Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ohanapecosh River, WA (7.28-29.12)

The time of year had come once again, a summer weekend of boating, camping, and socializing at the Ohanapecosh River (aka: The Ohane). Like many trips I take during the year, this one has been somewhat of a tradition, with the only real change being what weekend it would fall on (based on water levels). This time it happened to be the last weekend in July, where once again we would be treated to good water levels (~1,500cfs on the Cowlitz at Packwood Gauge) and fantastic weather.

The gauge reading (28th - 29th)

Since I’ve already done a trip report for the Ohane (here), I won’t turn this one into a wordy trip report (what?!). Instead I’ll keep it to a brief summary and share some photos I took of our time there.

Unfortunately (and a little shocking),  I couldn’t find anyone willing or able to head up with me from Eugene, so I left on Friday afternoon for a solo driving mission (~5hrs one-way). When I reached Secret Campground (around 8pm), some of the crew had already claimed our typical spot and were relaxing around the fire. There were also some others from the group that were just finishing a lap on the water, and returned shortly after I had setup my sleeping quarters. That night, we drank and were merry before heading off to bed to rest up for the next day.

Night #1

Morning came quickly, and I crawled from my bunk and made coffee and breakfast to fuel up for the day’s events. Everyone was moving pretty slowly, so we didn’t actually put on the water until noon. I had forgotten just how fun this run can be, with great twisty drops between the big ledges. I did have a swim at Elbow Room, in the run out to the left slot, which had me pretty pissed off – other than that, the run went great. Here are some pics from the first day/lap:

Joe Bushyhead drops a fun ~8' ledge near the start of the run

Jeff, same ledge

Scott 'Fish' Waidelich

Stephen Cameron -- different angle, same ledge

Nate Merrill

Chris Menges -- Yet another view of the same ledge

John Edwards (no, not the dirtbag politician...)

Nate digs in at the left (dude) line of Ohane Falls

Stephen sets up for a good landing

Chris Menges digs in on the center line of Ohane Falls

Chris Arnold, with style

Dan Rubado goes for the monster boof

Chris in the midst of "Petrified"

Motion blur at Petrified

After a bit of a break at camp, we decided to get in another quick lap. Once on the river we moved pretty quickly, and I jumped out ahead so I wouldn’t slow down our progress too much, as I had planned to portage at two places – The first tier of Triple Drop as well as the entirety of Elbow Room. As anyone can tell you, both these portages are a bitch, and I was pretty spent by the time I had completed the second. Also, I almost got worked in Summit Creek Falls when I blew the entrance line and landed parallel to the hole; luckily I was able to roll up and dig myself out, avoiding what would have been a pretty unpleasant swim and probably a throwbag. By the time we had reached the take-out, my forearms had cramped up from being dehydrated – like a dummy I forgot to bring my water bottle…

That evening more folks showed up and we once again celebrated around the fire telling stories and making more than a few lewd jokes. One by one the group got smaller until there were only a few of us still keeping the fire going. Eventually darkness fell over camp as we tucked in for another night.

Happy Hour

Wind down on the second night

As with the previous day we didn’t get on the water until noon. It was another great day on the river with an equally good crew and weather. We all had good lines with only one bit of carnage at a nasty horseshoe shaped ledge just below Elbow Room. Here are some pictures from Sundays run:

Nate Merrill lines up for the second half of Elbow Room

Chris Menges drops the entrance boof to Elbow Room

Stephen finishes up the top move

Dan Rubado keeps it high & dry

The crew watches Brooks Foster run the money line at Ohane Falls

Dan Dellwo drops into Petrified

Chris Arnold blasts through the first hole of Petrified

Amazing canyon scenery on the Ohane

Chris Menges opts for the hero line at Petrified

John hams it up for the camera

Chris, ready to assist

Brooks in the middle of Petrified

The crew exits the crux section
I really wish the Ohane ran more often during good weather, but I guess that’s one of the reasons I love it so much, you always leave wanting more. This is certainly a PNW classic and I’m sure I’ll be coming here for the summer gathering for many years to come. Thanks to everyone for making it out!

Here is some video for last year, at about the same level:

POV - Ohanapecosh from Nate Pfeifer on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up Nate! Looked like a fun weekend!