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July 26, 2010


Class IV-V rapids on the Middle Fork of American River

Posted by poxod-www

"Evgeniy Sklyanskiy"

On July 17-18 me and my friend Alex decided to take a quest of Class IV-V rapids on the Middle Fork of American River (northeast of Auburn, CA). It was a bit of adventure, starting with one broken fiberglass paddle right after the 1st rapid, then a more less successful run through Class V (it took us a while to reach a traditional statement: "Let...'s just do it man"). The run of was pretty clean (as seen from the video a pretty deep pull). I should add the gold miners have accidently created this rapid in 19th century by blasting the gorge which diverted the whole river. Being much focused we made through every single class IV rapid in 2 days. Only towards the end when I thought the difficulty is behind, we hit a big rock at moderate flow which momentarily bended kayak, resulting in a broken aluminum shaft which supported the structure. This is where we practiced our rope technique in the middle of the rushing water. By tying the rope to a tree, we were able to lower the kayak in a eddy behind the bolder. Alex quickly jumped in the kayak which was severely inclined where the rear part was still resting on the rock. Then it was up to me to grab the paddle, while holding the rope in left hand and simultaneously squeezing in the kayaking, release the rope and straighten it in the rushing current meters away from the 1.5 m water slide. The recovery operation was successful. 5 miles before the exit already broken aluminum pole with sharp edges penetrated the bottom of the kayak on a minor rapid. Well, we patched it in the "commandos" style right in the middle of the river on a shallow gravel bar. It was enough to let us paddle additional 5 miles until the takeout point. Overall the river is beautiful; it cuts through a deep canyon with no road excess for 16 miles by making it a gorgeous secluded place.

Evgeniy and Alex