4/22/10


Dinwoody Creek, 1st descent
All Photos by Brian Fletcher.
AKA: Why Dinwoody Creek is not in the New testament
This story is a couple of years old, but I don’t think the story has ever been told. Figured some may enjoy it.

The Wind River Mountains contains the largest collection of sheer granite walls in the country outside of the Sierra's. It is 50% wilderness and 50% Wind River Indian Reservation. All of the rivers with water and gradient flow off the east side of the mountains, through the reservation. Bull lake creek had been discovered on the reservation the year before. It was declared an instant classic and worth every step of a 12 mile hike. The brochure I was fed basically said “A slice of California clean granite waterfalls and slides in Wyoming”.

Well the next summer I get a call from Willie, “Dinwoody mish is happening”, “E-Ro has it dialed”. “Cool, I’m in” and next thing I know I’m testing out my backpack system in the living room. My system is pretty marginal and Brad sees me struggling and offers up his brand new system. “I’ll take good care of it” I say, even though we both silently acknowledge that the thing is never gonna be the same.
Dinwoody Creek Drains Dinwoody Glacier, which is the largest glacier in the US outside Alaska. The glacier sits on the backside of Gannett Peak, the highest point in Wyoming. It is the bigger brother of Bull lake, it is the largest creek off the east side of the Winds. On google earth there are lots of bare granite rocks and the creek is very white in the pictures. It was bound to be the next classic.

2 AM the morning of departure, we have driven all night and are searching for where Dinwoody crossed the road in the reservation. We keep driving back and forth across Bull Lake, all I remember is hearing “Hey, there is Bull lake again”. We find a pullout on the side of the road and crash. 6:30 AM, we awake and found the other half of the crew has arrived as well. Myself, E-RO, Willie and Fletcher and we quickly divide up the weight, which seems quite heavy. We had already purchased the fishing stamp, the conservation liscense and whatever else the res was selling that may make us seem more legit. Apparently kayaking is illegal in the reservation and E-Ro advised we buy all these licenses and stamps and such so we at least have something to show them if it gets thick.
We hire an old leathery tribal lady to drive us the first 6 or 8 miles on a road that only tribal members can drive. She did’nt really say why only tribal members could drive it, but that was just how it was. It’s not much of a road, more a doubletrack. We climb up and up in the loaded truck. All around us is granite. We see all sorts of big slides and waterfalls on the far off creek, a small tributary of the Dinwoody. We must gain over 1,000 ft in vert. Our story, which we tell the driver, is that we are going to hike up and over the mountains, right at Gannett Peak and kayak down the west side, off the reservation, where it is legal to do so. She is friendly and does’nt hear what we are saying because she is excited about who she is picking up.

She informs us that when she drops us off she will be picking up Matthew Fox from the TV show Lost. Appaprently a big Hollywood star who grew up right there in the town of 500 people on the Wind River reservation. None of us have really heard of him, but she makes it clear he is a big star. As well as a full blood tribal member.

We unload where the road fades out at a stand of aspens. We load the boats and I put the boat on my back. All I can do is laugh at the ridiculous weight. 5 days of supplies packed inside. I don’t know the actual weight but it was damn heavy. Everyone finished up their jury rigging jobs, guidance straps and calf clearances. We got all set, paid the old Indian lady and set off. After about 1/16th of a mile, here comes Matthew fox and friend. Matthew is cool, says hi and passes by. His friend gets more inquisitive. He asks our plan and we repeat the BS story of hiking over Ganett Peak and kayaking on the West side. He does’nt believe us and becomes agitated. The conversation escalates and E-Ro’s BS is’nt working. The guy gets quite angry at the whole scene and then spurts out to us as we walk away, “Go Fuck yourselves!”.


So for the next 5 days we pretty much did just that. 9 hours of hiking was in store that day. A serious elevation gain with serious weight. We powered through for 9 hours of full bore work. It helped that you could’nt stop or the mosquito’s would descend and your legs would be thick with them in seconds. We arrived at the base of the glacier right at sunset. It was one of the more beautiful sights I have seen. Granite Peak piercing the sky and the massive pastel glacier sliding down its side. Right at the base of the glacier Dinwoody Creek spilled forth. We were there right in that spot. At the base of this amazing glacier with large mountain peaks all around and the next classic first descent right at our feet. Spirits were high but we were asleep quickly from the grueling hike.

In the morning we packed up the last items of camp, stowed the coffee maker in the boat and pushed off into the milky glacier water. It was truly a gorgeous day. We rounded the first bend of the river and there was a small horizon line. We boat scouted to the edge and it was a nice low angle granite slide. “Holy Shit” I thought to myself, “we have discovered another classic”.

