Spillimacheen River (Gr. 4+)
Written by Spencer Cox Thursday, 08 February 2007 20:52
|The Scene: An Absolute BC Classic! Not much is known about this run, but this website will change that. Stay away at all but the lowest levels. I'm pretty sure in the summer and spring it would be a nightmare... |
Flow Information: There is no gage, and actually guessing the flow in the canyon is difficult, because the flow you see at the takeout, already has the diverted water back in, and the flow you see at the put in, is just the weir. So flow actually depends on how much is coming over the weir, and how much is moving through the plant and coming out immediately. When we were there, the river left side of the weir looked like a dangerous hole, so we all went right. The water was fairly low. However, at higher water, sometimes less is actually coming over the weir. Basically pick a time in mid-late September, or even early October and you should be fine. Take a look downstream from the weir, and if it looks like a small-medium volume creek, you should be fine. If it looks like a torrent, or a high volume run stay away. This river records as high as 250cms, so the summer is no time to be in the canyon.
Spencer running the right side of the dam.
Jeff Gosnell in the second drop.
|To Get There: It is located near a small town called Spillimacheen on highway 95 between Golden and Radium. From Spillimacheen there is paved road which heads across the Columbia and up the right side of the valley (if you were driving from Golden). In about 1km the road makes a right bend, turns to dirt, then crosses a bridge over the Spillimacheen River. Look upstream and you will see the Penstock, and Power station. This bridge is your takeout. To put in, continue up the road for 1-2km. A less well maintained road leaves to the left, your first left, and takes you down to the diversion weir. This is your put-in. Take a look at the weir by scrambling over a fence up against the cliff on the left onto the power station or whatever it is. Chances are either the left or the right should be runnable, and if its not, you might be there to high.|
Paul Muegge in the third drop.
Are Mossefinn Sandvik: The entrance to the last canyon.
|The Rapids - Below the weir, the river continues as class 2-3 tell you see a bit of a horizon line. Scout this on the left. Its basically a 10 foot ramp on river right, with a more convoluted line to the left (a serious of chutes). Immediately below this drop, eddy out on the right, and scout the next falls. This is one of the more technically difficult drops on this creek. It involved boofing up over a rock onto a slide, then into the foam. There was a dangerous looking slot on the far right (although apparently a line at higher flows). The left side wasn't a good option. I would call this Class 5-5+. To portage, do so on the right, by scrambling around the drop, and seal launching about 10 feet back into the river off some sloping bedrock.|
Spencer entering the fifth drop.
Paul Harwood finished off drop number six.
|Below here, there were some easy class 2-3 boulder gardens. A vertical and very purple, quartzite cliff on the left, and a steeper boulder garden with large car sized boulders marks the next section. The first part of this drop is remarkably easy for such large boulders. It flattens briefly, and steepens again into the second part. You will see a bit of a horizon line before the last two drops, which we managed to scout fine from river right. These horizon lines, mark a pinny 3-4 foot entrance drop, followed by a nice 2m ledge with a bit of a hole (which could easily be avoided by boofing into the eddy on river left). This drop marked the entrance to the final canyon section. The next drop is a sequence of 3 ledges. The first is about <1 m, the second 1.5 metre, and the last the most complex, being 2-3m with a rock outcrop half way down. I went centre and boofed the outcrop. Paul went river left.|
Jeff Gosnell ditches his paddle on the seventh.
Another shot of the third.
There is a fairly calm pool below here, but it isn't really that calm, and would not be at a little higher water. There are spots to get out on the left. Immediately after the pool, the river turns left, and heads for about 6m (not vert) before falling off a 3-4m drop to the right. Its a neat line, where you stay left as long as possible, before dropping. Punching a hole on the lead in complicates things slightly. I elected not to run this one, but others in our group did. After a calm pool there are several eddies on the right, to scout the final horizon line. This is a pretty clean 20 foot fall into a deep pool. It seems to be cleanest coming from left to right. The left side has a bit more of a hole, and the boil pushes into the rock wall. Below here, there are a few more class 3-4 boulder gardens, and shortly after it eases to the bridge.
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