Professor Paddle: Pilchuck Watch 2012
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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Topic: Pilchuck Watch 2012
    Posted: 20 Jan 2012 at 6:28pm
All right- conditions seem prime for Pilchuck creek this weekend. If it dumps rain like they say tomorrow could be prime.

This run gets run at "normal" flows when it is on the cusp of class III/IV, but what's great about this run is if you get on it at high flows, it takes on a much more solidified class IV personality on the upper part. The rest of the run is an awesome "phat" III+/IV-.

Gotta watch for wood of course: we can expect fresh batches of wood in all of our western Wa streams after this ice storm, especially with high winds in the mix later tonight as this rain blows into the zone...

Anyone wanna consider a Pilchuck run tomorrow? If Robe is over 6' as predicted, I could run Pilchuck creek. I'm only interested in running the Upper and Middle combined. It's a great high water run for those who are ready to solidify their class IV experience.
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 20 Jan 2012 at 7:39pm
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 8:22am
So I'm still lookin at it- it may yet spike. I'm on I-5 checkin flows. Ready to rally for some water somewhere tho...
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 8:31am
JP, I love it! "on I-5, ready to rally somewhere" I'm ready too, bro.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman
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  Quote Chelsea Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 10:13am
Let me know if you end up going - I'd be in, but don't know what good levels are...
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 5:55pm
Sorry, Chelsea- we were probably out on the Hwy 9 bridge lookin at it by 10am or so. It ended up being pretty darn high.

I'd only run it twice before (Pulchuck Crk).
4.5' on the stick above the Hwy 9 bridge: I had the Salto and thought, " this run would be a blast if it had more water and I had the Diablo"

Then I went back the following Halloween (2009):
4.85' on the stick and I brought the Diablo. It was higher and great fun in the sportier ride provided by the Diablo.

I wondered what it was like at an even higher flow.
Today it was 5.2' when we floated past the stick just above the HWY 9 bridge. Maybe 3ish? Jed might know.

Apparently at 1:45 it was 2700 cfs, according to Jed's text query. On the class II paddle out towards the end he pointed out the snow line and the waterline beneath it. It had been dropping some while we were on it. The pour over rock upstream of the Hwy 9 bridge was a broken wave/hole when we put on. When we took out, it resembled the pourover I remember from my run at 4.85'. Yet upstream, the 5.2' of today's flow was much much bigger than when I was on it at 4.85'.
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  Quote RPMMAX Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 6:33pm
JP "MAD DAN MILLER" would say you guys were lucky to get on Pilchuck just as it was peaking at 2750!!
I would like to know how the big wave thats next to
a rock on river right that extends 15ft above the
water. As I recall that wave hits like a ton of bricks.

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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 6:42pm
Anyway, 4.85' was still class IV with some IV+ moments. Eddies are scarce if one is out of shape, but this is a good challenge for stable IV boaters looking to challenge their water reading, reaction time, and endurance. Its very boat scoutable, but it'll keep you on your toes. Swimming would suck at this flow, or even at 4.5'. Stay in the boat or find an easier run. Driftwood discouraged.

Here's the basic T.R. for our trip today 1/20/12 at 2700cfs or 5.2':

I think that at today's 5.2' flow, its full-on bigwater IV+ paddling in a class V environment. There's some crux spots where if you fu*k up, sh*ts gonna unravell into class V calamity real quick. You really got to be comfortable with the whole read n run freight train thing. That's a big part of keeping it contained within class IV parameters.Lots of scrambling from one side of the river to the other. No place to be a bobber n drifter. Gotta move your boat around.

There was the spanning log that had to be portaged. It was sketchy getting in to the bank to stop one's momentum. Not too bad of a portage though on river right. Possible sneak line far left, but another strainer upstream blocks a left approach.

Jed n I opted to portage "Pil Pusher", the distinct fat ledge up on the Upper with the hotel sized rock flanking it on R.Right. A stand out drop on the run that frequently comes up when boaters discuss this run. Pil Pusher. Eric Boomer probably would say it goes fine, but that's not the metric I use when evaluating whether to hoof it or not. Besides, the road grade was right there and the snow encouraged an easy drag. The drop looked too big, deep, and powerful looking for either of us to bother with.

