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Upper Klamath and Scott River Weekend.

Posted Aug 07 2009 12:07pm
4 events in 17 days.

North Fork American Race, Canyon Creek Race, Fundraiser/Season Kickoff Party, Upper Klamath Race.
(+ 3 midweek flatwater trainings.)

ORT coordinated the UK event and of course our fundraiser, drove like hell to get to the other, and hucked like lemmings at CC. This all took a lot of organization, teamwork, effective communication, and dare I say a little love.
Brother it was all worth it.

It took many phone calls and emails beginning four months ago to get the permit approved through the BLM for the first ever Upper Klamath Race. When we glanced at the forecast and saw that it would be snowing on this special weekend, the boys didn’t miss a beat, just another time to dig a little deeper and finish out the push.

Character may be defined as : The complex mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation. The development and maintenance of character especially as it relates to resiliency and community is what outlines the soul of ORT, and as you will find yet another example below, this also inlcudes the soul of our region’s boating community.

Bart Baldwin of Noah’s Rafting in Ashland Oregon is an old friend of mine. Steve, Justin (Ringworm), Andy, and the rest of the Noah’s crew kept us warm all weekend by allowing event participants to sleep in their heated warehouse as the snow fell outside. On the river many well trained and experienced guides were staged throughout the runs. Noah’s also provided transportation to both the Upper Klamath and Scott Rivers as did Rich and Barbara of Rogue Klamath River Adventures Bryan from Next Adventure of Portland provided a free shuttle vehicle and personally drove down a crew of kayakers after work on Friday.

Saturday morning we loaded up around 40 rafters, 8 kayakers, 1 cat-boater and headed up Greensprings Highway, literally a wagon trail of a road to the UK put in. At the Spring Island launch site we were greeted with the churning brown water the UK is famous/notorious for at a generous 2,800cfs. After a non-eventful 4 mile paddle in to the canyon the crew was rewarded with a horizon line that marks the beginning of Caldera (IV/V) and 6 continuous miles of the “juice”. I can still remember the first time I scouted Caldera 14 years ago and immediately thought what the hell am I doing here? Huge holes and pourovers have to be negotiated at the very top and you can’t really see the bottom of this long rapid.

I’ll take the first group!
50 solid paddlers glanced back at me with that “I gotta pee you go first” look.
So off we went, had a good run, and peeled into the bottom eddy to set safety and shoot some video. Eventually everyone made it safely to the bottom with big smiles and white knuckles, this was going to be a good day.

Hell’s Corner was the next major test, not really scoutable, boaters rely on auditory processing (remembering verbal directions), and follow the leader river running strategies as even if you can read water well, there are a few hidden surprises in this long rapid which at this level includes; 4 entrance ledges, a pushy ferry to the opposite side of the river, 2 huge boat stopping curlers, a ledge behind those, some boney/grabby features, another hard left to miss the meat of the “Dragon”, which feeds you right into another boat stopping 7 foot curler.
YEE HAW. The whole durn party made it through HC cleanly! After 4 more miles of big but straightforward class III-IV excitement we met the bus and the vans at the State Line TO. The vehicles had somehow managed to cut a bunch of time off the long shuttle to greet us in a timely manner.

To summarize what happened next:
The kids went to a lasagna dinner-
Tired, I went to a friends house to crash and left the keg unsupervised at the warehouse-
The next morning when I returned, the keg was nearly empty and it was reported that;
- a bon fire had somehow encouraged bystanders to frolic about it’s flames.
- amateur cage fighting had taken place.
- a variety of angles can be utilized in the consumption of beer.
This was all evidenced by;
- an empty keg.
- a black eye.
- difficulty in locating some members of, and waking up the crew…
- and, there was now snow on the pass and we couldn’t get the buses up to the UK...

So let’s run the Scott instead, read and run race, and, it never rains in California!

Thus, we dusted the snow off the boats and rolled the debaucherous crew into the nearest vehicle and rambled south down I-5 to the Scott River which was running at a technical but fun 800cfs. We set the course; the start would be in the big eddy at the first bridge below Canyon Creek Rapid (how ironic) The 3.7 mile run would conclude about .5 mile below Tompkins Creek Rapid. This would give us about (7) Class IV-IV+ drops and a potpourri of features in the II-III range.

It was also sunny outside.

We had a “boaters who would be paddling fast” meeting, the safety boats staged, and the kayakers, in no shape to race, stumbled down ahead to take pictures and puke.
7 full raft crews ripped off the line to bang there way down the Scott. Following a full contact battle with a determined and rather verbose Bigfoot team, the ORT Red team was finally able to pull ahead and reach the take out first. Luckily, a few bystanders were able to record the times which went as follows:
ORT Red : 29 minutes, 10 seconds.
Bigfoot : 29:52
Caliwomen : 31:04 (1st place women)
Noah’s : 32:15
ORT Grey : 33:33
Twinkies : 40:19 (2nd place women)

Zach Collier (ECHO River trips, event sponsor) : 31:48 Nate (Who also made the NFA Race) : 34:33

All physically accounted for.

All participants then enjoyed chili, refreshments, and we handed out shwag and really cool awards provided by:
Whitewater Designs
Cascade Outfitters
Next Adventure
Viso Energy Drinks
Andy and Bax

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Cal Salmon in 2 weeks!

Please join us as we strengthen the character and spirit of ourselves, our teams and our river communities one event at a time!

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