Professor Paddle: Upper Mashel
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fiddleyak
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  Quote fiddleyak Replybullet Topic: Upper Mashel
    Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 8:43am
AMcEwan and I ran the Upper Mashel a couple weeks ago. At 900 cfs the run is Class IV-IV+. It's continuous but not too pushy. All of the drops were filled in but the holes were maneagable. The run was surprisingly high quality, with many fun sections and very little mank. It reminded me of Pilchuck Creek with more canyon sections.
Wood was not too bad although there were some tight eddies above some of the rapids.
Much of the river is within a privately-managed timber
reserve, but the hike into Busy Wild Creek was not nearly as bad as expected and you can park on public land. Takeout is at a bridge.
John Whaley is the only person I've met who has done the run, in the 80s!

This river is worth getting on, I'd be stoked to hear of more crews
taking advantage of it. JP, this is in your backyard, you would like
it.

Here's a video I spliced together of my footage. It includes all of
the harder drops, in order.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP4Zg9JnoX8&feature=youtu.be

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zP4Zg9JnoX8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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dave
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  Quote dave Replybullet Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 9:23am
John Almquist used to run that run back in the day. All the roads used to be open back then. I have run the section below the upper a few times and it was always a fun little class III section, but hard to get on because you need fresh rain fall to bring it up and always wood here and there to be wary of.
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Jed Hawkes
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  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 10:10am
Always wanted to do this run, cool to see someone else get on it.
The line will become apparent
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  Quote tiziak Replybullet Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 3:54pm
Sweet!
If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

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BRoss
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  Quote BRoss Replybullet Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 6:35pm
that looks like a great find. so, you think 800 on the mashell gauge is a minimum for the run?
"That boated a lot better than it looked." "It always does until it doesn't."
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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 6:54pm
Yeah its been on the list, I just didn't prioritize it because there's so many "tried and true" quality runs around, and I'm getting tired of some of the lackluster Washington Skunks I've discovered. I don't know how many more I really need to see.

But, Jed- we need to get Mr. Shelby and assemble a "J" team power trio. The forcast spike keeps shrinking everytime it is revised this week, but I'd do it this weekend if it was in.
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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 14 Mar 2012 at 6:56pm
sh*t, its,in right now!
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  Quote septimus prime Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 6:52am
Yeah, I am in for this weekend.

 The TO is an 1 and 10 minutes from the house. It would be nice to find the south sound Pilchuck as I have a hard time getting that far north anymore for the flash flood goodies.

Just have to be back for my Chris Isaak show on Sunday night in Shelton.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 7:00am
Make it SAT and you can add another J to the J team. I can go anytime sat but sunday I am booked up. Plus the TO is only 1 hour and 8 minutes from my house.
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  Quote septimus prime Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 8:06am
Lets do it Saturday! Jp? Hawkes? Anyone?
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  Quote fiddleyak Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 8:30am
The run should be tolerable down to 500-600 but personally I think it's worth waiting for 800-1000.

I brought along a handheld-topo-GPS. It turned out to be essential to finding the putin. You want to start hiking from the end of Busy Wild Road.

I wrote some mileage when we were leaving, no guarantee on accuracy;

(miles are total mileage from Alder Cutoff)
From Alder Cutoff Rd
L 7. Stay on 706
11.3 miles L 92 RD before Ashford
11.8 pavement ends
12.7 pass gate on L
14 pass gate on R
14.4 L
14.5 R (from here stay on main road don't take any spurs)
16.4 pass road on R
19 end at clearing at top of hill.

Hike down opposite side of clearing down to river. Be careful not to hike off west side of ridge into Beaver Creek. At some point we met up with a road and followed that left, downriver for a bit. Then we took a right which dead-ended and we bushwacked down to BW Creek not far above the confluence with the Mashel.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 9:47am
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 9:57am
Next just for discussion sake. And this question is for Ben or anyone that has been on these roads recently.

Here is the route to the putin as Ben has described. (correct me if I am wrong ben)
Google Map Route of Bens directions off the National Park Hwy

And now here is another map of what would seem to be a more direct route with closer access to the Mashel. The question for ben would be did you try this route, or do you know if it would or would not work?
Google Map Route from Eatonville via Alder Cut off road
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  Quote fiddleyak Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 10:03am
I believe the road off Alder Cutoff you have routed is gated. Can't remember for sure though.
There very well could be an easier was to get to putin. The area did not seem to be nearly as regulated as the Puyallup/Snoqualmie zones. Basically, we weren't trying to spend all day finding the best putin so we went in the way that looked like it crossed the least private property.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 10:19am
I think I found the gate on the Bing maps that would pose the problem.

