Fraser River - Raft Run (Gr. 3)
Written by Spencer Cox Thursday, 08 February 2007 20:34
Logan Surfing at Gold Pan.
Rearguard falls at medium flows.
|To get there: Put in at Robson Shadows Campground (about 5 km west of the Robson information centre, watch for signs that say whitewater rafting, it’s a left turn if coming from Jasper). Before you go down to the river, talk to the people at the cafe, and make sure its OK, find out where to park. Jody and Terry Cinnamon are very nice guys, and have always been friendly to paddlers, so keep us all on good terms. |
The River / Flow: From below the Cinnamon's the river is flat for about 2 km. This takes about 15 minutes to float through depending on level. Just before getting on the water there is a gauge on some PVC pipe, just downstream of the launch. Flows of below 10 are low for this run. 15 is pretty fun, fairly average. When things get up into the mid 20's it’s really good, big waves. Rafts pull off at 30 generally because that's when it’s considered in flood. This highest I've ran it is 34, which was spectacular, with absolutely huge waves.
The Fun: The first rapid is a short right turn. It is class 2, with some waves. There are a few other minor rapids. The next thing to note, is a long class 2 straight, that pushed into a rock wall on river right. As long as beginners stay inside (left) on this rapid, there is nothing to worry about.
From below here, you go across a bit of a gravel flat. Things narrow lower down and rapids build. They get up to class 3, the largest being in the narrows, right above Gold Pan Alley (which is one of the only large midstream shoals). Goldpan leads into Brothers Rock, which is the most difficult rapid on the run, grade 3, with a large hole in the centre of the channel. There are lots of big wave. The river turns right, around and over Varnette ledges, which are class 3 at some flows. Generally the right side of this is the better place to be, at lower flows especially to avoid rocks/shallow ledges. At high water, anywhere works, watch out for surgy waves. After Varnette ledges, the river turns left, and calms to class 1-2. This long straight leads to rearguard falls, which is portaged on the right (a big obvious path leads away from the river).
If for some reason you miss this eddy, the current above rearguard is fairly slow, so there is another eddy you can hit by ferrying to the left. If anyone is swimming it’s best to recover them at all costs before the falls (although it has been swam). This shouldn't be an issue, as the last rapid is Varnette Ledges, about 500m-1km above the falls. Even self rescue would be relatively easy before the falls, at worst losing a boat. (The falls are a sharp right corner after the long straight).
Rearguard can be portaged on the right, or run on various lines, the easiest, is center-left towards left down the right-left sloping chute. Get out and scout for wood as it appears all the time.
Below the falls, there are some large waves in the lower canyon. This continues for about 500m, then things get to class 1-2 tell the takeout, with occasional 2+ waves, and holes thrown in. Throughout the run, there are various play holes and waves, but none real park and play, mostly on the go stuff. Some of them are pretty darn good at the right level.
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