Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mayhem Part I

All Hail Cron! The rains have returned!

May has proven to be one of the wettest months that the SE has seen in at least half a decade. The action started off with a skunking at Pocket Creek into a mission on a lesser run "jewel" known as Stone Coal Bank Creek. There was plenty of water, but only a short stretch of three point five uber-gnarly burlefesters. We chose to probe the first of said three and opted for the high line round the other two due to instantious decapitation consequences.

Here is Captain Kirk looking for the bottom

Caleb in flight

The next morning we returned to the greater Chattanooga area with Pocket Creek in mind once again, but The Bear was 16" and rising, so we decided to take the bird in hand. Putting on The Bear whilst it rains at 16" can be a Hair raising experience. The water finally caught up with us around Revelations, just in time for the hardest part of the run. You know it was scary when the cameras stay dry. Charge.

The next day it was back to Rock City for some more LLTrust action. We had an enormous group, but thanks to our previous days warm up, our ninja skills were already on the razor's edge.

Will Chargit Pruett

Howard Tidwell, West Prong Legend, forgot his lifejacket

If you're into evil you're a friend of mine

Cloudland Canyon has an incredible tractor beam on it at times. After a day off it was back to the Bear for a solid 15 incher. For reference I will send you to Paul's headcam footy posted previously...

Stairway sans paddler

Back to Chatty. Next day. Time for some bday margignar on downtown Signal Mtn. I've been thinking about this one since I heard tale of Ralphy's last decent. We got in there at around 1 foot, and it was not enough water. The kayaking in there is fringe. There are some really good drops and some really scary ones. Bring your nutsack. It needs a little cleaning and 4 -5 more inches of water before I go back. Trip highlight was definetly my subterranean swim out of 9mm. No one fired up Superman.
Rainbow Falls could be oh so good

Kirk and Caleb above Sierra

Caleb in the ultra tech seal line at Sierra Slide

Clay and his crew member

These drops would be awesome with more water

The week was rounded out by what my have been the "second successful descent" of the Trail Fork of Big Creek. Tony and Kirk put a good bit a of work into this one, and I'll be damned if they didn't finally find something worth a damn. Those who dare will be rewarded greatly by 500 ft/mile for two miles, if you can catch it. Stupid fun, but watch for wood.

Part I of the opening set "Ernesto"

Mikey's sickass mystery sequence

Penalty Box, low light, bad pocket hole

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Link Up

Paul put together this headcam footage of some of the drops in Bear Creek:

Below Neil gives Zoltan a run for his money:

Photos: Ted Hayes
Rescue: Paul

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Survival Mode

The first weekend of survival mode started with Jerry's Baddle a combination kayak and bike race in the Green River gorge. Its always fun to paddle the Green and see the NC folks.

I was pretty slow in the kayak but for being in a short boat where most everyone that places well uses a long boat I felt ok with my time. I got the second fastest bike time.
Cory Hall made up a ton of time on the river and passed me in the flats after the standard takeout. I caught him toward the end of the bike ride and we were able to work together through the false flats and headwinds on the last portion of the course. Cory took second place. Javid beat my total time by 4 seconds. Everyone that raced the "Greenman" from Chattanooga took finishes in the top 10.
View the results here: RESULTS

The following week we got a little more rain and got some runs in on Suck Creek with good water. I tried to do a little bike training when I wasn't working or boating to get ready for PMBAR This year was my second year doing the event. We try to stay laid back and not blow our wad early in the race. Alex and I seemed to pick a route that almost no one else was doing, which was fine with us but I believe we put in more miles than we needed to.

Our route was something like this:
blk mtn> Buckhorn Gap> 476 > FS 5018 > Horse Cove Gap> Cantrell Cr > S Mills> Bradley Cr> FS 5015 (to Yellow Gap) > FS1206 > FS 5000> FS1206> Laurel Mt > Pilot Rock > FS 1206> HWY 276> FS 5041> 475 B> FS 225> 475 B> 5041> 276> FS 477> 5058> 5022> Black Mtn> Finish

It took us around 13hrs. We rode around 80 miles in Pisgah and completed all the check points. We finished late and stayed the night in Brevard at Nate E's house.

After waking up and having a huge breakfast at The Barrel I made my way back to Chattanooga where I headed straight to Bear Creek. The Bear was at 24" so we ate some more food, hiked around Cloudland Canyon and generally wasted time until it dropped down to about 20-20.5" and put on late in the day. I was exhausted from the Pisgah race and almost opted out but couldn't pass up on the opportunity to paddle The Bear. I knew that I didn't have the energy to handle a major beat down but that at 20+" the chance that there would be some action was high. We headed down stream and we ran Surrealistic Pillow for the first time in a couple of years. At Fishbowl I headed for the left line and didn't quite get left of a small piece of flow so I missed the boof and augered in deep. I resurfaced on a back ender that moved me toward the center of the hole. From there I had a few window shades and back enders and decided to pull while I still had a little energy. I swam for the surface but couldn't get there, I went for about 2 recircs before I came up and was able to swim over to the ledge on the left. Bryce got my boat on river right and my paddle floated right over to me. I got my shit back together quick and we blazed into Knocking on Heavens Door> Stairway to Heaven> Cosmic Trigger> Big Bang

I needed a rest day on Monday but went back to the Bear after work and caught it still running at a low but fun 8". I met Clay W. over there and we paddled with Jeff W and Dave L. who were doing their 7th lap. Tuesday Suck Creek held all day long at around 4.8-4.6' so I headed over there after work. . Rain again on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning brought The Bear back up to 15". Again I headed over after work and had a great day, catching it around 14" which was just what I needed to get my head right about that run after my swim over the weekend. I plan on doing some resting tonight and it looks like more rain on the horizon but what I should really be doing is working on my house...