Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Middle Fork of the King's River

The Kings was the most symbolic run of my summer as it was the first river I ever paddled in Cali and it marked the last mission of the infamous High Sierra runs. At multiple points in my summer I had questioned my want to continue as the rigors of continuous paddling and hiking wore on my body and mind not to mention the ridiculous amount of dirt bagging that came with the journey. Never the less, I had made it and it felt so good! The Kings is not only the really hard run at the end of the season but it's the BEST! It is more grandiose, longer, more continuous, and more demanding than all the rest. As Tommy Hilleke said in 7 Rivers, " The culmination of all our training has come down to this one point". He was talking about the King's dog!

Myself along with Mike Peacher, Barny Young, Charles King, and Will Pruett made the 12.6 mile hike which accompanies 7,000 feet of elevation change. The hike is one of the hardest of all whitewater expeditions however the accompanying scenery is priceless and motivates the hike the entire way. We quickly lost Charles to a broken boat and he decided it best to turn around and hike out, as we had only covered a mile or so. Man i felt bad as Charles had just hiked off Post Pile, I couldn't believe he was getting screwed again.

With Charles hiking out we pushed on. Now with 4 of us the mission was at hand. Feeling far from anywhere the group began to lay down great lines while intermingling with another group on the river consisting of Taylor Calvin and friends- once again! We camped at Pallisade, Simpson Meadow, and Tehipite. I think these three are the best camping and their well marked on maps. We did a day in between each and this is a reasonable but quick pace.

This years Kings expedition was really great because we were fired up, ticking off a bunch of the big guys and making our way down river with good poise and style. Highlights of the trip for me were running the Big Bad Beaver and the whole group making it through the Bottom 9 (Hardest section on the whole river) in only 4 hours, as well as taking in the scenery as much as possible. After running the Beaver I was so stoked on the rapid and all the other big rapids I had run throughout the season. This moment represented me achieving my biggest goals in kayaking- so stoked! Paddling out of the King's and seeing the takeout rang proud as I had just put together the most epic season I could have ever dreamed of. I felt like I had grown so much through the last few months of paddling and felt elated at what I had achieved.

It was really awesome to do this trip with such a good crew of kids that I had been paddling so much with. We were fired up and chargin hard. Much love to all of the wonderful people I was blessed to spend the summer with- You all feel like family and I can't wait to paddle Cali for the rest of my able life!
King's is the One!

Nick Murphy startin the 12.6 mile hike in (p. Will Pruett)
Michael Peacher in the Grandiose (p. Nick Murphy)
Taylor Calvin in the top (p. Barny Young)
Will Pruett on the Money Drop (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett amongst the top 9 (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett droppin in (p. Nick Murphy)
Snow Bridge was awesome! (p. Barny Young)
Only one way out! (p. Barny Young)
Will Pruett on the big slide (p. Barny Young)
Nick Murphy on the big slide (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett on the big slide (p. Nick Murphy)
Nick Murphy @ end of Waterfall Gorge (p. Nick Murphy)
Will Pruett @ end of Waterfall Gorge (p. Barny Young)
Life Style atop the Big Bad Beaver (p. Barny Young)
Myself getting ready to run the Big Bad Beaver. This was a heavy choice, as this is the biggest rapid on the run and is seemingly farther out in the wilderness than any other big rapid in Cali. I had allready run plenty of rapids, I didn't need to run anymore, I didn't have to prove myself to anyone. But what I ended up doing was firen it up and sticken the line. Glad I went for it!!! (p. Barny Young)
Nick Murphy with a lot more Beaver togo! (p. Nick Murphy)
Nick Murphy blowin through the crux- compression hole on the Beaver (p. Barny Young)
Blowin through the crux (p. Nick Murphy)
Post Crux cruisin on the Beaver (p. Will Pruett)
Tehipite Lifestyle (p. Nick Murphy)
Tehipite is a must for camping! (p. Nick Murphy)
Tehipite Dome- So Majestic! (p. Nick Murphy)
This was another reward we received on our drive out! What an amazing summer- We did it! (p. Nick Murphy)

---Enjoy this video Will Pruett put together from the trip---

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Devils Post Pile section of The Middle Fork of The San Joanquin

The Post Pile has always been explained to me as the run you go to do only after you have completed all the other classic Cali runs. The river holds a reputation as one of the hardest, scariest, and most remote runs in California and with this in mind Barny Young, Charles King, and myself set forth into the unknown. The river is shrouded in more mystique as the group has to put on in a popular park in Mammoth and sneaking onto the river is a must, as not to be confronted by rangers. It didn't take our group long to find trouble as King wound up pinned in a sieve early on day 1. He was able to get out rather easily but the boat was a whole other story. After setting up multiple Z-drags and tugging on the boat for over two hours we concluded the sieve had won and King needed to start hiking in order to make it out of the park berfore sunset. Yeah, the river ate his boat. As for Barny and Myself we had some major river running to do between the two of us. The already daunting task of navigating one of the hardest rivers in the country had just been kicked up a notch. We didn't make it very far after the incident with King's boat and set up camp knowing our friends Taylor Calvin and crew had put on berfore us and made considerable more ground than we had. Our thought's rested on waking up early and catching the crew by the end of the day in order to not have tackle the infamous Crucible Gorge with only two strong and neither having ever paddled it before.
We woke up bright and early to find ourselves sunrise firing through some of the hardest whitewater of the whole season. The Boofamtic Gorge offered Barny and I some rediculous blind charge as we made no portages and took full advantage of the fact that we had been paddling strong together for months. We were firen hard and making time down river that only a good group of two can. Needless to say we caught Taylor and friends by noon and ended up paddling 13 miles by the end of the day where we camped underneath the Balloon Dome signifying entrance to the Crucible Gorge. The Boofamatic Gorge had sheer granite walls rising thousands of feet and no signs of portaging.