Always on guard, we worked our way down to the bridge fine. This is only my third run on Pilchuck, and it was just the two of us. Jed had never run it before, and I wanted to play it safe as far as the falls was concerned. We got out just a few hundered yards above the falls, wanting to better scout our approach. This was a pain in the ass, but it was safe. We crept right up to the eddy on R.Right. the thing is though, there were some very big whitewater features just above the corner. Just flipping in there could doom you to running the left side of the falls. I remembered more slack water approaching the falls. It wasn't bad, but Jed was getting pushed by eddy fences, hanging out on the divinding line between the left half of the crik that twisted and dropped to the left, and the flatter water that pooled up on R.Right.

We got out where ya do on R.Right to scout the right half of the falls. It totally still goes, but we both ended up portaging. The day seemed to have enough action. I should've run it though, cuz the portage is jackass. Next time. I ran it the two previous times. Just wasn't lookin for extra adventure.

We boogied on and on. Its all whitewater. Even the class II towards the end keeps on truckin. We played it safe in the narrows (a.k.a. "The Pil Box") toward the end. Watch for wood here chocked in the narrow bedrock canyon. It must've been deep under water. It was there on the other runs and I hear it still is. It was underwater, today, I think.

There was some huge, squeezed boily sh*t in that canyon (The Pil Box). It still "went" in a straight forward, simple but pushy as hell class III way. But it was way too constricted to be called class III. I could barely track my boat straight a few times. That's saying a lot in the diablo. Whatever. Yall wanna sling them sandbags around, go for it.

After that though, its just class II express to the bridge. The rock above the bridge was more or a "sunken pourover" like the day it was 4.85' only fatter. It had been a small crashing wave/hole earlier before we put on.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 6:47pm
Originally posted by RPMMAX

JP "MAD DAN MILLER" would say you guys were lucky to get on Pilchuck just as it was peaking at 2750!!
I would like to know how the big wave thats next to
a rock on river right that extends 15ft above the
water. As I recall that wave hits like a ton of bricks.

RPMMAX


Not when you're portaging, Bill! That's what we did! That's the "Pil Pusher". It deserves a good name. It probably would have been ok but it was easier to portage than to scout. Maybe without the snow I'd climb up on the rick for a peak. Or scout from the left.

Yeah, Bill, thanks for the beta, BTW If I was smart I woulda picked your brain more.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 6:51pm
Anyway, this re affirms what I've concluded about Pilchuck creek in the past:

It is a great run with lots of water in it if one has the skills and experience to react quickly to obstacles on the fly. A very under-estimated run.

Run it low for. Class III/IV experience with a waterfall, and then, for those looking for more action, just add water!
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 4:06pm
who cares? I care.

I could care less if you choose to portage but sometimes it does matter to me. Occasionally I get done with a run where I portaged "that one drop" that I know I could have styled and I feel like I cheated myself. Sometimes I don't care other times I do. One time I ran the upper gorge in my squirt boat and portaged a bunch of drops besides feeling disappointed in myself, I could not feel my feet, legs or bottom area. I ended up never doing it again.... get my drift?
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 4:59pm
Amen, Brian. Ego is a tough thing for all of us to shed.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 6:26pm
Ok, for all those in favor of reading the substance that remains on topic for this thread, just read the Bold Print. Its about higher Pilchuck flows. You want some downtime in the Bullsh*t Sinkspot where these recent posts are takin the discussion, read the whole thing... Ok now back to our regularly programmed BS...

(In answer to Slick n Bret):
...which is why I don't bother trying (to shed my ego). fu*k it. I'm aMERICAN!! I was born, raised, and culturally conditioned to have a huge ego. Just like the rest of you. The only difference is I'm honest about it and don't try to hide behind some phony ideal of "not having an ego". Remember that for most people, the ego is largely the voice in us that says "I can do this". You can't run whitewater without some sort of ego wired into your brain, unless you are a jedi master or shaolin monk or something uncanny. Most of us aren't. No, don't say "Rob", Bret. I know he's your hero an all but He's got an ego too.

Look, Slick- I don't really feel like re reading the nuance what I posted to defend it or whatever. I think you may be making too much of whatever I said. No, you don't need to quote it and pick it apart. I sure as hell ain't interested. (In this case. You know we see eye to eye regarding many things whitewater related)

I don't have a problem at all with my decisions, except: portaging the falls was as lame as I should have known it would be. It was a huge pain in the ass and took way too long, lowering boats with rope and sliding down the Stilliguamish Grease (I swear the Greater Stilly Drainage has its own distinct brand of muddy sediment on these kind of days).

