Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Spillimacheen River, BC - Canada

Raymond Schmidt gets a close-up of the last drop, Spillimacheen River - Canada
Photos thanks to David Faubert. Posted by Picasa

The Spilli is the paddler's answer for a class V fix long after most creeks in Southeastern BC have gone into winter hibernation and are ultimately dry. The upper reaches of the Spillimacheen River begin deep within the Dogtooth Mountain Range, famous for winter backcountry snow greatness. Of course once the snow turns into liquid form, it creates abundant water levels throughout the summer. Most of the steep goods lie within the final 2.5km gorge just before the Spilli's final run out into the Columbia River basin. In such a vast BC watershed it is no surprise that a hydroelectric plant was also created in this high gradient section of the run. Fortunately it is the amount of water being diverted that makes late autumn water levels perfect for running possibly all several drops within.

Nice geology and some tight lines as well. Posted by Picasa

It used to be hard enough just to piece together a group of boaters in Calgary looking to run the shit only a few weeks before winter officially arrived. Yet my phone found a way to make it happen. An early Sunday morning drive found Spencer, David, Ray and I heading over the continental divide into a significantly warmer Columbia Valley. Thankfully creeking was still on the agenda mid October in the Rocky Mountains.

Once you are over the dam spillway and into the canyon, you quickly realize how fortunate you are to be able enter this committing stretch with just the right amount of water. The rapids begin to come quickly in succession and on the second drop you face a tight line putting you onto a slide that ends in a funny hole. Out of this drop begins some great boulder gardens with plenty of lines to lose yourself in.

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The next significant stage of the Spilli is when the boulder garden narrows and finishes in a nice ramp drop. This drop requires making a tight line just above the rapid between two big boulders that may have pin potential. Beyond this you enter the heart of the gorge with two drops aptly named the "pink" and "stink". Most of our crew decided to only run the top drop and probably made a wise decision as I personally found out how stinky paddling into an L shaped drop with a viscous hole and no hull speed could be.

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Good safety was a good thing dropping the Stink.

Upon getting around the stink, all that is left in your way is a beauty 15 foot waterfall to seal the deal and send you floating down to the take-out bridge.

Spencer Cox goes right line off the falls. Posted by Picasa

The Spillimacheen River is located about 50km south of Golden BC or 35km north of the town of Radium on route 95. Take a left onto Westside road once you reach the settlement of Spillimacheen and then continue 2km until a right turn onto the Spillimacheen Forest Service Road. From here the take-out is your first bridge crossing and the put in is another 3km upstream on the left at the reservoir.

Vis Spillimacheen River (V) i et større kart