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!

1 comment:

Daniel Menten said...

I agree its not as bad as rumored, portaging the entrance gorge below rainbow falls is the beta ticket to make the trip better. Pretty much my new favorite Sierra run too. Sick paddling Nick, hope to see ya again next year!