Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Life in the Gorge

Life for a whitewater paddler here in the Columbia River Gorge is pretty impressive year round, but the Winter always dishes out our favorite flows. So far both the Little White and White Salmon have provided us with many quality days above 4 ft., and many surrounding creeks have finally filled in with enough water for us to navigate. A couple weekends back a crew of my friends from Montana showed up to throw down. Griff Griffith, Sam Freihofer, and Erik Johnson kept up with my brother and me during numerous laps on the Little White and Truss, then at the end of their stay we decided to check out Summit Creek. Summit Creek is one of the lowest volume creeks that I have ever paddled, but still has a solid collection of class V slides as well as two unique 50+ ft. drops. This particular mission turned into an epic when Griff landed flat off the first 50 footer and broke his back on impact. At the bottom of that 50 footer our mission quickly went from paddling both the first and second canyon to safely getting Griff to a hospital a.s.a.p. Griff was okay to walk so while Johnson ran up to find the car, Brendan, Sam, and I helped escort him to the top of a steep scree field. Fortunately we were able to get out of the canyon before dark, and Griff to the hospital shortly after.

CRG Paddling Winter 2011 from Wells Brother Productions on Vimeo.

15 year old up-and-comer Ethan McLeod at the lip of Bridal Veil Falls

Brendan charging Bridal Veil

All in all it was a tough situation, but we managed to get through it safely and at the end of the day we all came back having learned a thing or two. 

Photos by: Paul Thomson

1 comment:

Costa Rica kayaking said...

Wow that was a tough drop!