Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Skookumchuck Creek, BC - Canada

Michelle Basso punches shot in the heart. Skookumchuck Creek, BC - Canada Posted by Picasa

Although Skookumchuck is the name most commonly referred with the playboating wave/tide formation on the BC coast, a fine creek with the same name also exsists on the opposite side of the province in the East Kootenay's. Skookumchuck creek flows steady during the months of May and June and provides endless technical class IV creeking in a relativley safe wilderness setting. This often makes Skook creek the place to go early season for those wanting to test their creeking skills before dropping into the harder runs in and around the area.

photo by David FaubertPosted by Picasa

It had been many years since I had returned to paddle Skookumchuck Creek, but with interior BC rivers coming up much earlier than our local creeks in Alberta, making the 3.5 hr drive certainly became worth it over a few weekends last May.

Few rapids on this run distinguish themselves as significantly harder than others. After 3km of flat water from the put-in, the river narrows and the gradient increases enough to make things more exciting but still very manageable. Look for two technical class IV boulder filled rapids in this section before things ease off again.

Mild but technical boulder gardens for 20km..... Posted by Picasa

Just beyond the second smooth weeping water rock face on river right, look for a few interesting drops which may or may not contain wood. Nearing the end of the run is "Shot in the Heart", a name given in Stuart Smith's guidebook. At most flows this rapid deserves a scout on river left, but essentially it is a boof through a narrow river-wide ledge hole. Setting safety is also very easy here.

photo by David FaubertPosted by Picasa

The best news about Skook Creek nowadays is the old but newly discovered shuttle road that goes partly up and over Lookout Mountain instead of around it. Thanks to some local boaters from Kimberley, this route cuts more than 20km off the rough and very long 40km Torrent/Skook forest sevice road. A link for the new shuttle directions is provided here.

Scott Feindel enjoys an easy new shuttle through classic BC clearcut. Posted by Picasa

View Skookumchuck Cr (III-IV+) in a larger map