The ultimate California kayaking expedition

Darin McQuoid and I crossed the proverbial finish line at Garnet Dyke Campground Friday evening capping off our nearly 6 week California Epic with the Middle Kings. Along with other West Coast Jackson Kayak expedition kayakers Devin Knight, Ryan Knight, Chris Korbulic, and Eric Seymour; and other noteworthy paddlers including Canadian phenom Corey Boux; Cali Veteran Taylor Robertson; Colorado Icons Gary Edgeworth and Forest Noble; Chris Gabrielli; extreme innertube guy Rolf Kelly; and Tim Kelton; Darin and I set a new Sierra precedent completing 12 of California's toughest runs in 39 days including 2 first Descents. After descending Fantasy Falls, West Cherry, Dinky Creek, South Fork Tuolumne, Grand Canyon Tuolumne, Poopenaut Valley of the Tuolumne, (first Descent) NF of the San Joaquin, Upper Cherry Creek, (first descent) Fish Creek, Middle Fork San Joaquin, and the Middle Kings through Kings Canyon we were exhausted to say the least.

All told the trip involved (per person):

1. 28 days of kayaking, 8 days shuttling vehicles, and 3 days of rest and feeding.
2. 73 miles of Hiking with expedition weight (70-80+)lb kayaks, climbing around 12,600 vertical feet.
3. 155 miles of class V - V+ kayaking Descending around 28,000 feet of vertical drop.
4. 20 nights spent out of our Hero and Super Hero.
5. $500 in Gas expenses and probably a few hundred more in brakes and wheel bearing work to Darin's 88' Nisan truck.
6. $200 to $300 in food of mostly overnight stalk. One of us likes generic and the other buys the organic brands so that's where the price differential comes in...

This expedition has obviously been more than a quarter century in the making as there is a plethora of information available on most of these expeditions from from the Pioneers like Lars Holbeck, Chuck Stanley, Don Banducci, Rick Fernald, Royal Robbins, Doug Tompkins, Newsome Holmes, Reg Lake, and Kenny Gould to the Driftwood and 7 rivers crews, but would not be complete without mentioning Jared Noceti and his crew for there South T first D and Rick Smith and Kevin Smith (not related) for their NFSJ recon.

With that said this trip would not have happened without ultra-motivated Darin McQuoid. Darin is now one of the, if not the, best and most able class V whitewater photographer in the business. He also saved us countless dollars while significantly reducing our carbon footprint by running many of the most daunting shuttles in California on his 1972 Yamaha dirt bike that gets 70 - 80 miles to the gallon. More importantly he provided the crucial beta that saved our asses on the hight water crucible run.

In addition to the 12 runs that I completed with Darin, he spent the 4 days before I arrived with the Knight Brothers on a high water Dinky Creek mission, a quick East Kaweah half day, and a late night speed run down the Disney Land like slides of South Silver. With just 3 or 4 years of class V expeditions under this guys belt, I can't wait to see what the future brings. Make sure to checkout jscreekin.blogspot.com and kayakphoto.com to see Darin's impressive body of work.

Also crucial to the success of our descents was the gear that Darin and I use. Jackson Kayak creek boats are the safest, most able, and most functional on the market. Werner paddles are the most durable and time tested paddle in the Universe. Kokatat PFDs and water wear are the choice of river professionals and the United States Coast Guard. Snap Dragon spray skirts were undefeated on this trip through high water descents and falls up to 75 feet tall. FNA helmets are the strongest, stiffest, and most durable helmet on the market. There is no better way to stay hydrated than with NUUN Hydration tablets. Annie's Mac and Cheese with Smoked Oysters is a river delicacy second to none.

Stay tuned to Jacksonkayak.com for photos and video from the the most recent contribution to the ultimate California itinerary The 8Th River Expedition.

Swelbows on the Edge

Swelbows on the Edge
Gary Edgeworth after 5 days on the Middle Kings. Eric Seymour Photo

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

June 24th Upper North Fork San Joaquin



After the Lower North Fork Descent, there was no way in hell that I was going to go anywhere without completing the entire North Fork Run and finishing what we had started. Unfortunately Chris K and Chris G were obligated to meet up with friends on upper cherry the following day and were forced to bail on the would be second descent. However Darin McQuoid and I resisted the temptation to bail on the unknown upper Canyon of the North Fork for the known Ultra-Classic Upper Cherry run, and we were so glad that we did. Not only was Upper Cherry at a perfect flow the day after we finished the upper run, but the Upper Canyon in addition to our descent of the lower section cracked by top five list for California.



Beta
Hike In: Hemlock Crossing Trail (10 miles, 2000 feet up, and 2000 feet down into Bench Canyon
Hike Out: Sheep's Crossing Trail (3 miles and 1800 vertical feet up)
Put In: Hemlock Crossing (7900 feet)
Take Out: Sheep Crossing ( 6200 feet)
Run Length: 6 miles
Avg Gradient: 283 feet per mile
Shuttle Length: 5 minutes one-way
Put-In Flow: 100 cfs
Take-Out Flow: 300 cfs
Portages: 6 (log choked ledge, Boulder Chalk, hanging valley falls*, beefy notch rapid, landslide*, and power plunged).
Special Note: First descent of Porpoise like a Dolphin falls by Rick Smith with a second descent by Darin McQuoid.
*Still Unrun


video

1 comment:

Peter Mantu said...

Wow, what a great blog. Why have you stopped posting on it though, I am puzzled. You were doing such a great job here. All About Kayaking

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10 year extreme whitewater kayaking verteran. First descents of Rivers and creeks in 12 countries. Leo.