Callahagn is the Whistler classic, an irresistible creek that the group ran many times during our trip. The highlight is the 2nd falls which is just about as perfect as it gets for hucking. The first falls has a tricky approach which can lead to close encounters with a log that is lodged on the lip. There is alot of class IV boulder garden action that is just quality whitewater. Our first run took ~3 hours but by the end of the trip we had it down to ~45 minutes. To compare it to anything in the East would not be fair, but as Leland said, it could be compared to the Watauga with alot of juice (+700 cfs). Check out the photos in the slide show below. There are 20 photos in this slideshow, click on thumbnails to see individual photos, click on the arrows to the sides of the thumbnails to scroll left or right. If the scroll arrow to the right of the thumbnails does not respond, try reloading the page. First and last pictures in the series are indicated in the caption. Photo captions are below.
Here are some more pics from another run on Callahagn at a lower level. Thanks to Shaun for his photos. There are 7 photos in this slideshow.
1: This is the lead in to the first falls, the approach is a little tricky and can push paddlers to the right and on, over or under the log.
The Cheak is in Claudia Schwab's guidebook though that doesn't mean its a cakewalk. It starts fast and throws some quick jabs right away. It is pushy class III-IV and the rapids are stacked on top of each other. Our first run took about 2 hours. Later runs were as fast as 14 minutes. The run is 2.5 miles and ends at the dayuse area that doubles as a campground for boaters. The slideshow is of a run at 2.75 meters, a fairly beefy level. There are 7 photos in this slideshow. If the scroll arrow to the right of the thumbnails does not respond, try reloading the page.
The Soo is just on the other side of Whistler from the Cheakamus and Callahagn, about 15 minutes from the campsite. It had a Gauley-esque feel, in particular Insignificant Rapid but with a higher density of holes and pourovers. So imagine Insignificant for 2-3 miles with some pools and lots of holes thrown in. I don't know what the level was, I would say this run could tolerate a wide range of levels. However if it was much higher than the level we had, which felt like a good medium level, things could get epic. Thanks to Dave from Seattle for the lead. We put in at a power station which is above a class V-VI gorge. Some of the guys ran the gorge except for the first few drops. They put-in below a monster hole in the gorge and ran the rest of the drops fine. Check out the slideshow below, there are 16 pics.
Another, though lesser-known, Whistler classic, the lower Green drops about 800 feet in five miles, making it a much longer day than some of the other runs in the area. There are lots of IV-V rapids though not really BC class V. A striking characteristic of the river is that many of the rapids consist of a plurality of drops in quick succession. Intense fun but watch out because there is one hard class V that we portaged and 4 wood portages. The class V was marked by a cliff on river left and a large boulder jumble on the right where we scouted and portaged. What we did not like was that the first drop was total chaos and led into a massive hole or an ugly sieve/pin spot, depending on your trajectory. Immediately below was another long multi-drop rapid that was fun. There were 3 wood portages that were obvious and a final portage in an easier section of river where the river narrowed up and plunged into some strainers. This last portage could sneak up on you so , as is always the case in BC, maintain vigilance. We took out above the confluence with the Soo, where we had to scurry across a motocross park. The coordinates for the put-in are N50.18042 W122.87317 and the take-out are N50.25401 W122.8592.Check out the slideshow below, there are 17 pics.
1st pic: The first drop is right around the bend from the PI, looked menacing but just a fluffy hole.
One day we meandered over to 21 mile creek, a local park and huck. There are three large waterfalls, the 2nd of which is sketchy. You have to hike in to the falls and then scrape down the creek afterwards. Daniel and Shaun ran it. Daniel had a horrible run after flipping on the 2nd drop and running the 3rd drop partly righted. He pitoned hard and swam. He was pissed but shrugged it off. Shaun made an incredible move on the 2nd drop, landing upright and cleaning the third drop. Below are the few pics we managed. There are 4 pics in the slideshow below.
A few days before, a gang of Brits had run the Birkenhead and said it was a white knuckle terror as it was still high. So we waited for the water to drop, and with some trepidation, headed that way. There is no guage that we knew of but the water level at the PI looked manageable. The run starts with playful class II-III for the first couple of miles. The gradient then starts to increase and distinct rapids form up. The initial drops were not unlike those on the Green, long, manageable multi-drops. After that the rapids escalated in intensity and complexity. Towards the end the rapids were much bigger or harder than that of the lower Green and certainly a big step above Callahagns. We ran most of the rapids and then started to portage ~200 yards of some big stuff. After a short stretch of boogie, we were at the takeout. Had we known we were so close, we might had taken more time to scout and run more but that will have to wait until next time.
To summarize the Birk, an outstanding run, we had no regrets. We would like to get a handle on the guage as we felt like it was still on the high side of being gripped. Also it would be prudent to get an earlier start as there is alot of scouting. I did not get many pics as my camera battery died (after shooting 200 pics of the inside of my truck). Thanks to Shaun for his pics. There are five pics in the slideshow of the Birkenhead below.
If there are any pictures that you would like a higher resolution of (~1 Mb), let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ó 2001 Alex Harvey