Anyway, most people know I tend to have a humorous outlook on all this silly sh*t we do in the name of "fun". I just wish I could get on Pilchuck more than once or twice a year. Get to know that thing and it would be a highwater destination. But really I accomplished what I wanted to, which was to find the highwater mark for myself for that run. I mean, it wasn't scary so much as it was past its prime flow (IMO).

Here's what I mean: it's a class IV -IV+ run at 4.85'. And its fun because of that. It is high enough, fast enough, phat enough, to be a rippin good flow. The boulders are still out of the water to shred moves between and around, and the pourovers at that flow make nice boofs.
   But at 5.2', it was way higher, faster, and yeah- nervy. Because you run right up on wood and big monster pourovers a bit too quick. It's not that its starting to "wash out", but what used to be features to charge toward and interact with are now features to avoid. And the run is weighted more towards class V at 5.2', but not "Sweet class V" like Robe or Ici. More like mediocre class V that can fu*k you up if you fu*k up. All the risk with less reward.


Now, I'm just giving it a review like a music fan might review a new album by a band they like. Like a whitewater conosiuer. fu*k spelling. Don't got time. And I ain't French. And I don't make coffee w/ no hoity toity French Press, niether. I'm aMERICAN!! Anyway, I'd go back for the Pilchuck 5.2' experience, but I think the 4.85' experience better suits the run and what I go there to get out of it. Carefree class IV+ boogie woogie.

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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 6:34pm
Sorry, Slick- I just slipped into grouchy mode for a bit. Power's been out at work, and the main workhorse at work up n quit. Leavin us in a big 'ol "racetrack of sh*t. And now we're racing around and around like sh*t jockeys, getting all sh*tty, Randy" (that's TPB reference, BTW.).

"I NEED A DRINK, BARB!"
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 12:30pm
Got rain coming in this week and area rivers are projected to spike Friday... Could be a Pilchuck kind of weekend.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 4:08pm
Sweet. Go get your Chuckwagon on. I don't know bout what you think, but sounds like the name of a rapid to me.

The big ledge up high is named:
PIL Pusher.

Anyway, hope you north end boaters get on that. I probably won't make it north of Robe.
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  Quote thorpetodd Replybullet Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 10:17pm
can't make it this weekend, but would be interested in running mid-week if flows stay up
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  Quote flowtorch Replybullet Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 10:33am
Holler at me for midweek pilfering.
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 7:25pm
Keeping eyes on the gauge for a possible Saturday run. Should be spiking tonight and into tomorrow... Friday might be prime for you weekday boaters.

Hoping it comes up and stays in long enough for a Saturday run.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 7:43pm
Dude, you know I'd be all over it if I didn't have so much on my plate.
You know I'm down with the Chuck Wagon.

Those PPeeps who wanna creek and are in that fuzzy III/IV space or even in the Solid IV space should rally this if its in.

And, beleive it: if you are in a hardshell, have a solid roll, and want to progress, more water is always better (to a point. Look at my notes on the Pilchuck Page. Upper and Middle are combined so read em both.)
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  Quote doggievacation Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 6:50am
1200 cfs and rising as of Friday morning.  Most of the rain is probably done falling, so we'll see how high she climbs today before peaking.  When it falls, it falls fast.

PM me if there's a trip on for today.  I'm about an hour north in B'ham.  Can call me too at 360-202-4120.

Thanks,
John
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 7:47am
It's now 2200 and rising. Seems the storm was more robust than the predictions indicated. Lots of rivers spiking big today.
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  Quote doggievacation Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 7:57am
Anybody got any new wood beta for the Pilchuck?  (Other than JP's 2/23 river alert.)  We had some big wind storms up north in March with LOTS of blowdown.  Kyle talked to Ryan Bayes (up in BC) last week and I guess Chili Canyon has so much wood in it right now, he's not even going to run it until we get some high flows to clean it out a bit.  Kyle and I ran the Sauk last week, and while the river was amazingly clean, the road had blow down all over it.  Mile after mile of blow down.
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  Quote GHannam Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 10:04am

I haven't been on Pilchuck for more than a year, so my preference would be to run it below 2000cfs. I expect it'll spike up this weekend with snow melt, but keep me posted if you decide to run it on the downside of the spike

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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 20 Apr 2012 at 10:16am
It's spiking right now and should be dropping later today and through the weekend. Just hoping it doesn't drop too fast, which it likes to do.


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