Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Hola everyone!  It's a been a while since I've posted so I thought I would drop a note and fill ya in on what's been going on out here.  For one, school has been kicking my butt this term and I havent been able to get out as much as I would like.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but I just can't get there fast enough!  Darn that long tunnel.  Last weekend I finally got away from Bend for the Clackamas River Festival in Estacada, OR.

Photo courtesy: Dan Jones

The weather was warm, the booze were everywhere, AND Joe Bob's play way was IN IN IN!!!!! YEAH! :D  I felt like a total gaper having not playboated in 6 months atleast but hey...it's all good right?

Went up and did a high water Truss run a while back and didn't jump at posting...then I realized that everyone loves carnage and can learn from the incident so....here is my beatdown in all it's glory.

The morning we put on the Truss, it was raining cats and dogs. And I don't mean the little yappers either...Im talking German Shepherds. BIG raindrops. Ok now that you have that image in mind, we put on the truss at what we thought was a flow of 3.25. The locals we went with thought this was about right and so we were all surprised to find the usual manky drops to be fluffy. Hmmmm. We made it down to Big Bro in record time and got out to find it really, really fluffy. Instead of there being a rocky outcropping where you scout, there was a hole. Oh boy. Josh fired it off going farther left than usual to avoid the massive boils heading to the cave. I was feeling really good about my paddling and jumped back in my boat.

Here I am powering toward the lip...nobody get in my way!

(Above) boofing between the veils...lots of agua!

So what the heck happened right? well, I went off and had a carbon copy line of Josh's. I chose to go off the kicker boofing left which worked with all the water...except I hit a big boil at the bottom and flipped. Got pinned on the corner of the cave and wasnt rolling, flushed into the cave and swam. Normally the cave is pretty mellow but there was so much water pushing in tthere that it was a constant battle to keep myself on the surface (The entire cave is super undercut). Josh tossed me a bag and he was unable to pull me out. The current was just too strong. Our partner from across the river tossed a bag after a couple minutes and with both of them pulling, I came out. Turns out the flow was over 3.75 and that is a guesstimate. Dang. Was in the water for over seven minutes and super stoked to have been wearing lots and lots of fleece under my drysuit. Hooray for fleece! Anyways, as I flushed out of the cave, the throwrope that had been floating in the cave with me wrapped around my leg and pulled me under. Thankfully, Josh quickly let go and I swam to the eddy. Once my soaking wet body was out of the river, the boys attempted to get my boat out of the cave. Chaos ensued as Josh jumped in the water and couldn't get himself out (I told you so) and then John Cramp fell in! Thankfully they were able to self rescue and with Josh hangin' on to my boat , was able to be pulled out. It was a very humbling experience and definitely made me feel tiny and insignificant. I will be nervous at the top of Big Bro next time for sure.

Thankfully, the only casualty we had were my pogies that flushed out of the back of my boat, and the lifter pad from my seat :( Despite all the duct tape, it disappeared. (Those pogies are in there somewhere! If you find em, keep em' as a gift from the river) Having no butt pad meant I would have a nasty second half of the run and seeing that I was a bit shaken up, I hiked out. My first hike out but hey. Josh hiked out with me for support and our photographer buddy, Tyler Roemer, gave us a ride t0 the take out where we waited.

All in all, I am happy I ran it and happy to be safe and sound. I hit the line I wanted and will learn from the experience. On the positive side, my lifter pad was rescued between rapids farther downstream! Hooray for brightly colored duct tape! Knew there was a reason for that. :) I will have to take a pick of that pad...Ive been using it for 6 years now and despite getting ripped out during several swims, it survives! Lucky pad.

For flow comparison, check out a juicy flow of 3.0....lot less water and a lot nicer
Note: the rocks at the top of the drop were exposed at 2.5 and completely covered by over a foot of water...had to have been over 3.75 feet. Scary. At 3.5 you run it far left...

Hope everyone enjoyed the carnage! Remember: Carry a throwbag, knife, and pinkit with you ALWAYS! You never know when this could happen to you! If it does, don't panic (like me) and work with your buddies. They are your lifeline.

Stay safe out there-
Christina Russell

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