Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Summer, 2006 Summary

A lot has happened on the island since my last post in April. Unfortunately I missed the vast majority of this paddling season because of work commitments in Labrador. Some of the whitewater highlights on the island this summer include the following trips:
  • Dave MacDonald and Darren McDonald led a single day descent of Sandy Harbour River. This was a third descent of the river, but only the first time that every rapid was run. Dave passed along that the trip took over 10 hours and that setting shuttles the previous day was critical to completing a one day descent of the run. The gauge for Pipers Hole River was at .9 m on the day of the descent and this apparently should be considered an minimum level for Sandy Harbour River.
  • Local crews tackled Petty Harbour River, which is located south of St. John's. This is a classic steep creek run that ranks among the most difficult rivers on the island. It can be broadly divided into two sections: a Class V-V+ section from the dam to where the diversion pipe crosses the river and class II-IV from the pipe to the ocean. The general character of the river is defined by long, steep boulder gardens. Narrow slots, high pin potential, and abundant sieves raise the consequences and careful scouting is mandatory for these rapids. The entire section is easy to scout from the river right shore prior to dropping into the meat.
  • On the west coast of the island a small crew tackled White's River, the upper section of Lomond River, and Bakers Brook over the long weekend in May. These three classics are located within a couple of hours of Cornerbrook along the Viking Trail into Gros Morne National Park. The rivers are grade IV to V and include abundant class IV and V rapids that consist of boulder gardens, ledges and large waterfalls. This is a great long weekend trip if you're looking to raise your adrenaline levels. I'll post more details about all three rivers over the next month or so. But an important development is a gauge for the Whites River. Kev and I put-on the river when 9 boards were exposed on the river right bridge footing. We figured this was a good level for the two canyons. The Whites can be run as low as 9.5 boards and anything higher than 8 boards significantly increases the difficulty of the canyons.

Whites River Gauge. River right bridge footing.

  • The Northwest River flowed at reasonable levels for most of August and several trips were made in the warm summer sun. Of note this summer is that people began regularly running the river centre falls on the 2nd Golf Course Rapid. This 5 m waterfall has a somewhat manky and hard to scout lead-in. Dave and Darren tell me that once you're lined up on the final ramp that it is a really fun drop.

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