as you go left) :) But it’s clean!!!

Little Brother

Photo by: Kim Russell

Then, comes some class Four “boogie-water,” boulder gardens, ledges, etc… and DOUBLE DROP.. DUN DUN DUN. It just sounds freaky. AH!!!!!!! It’s a two tier, 18-foot drop. The first is a 10ft drop followed by an 8ft drop. The tricky thing is: there is about 5 ft give or take a few between the two! AND… We were told, it is hard to stick a boof off the first ledge. So if you don’t, you sub, and most people come up right as they are going over the second ledge and either get WORKED or flushed. It’s a 50-50. Roll of the dice. We decided to take a pass…

Below Double Drop there are a bunch of random drops as well as Upper and Lower Zigzags. When we got out to take a look at Upper Zizag, I just remember thinking to myself, “CRAP. This is really scary. Ah.. Look at that rock. And OOOO look at the wall. And AH I have to run it. I want to run it, but AH! Look at it!!!” Seriously. That is what I was thinking. Upper Zigzag is this fairly tight basalt canyon with super undercut walls, and a technical line with big holes and some good consequences. We got back in our boats though, said, “I love you sis!” to each other and took off. We do this when we are really nervous and think something bad might happen. Brandon went first, followed by Christina, then me. Brandon had a great line, Christina ended up eddying out semi-unintentionally and peeled out as I was coming through. Let’s just say we had a pretty sweet Boatercross through there that has us both freaked out forever about that rapid. No illegal paddle hits or anything though! (Are they illegal>?)
Then… Lower ZigZag… basically a sweet boof at the top and a hard drive left to avoid plastering yourself on a HUGE fan rock. At this point, let me tell you…. My sister wears contacts on the river. YUP. And about half-way through this rapid, between the boof and the rock, they decided to play games with Christina and move. Yup. That’s right. MOVE. We know you hate your contacts Christina, but you can't go taking them out like that!!! Just kidding :) Apparently, Brandon shouted to her to paddle left and kept doing so until she was clear of the rock. She then paddled the rest of the way BLIND, flipped at the bottom and shredded her shortie :( I love you Christina! Besides a little carnage, it was a SICKY GNARLY SWEET run on the Green Truss. The new creek boats were awesome! The Huck boofs like a dream, is very predictable, very stable, and goes were you want it to go!

Two Hucks and a Jefe at the take-out

Photo By: Brandon Backman

AND>>> we were able to make it off the river in time for some Sushi. Only we almost fell asleep in our Ginger we were so tired. HAHA. Good Times.

We weren’t able to take as many pictures on this run as we wanted, but check out the video of the Truss from a later trip! (Wish you came with Christina!)

Kim Russell
A.K.A Kiddo

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