Our group combined set up camp near the top of the Crucible Gorge with an excellent view of Balloon Dome. The next day we charged the Crucible with relative ease to find there is alot more and harder whitewater after the gorge. The rest of the run offered stunning scenery and hard whitewater all the way to the lake. We were really stoked to to catch a ride on a ski boat on the lake paddle, saving us 7 miles of hard flat water. Upon reaching the take out Charles King (yes he made it!!!) and Jordy Searle arrived simultaneously with food and beer ready to go straight to the Middle Kings take out to drop a car for our next mission. The trip was amazing and unlike anything else I have ever paddled, a true gem worth doing.

Quote of the trip: Go with what you know!!! (got us through the crucible)

Myself at the Put In- Rainbow Falls (p. Barny Young)
Myself on the first rapid (p. Barny Young)
Barny Young - The Blessing (p. Nick Murphy)
Barny Young stylin (p. Nick Murphy)
Lots of Me (p. Barny Young - seq. Nick Murphy)
Going to sleep knowing it was just Barny and I out there for the mission! (p. Barny Young)
Nick Murphy - All Lit Up (p. Barny Young)
Barny Young on the classic slide (p. Nick Murphy)
Portage (p. Barny Young)
Balloon Dome Camp (p. Nick Murphy)
Barny Young down amongst the walls (p. Nick Murphy)
The Crucible Gorge (p. Nick Murphy)
Dan - Lead in to Crucible (p. Nick Murphy)
Myself in The Crucible (p.Nick Murphy)
Shannon above Broken Arrow Falls (p. Nick Murphy)
Myself Chargen into the crux section of The Crucible (p. Nick Murphy)
Daan Jimmink on the exit rapid of the Crucible (p. Barny Young)
Nick Murphy happy to be through the Crucible (p. Barny Young)
Beautiful (p. Barny Young)
Lifestyle for lunch at the confluence with the South Fork of the San Joanquin (p. Nick Murphy)
Barny Young boofin away (p. Nick Murphy)

The Post Pile is definitely worth doing in my opinion. Not as much work as rumored and ended up being one of the best river trips I have ever experienced. We were in there at considerable high flow and everything was still fine!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Upper Cherry

On the Upper Cherry trip I learned many lessons and lost a friend. Allen Satcher passed away on day 3 of our trip. He will forever be missed and I find him in my thoughts constantly. Allen provided me with a lesson that safety is always forefront and that the river does both give and take. Allen was a beautiful person and in the short time I knew him I could tell we connected on our fundamental beliefs and views of the way a life should be lived. He passed away in one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I expect that his spirit will only strengthen the aura of this mystic space. Rest in peace Allen, you will be missed and remembered!

Allen Satcher 1983-2011

Allen doin what he loved!

Commemorative Sticker for Allen

Allen amongst a perfect summer evening in the Sierra's

--Upper Cherry Creek--

Cherry Lake @ sunset (p. Nick Murphy)

Upper Cherry Creek is one of the most sought after multi day runs in all of kayaking. The scenery and quality of kayaking here are incredible and a must do for the experience and well the experience. Absolutely beautiful and with a 11 mile hike in, it's gonna make you work for it. With that being said make sure you are ready and up to the task of traveling through this gorge as it is a technical and dangerous river. Enjoy the photos!!!

Put In (p. Nick Murphy)

West Coast Gorilla- Fired it blind! (p. Nick Murphy)

Myself on Cherry Bomb Falls (p. Jay Lynn)

Cherry Bomb POV (p. Nick Murphy)

Allen Spearing on Cherry Bomb Falls (p. Nick Murphy)

Tea Cups (p. Nick Murphy)

Allen Satcher on the Tea Cups (p. Nick Murphy)

Tea Cups (p. Nick Murphy)

Tea Cups (p. Nick Murphy)

Allen Spearing on Perfect 20 (p. Nick Murphy)

Seth Swallen on Double Pot Hole (p. Nick Murphy)

Life Style (p.Nick Murphy)

Louis Geltman- Waterfall Alley (p. Nick Murphy)

Jay Gifford- Waterfall Alley (p. Nick Murphy)

Lane Jacobs- Kiwi in a Pocket (p. Nick Murphy)

Todd Wells seal launches Dead Bear (p. Nick Murphy)

Upper Cherry landscape- the West Cherry drainage is coming in just around the ridge line on the right (p. Nick Murphy)

Stay safe out there and enjoy rivers!