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Jed Hawkes
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  Quote Jed Hawkes Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 11:28am
yeah buddy
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 12:36pm
Sweet. Have to monitor flows (looks a bit high at the moment), but I'm down for saturday. Gotta say though I probably shouldn't be conducting this discussion openly online. The reason being, four people is enough for this run.

After that anyone else interested needs to organize their own trip. It just gets too crowded on runs like that with too many people, and I'd rather enjoy the run with the people I make plans with rather than be crowded.

But yeah: Jon, Jed, and James I am down for saturday.
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 15 Mar 2012 at 6:41pm
I'm down for a debacle.
"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 dave Replybullet Posted: 16 Mar 2012 at 2:22pm
I have 5 people that are going to join your group...what am I going to tell them now???
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 16 Mar 2012 at 2:45pm
Just let them know to meet us at the take out around 3-4 in the afternoon. Beers would be nice but they are more than welcome to bring other snacks to, I am sure JP will be hungry.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 16 Mar 2012 at 10:31pm
Hey, as long as their names all start with a "J". Sorry Bret, we all know your name ain't Jackson. Jeremy can come though.

Ha! Just kiddin around. Or, as the colloquialism goes: "half joking" - I love boating with everyone (yes, even you, Dave)
--just not at the same time. Its lookin like it'll be too high now, and or have too much snow to hike through.

Prolly just end up on the Green. It is St. Patty's on the morrow, me lads and lasses, and what better run for a Leprechaun such as me self. Who knows...
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 18 Mar 2012 at 6:39pm
Originally posted by water wacko

I'm down for a debacle.


This wouldn't have been the trip for that. No Debacles today on the Upper Mash. Stellar crew.

Ben, thanks for the tip- worth the effort gettin in there, and worth the 3 or 4 woody portages.
Andrew- thanks for writing up a river page for this run. Very sucinct. Although it may get fleshed out a teensy bit

Though I gotta say: this run took all day. Very rewarding though. Maybe 10 to a dozen notable, defined rapids with some powerful if simple drops, a few of which could offer beat downs if a boat got off line. Now, Jed couldn't make it .

But we did fill the slot for our fourth boat. Jon, James and I also had to loosen our criteria for another "J". But we're glad because our fourth boat contained a T and a K. So I guess they got the first Raft Decent of the Upper Mashel. Who knows? Time will tell. Maybe the last raft decent unless they go back fast. We all agreed we likely could, but that's highly contingent on additional wood. So those chompin to go explore it best get after it while the gettin is good.

Now that's about it from me. The last thing PPeeps want is more of the world according to jP. I'm gonna hang back and let the other members of today's crew spew about the splenders we found in there. More views can better paint a picture of this surprisingly nice semi-local exploratory GEM of a run...

Edited by jP - 18 Mar 2012 at 8:02pm
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  Quote fiddleyak Replybullet Posted: 18 Mar 2012 at 7:44pm
Nice work!
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 18 Mar 2012 at 7:52pm
Thanks, Ben! We were stoked to have the opptimistic outlook that we'd find some quality in there.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 18 Mar 2012 at 8:51pm
Thanks Ben  & Andrew 4 Sho.

Had it not been for the enticing footy I probably would not have invested (what I consider rare) time into the trip. I am glad I did. I will enjoy helping flesh out the river description.

But to recap it here.
The putin hike was well.... a slog much a kin to a big brother version of the upper sultan. I grabbed a nice handful of devils club which might be why it stands out in my mind. None the less worth of the effort, I would say this blows the upper sultan out of the water in terms of boating quality.

I am really surprised that this has not been boated more. The drops are quality, not overly complex but encompass the characteristics one desires in more difficult whitewater. Boofs, Clean Angles, Some Holes and an plethora of fun little eddies and moves to fill the day.

Highlight: Watching an R2 crew maneuver an inflated raft through some wicked tight forest down a steep ass hill. And finish it off with portages that make rafting seem simple on tight creeks.

Low point: Finding Mud Balls thrown on my windshield. At first I thought Maybe Brad had found my van back in the woods and since I did not show up for the st. pattys day jog he threw mud all over my van, but as luck would have it I think some locals tossed a few mud balls my way to let us know that no trip is complete without a little effort up front and in the tail end.

Over all, Very glad I got out there, I doubt that run will maintain it's relative wood free status long.


Edited by James - 18 Mar 2012 at 8:52pm
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