Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Clore Canyon, BC - Canada

Bryce Shaw heading up the quality control in the Clore Canyon, BC - Canada

The Grand Canyon of the Clore remains a fascinating series of topographical lines on the explorer's map. It has repeatedly sparked the interests of paddlers within and beyond the local northern BC paddling community.

Chris Robberts and Scott Feindel.

Local adventure boaters Shane Spencer and Natou Kurtz have led many of Northwest BC's creek discoveries for nearly a decade, all the while the Clore being one of their hometown specials. Access to the canyon however, despite being just upstream of the normal 'flintstone' section, was one of those special places requiring the use of jet fuel.

Getting the green light in the morning mist.

In the late summer of 2007, Corey Boux and Shane Spencer among others, had the luck of a courtesy drop by a heli being used to shuttle workers around in the area. Not only did the helicopter open doors to a 1st D, it dropped them right above 'goods central' and eliminated the more probable float plane route via Bernie Lake, which includes 25 kilometers of scenic class II.

A year later word on the street was the Clore Grand Canyon was certainly a sweet place. Most notably was 'yes' it could have taken more flow, but unfortunately 'no' the heli guys were not doing anymore drops to kayakers on someone else's wallet.

Kavu day heading into the Howson Range

This autumn the stage was set for another local attempt by Natou, Roger Fehr and Pat Colgan. All 3 were more than happy to land on floats in Bernie Lake, cruise the upstream scenery and paddle stern heavy with beer and steaks for an extra day or two. They would soon welcome partially unexpected additions by myself, Scott Feindel and the KWest boys fresh off their Dean adventure. Instantly our flight load tripled in size as we met on an early September morning in Smithers BC.

Roger Fehr making sure the 12 pack is handy before pushing off - Day 1.

Out of the lake and into the previously unrun stretch of the Bernie River, the current took us faster than expected and provided our group 2 full scenic afternoons of eating and drinking away our excessively deluxe camping cargo before entering the looming gates of the Clore Canyon.

White man camp at Bernie/Clore confluence - Day 2.

With more flow than the 1st descent, day 3 started loud and heavy as the Clore's towering walls closed around us in a spectacle of class IV and V boulder fields. Once committed to the gorge proper, over 10 kilometers of classic BC canyon stand between you and the exit.

Chris Robberts charging away on day 3

The first rapid at the canyon entrance is an easy river left scout and could be considered your determining gauge to the difficulty of the run from this point on. If the rapid is nothing more than a ledge boof into the runout, the rest of the canyon will provide.

On point.

If the rapid requires a challenging left to right through pushy class IV then the canyon is prime and by no means a booze cruise anymore.

Sean Allen first to agree with the perfect flow.

It's safe to say that if the entry rapid to the Clore Canyon appears to be showing fangs of concern, you will be in uncharted waters if you continue around the corner.

David Faubert emerging from the sweet long corner rapid.

The Clore Canyon is another example of premier adventure boating in the remote BC wilderness. Flights with Alpine Lakes Air will put a 7-seat Turbo Otter into Bernie Lake headwaters within 25 minutes. In finding the takeout drive far up the Clore FSR as far as you can or ask someone in town. Thanks to the Terrace paddling community who live life far from the maddening crowds and continue to explore the wide open spaces of Northwestern Britsh Columbia.

Canadian Pilsner wrap-up at the take-out with the hosts.

View Clore Canyon (V) in a larger map