Monday, April 20, 2009

High Splitty Weekend

 Justin Japs - Split Rock River - Under the Log rapid

The Duluth and the North Shore of Lake Superior rivers were cluttered full of paddlers this past weekend. Most rivers ran high throughout the weekend from the Split Rock south. A large contingent of Midwest paddlers and a few out of region paddlers of arrived to enjoy the spring run off. It was an interesting weekend to say the least from reports. There were many exciting new runs and waterfall drops for a some paddlers, however, there were numerous swims, injuries and broken boats as well. It almost seemed like the drastic change in weather brought a drastic change in luck.

On Friday, groups hit the Split Rock and wicked high levels, Lester at high flows, Amity at lower flows, and the French and Silver at high flows. It was beautiful and 70 degrees. There were many reports from the Silver and French that wood is present on many of the rapids. Some deemed not runnable.

The Friday Split Rock crew of Joel Decker, John McConville, Andy McMurray, John Kiffmeyer, Nate Heydt, and John Holton had lots of action. They recorded the highest water level descent in kayaks. The level was a few inches over the Mordor level gauge, which is painted on the walking bridge pylon. There were two swims resulting in two completely trashed kayaks. No one was seriously injured. Only a cut thumb needing some stitches. Midwest Mountaineering's Peter Noren shipped two new boats to those paddlers the next day. Way to go MM.

On Saturday, groups hit the Split Rock at high flows, the Lester at medium flows, and the French and Silver at medium flows. Weather was cloudy and mid 40's.

The Saturday Split Rock crew consisting of Ryan Zimny, John McConville, Chris Baer and Justin Japs had a successful decent with water levels a foot lower than Friday's insanity. It was still in the uber high category. One incident occurred resulting in a bruised shoulder from "Under the Log" rapid.

Justin  - Split Rock River - Winfrey's Rapid

By Sunday the weather turned for the nasty. By noon, snow was already accumulating around Beaver Bay northward with temps in the 30's. Groups put on the Knife at low flows, the Lester at low flows, and the east fork of the Beaver at high flows.

3rd drop on the East Beaver

Reports from the beaver were pretty epic. Chad Kehn, Melissa Grover, Justin, Joerg Steinbach, Nate Heydt, Burgess Norrgard, John McConville, Mike Manger, Mike Jorgenson, and Jeremiah Andresen all put on the east fork in a snow storm. Many first time runs for people. The water level was very high. The typical 1/2 mile class III boogy water was now pushy Class IV boogy water with many holes leading into the three perfect 12-20 foot waterfalls. The high flows gave a few paddlers a hard time. One paddler dislocated his shoulder. A few paddlers did the big three and had gigantic aired out boofs off the middle 20 foot drop. Was quite a sight to see.

Joerg - East Beaver - 1st drop

Reports from the Lester were really good. Even some first time runs down "Almost Always" for Burgess Norrgard and Chris Baer!

Justin  - 1st drop - East Beaver