Class V (V+), 128fpm, ~350cfs (900cfs Cowlitz at Packwood)
March 1, 2003
Ben, Travis, Leo
Besides being the best run yet at a great flow, there are a few things to take note of. First, you must hike ~1 mile on both ends to get to the put-in and take-out. Second, it was cold. Third, we ran everything. Fourth, my paddle got pinned in the upper portion of Elbow Room so I was forced to hand paddle the Class V+ rapid that is normally portaged. There's a lot more to it but I'll let the photos do the talking.
Leo running the first difficult rapid that is normally portaged. My line was to the left of the triangular rock but I was able to avoid the ugly left slot by pancaking and going deep in the right slot.
Myself in the entrance to Elbow Room. I endered and flipped whereupon my paddle got pinned between the smallest submerged rock and the larger rock to its right. I let go and hand rolled above the most difficult portion of this V+ rapid. Faced with an improbable ferry to the left and a deadly hole/sieve on the right, I wedged myself in boulders above the table rock to gather my thoughts and settle my nerves. Leo was able to get me his paddle from downstream but my only option was to run the right chute and risk getting stuck and stuffed in the hole/sieve. I stalled there for many minutes while Leo called on his inner ape. He somehow managed to leap from the table rock to a shallow ledge against the right cliff where he helped feed me down, a safe distance from the hole/sieve. I climbed back the difficult portage route and found my paddle right where I had left it. It's hard knowing how close I came to dying but I'm certain that my chances of survival were greatly improved by staying in my boat. Those who've seen this drop know. I dread knowing how close I came to pulling.
Leo battles his way through the hole above the 15-foot waterfall. Once out, you must make a somewhat difficult ferry to the narrow left falls. At higher flows it's easier to follow the shallow current down the center.
Travis running the 15-foot waterfall. Need I say more?