Put in at the base of Dinwoody Glacier
A few read and run rapids, some quick scouts and an hour or 2 later we come to another horizon line. It’s a 100 foot cascading waterfall into a shallow pool. We begin what looks like a fairly easy portage. Slowly we get deeper and deeper trying to portage and are bashing though the forest. We have now all split up and are bashing solo going for whatever window you see. Occasionally tossing your rope down to your buddy to haul his boat up. 4 hours later we are back at the river. We paddle down a few more rapids and camp.


The nest day is another glorious blue sky day. We paddle through a morning of stiff boulder rapids. Scouting for the next eddy you can see and then powering to make it. Eddy by tenuous eddy we made our way down the fairly complex river, avoiding logs and mank. The rapids are powerful and continuous but manageable.

We eddy hop down to where it is obvious we are getting boxed into a gorge. 2 people want to go one more eddy, 2 want to scout. The 2 hop out for a scout and declare it a massive portage. We climb up out to the rim of the gorge a couple hundred feet up and look down in. 5 back to back 40-60 foot waterfalls crashing into rock. If we had gone one more eddy, it would have required some ascending to get back up.




We rope the boats up and start a lowering series to climb down below this cascade. It takes a couple of stages of lowering , down-climbing and a sketchy seal launch to get to the bottom of the falls and into the gorge. By the time we get down it is getting pretty late in the day. We are on the move though. I was the first one back into the water. From above we could see another horizon line downstream but could not tell what it was. I paddle the 100 yards across the pool and catch an eddy right at the lip of the next horizon line. I look out over it and see just sky and the tops of trees. I hop out of my boat and it is the biggest waterfall yet. It seems well over 200 feet tall. We decide to wait to portage this beast in the morning and find a gorgeous beach at the base of the first waterfall. Around us the gorge is tight and there is just the series of waterfalls in front of us, the 100 yard pool and then the 200 foot waterfall. A truly magical place. Fletcher decides he is going to fish with his Big Gulp cup with fishing string tied around it and a lure on the end. Although fish sounds really good to our starving selves, we all laugh at the thought of there being fish in between 2 massive waterfalls. “You think there’s fish in here?” 1st cast he swears a fish chased it. We laugh, not really believing him. 2nd cast he’s hooked into a lunker. He fights it with the big Gulp cup. Yanking it over his head then spinning the Big Gulp cup to take up line. When he gets it to the shore, it’s a 22” brook trout. The rest of us are so stoked we start straight howling and dancing on the beach. 3rd cast he hooks another 18” trout. We feasted on the fish and freeze dried noodles that night and not a scrap of food was left.









The 200 footer proved surprisingly easy to portage in the morning. It was actually a leisurely stroll on the side of the river as it cascaded down 200 feet. We knew this day we would hit the really big waterfall that was obvious on Google Earth. The day was filled with more almost-runnables. Slides that started clean and then hit rocks, or nice waterfalls that landed on rocks. E-Ro had the big waterfall dialed and we were able to tell when we approached it We had pre-mapped our portage on the aerials so we hopped out and began another 4 hour sufferfest portage, our third 4 hour portage so far. At least this one we were prepared for.







We were thinking the final day may be where it all gets good. The day where it all cleans up. Dinwoody had different ideas. We first came to a series of 5 big drops in a gorge that was super close to being runnable. Just not quite there. So it pained us to portage and was sort of the point we lost hope in Dinwoody. I think on this 5th day our spirits were a little sapped by this fantastic gorge that just did’nt go. We wanted to finish up, call it good and head home. Dinwoody had different ideas. The river started to ease a little. We found a bigger stout drop that we were all able to run. We probably would have portaged it on a normal day but were so sick and tired of walking stuff that we had to fire it up.

The river continued with interspersed read and run rapids and some scouting. We ended up eddying out above a large logjam towards the late afternoon. It was an obvious portage and we hopped out and began walking. We walked and walked, but this log jam went on forever. In some kind of twisted last trick on us it turned into a ½ mile log jam. One half mile of river filled with logs. At the end of the logjam, the river just disappeared. It just went from a log jammed river to nothing. Just dirt, rock and sagebrush. We did’nt even know which way to walk now. I began going one direction and the others went the other way. We laughed to ourselves she’s not gonna stop us. Even if she takes the river away, we are going to keep going and finish this damn river. Willie eventually found where the river came back.







In the middle of a flat valley of sagebrush, the water boiled up in a walled ampitheater 200 feet wide with 30 foot vertical walls all around. The water was a deep emerald and it was very beautiful in the emerald cauldron. We saw a horizon line downstream with a huge tree stuck in it. How the hell a tree got down in there I will never know. There were 500 trees stuck upstream before it went underground. And just this one huge one down here. I walked up and tiredly proclaimed there was an eddy above it on the left. We rappelled one at a time down into the cauldron and explored the cave where the water boiled up. Fletcher paddled down and at the last second realized the river left eddy I spoke of had current through it flowing right into the log and he bailed for the river right eddy where there was no portage. He caught everyone one by one in the eddy. We then had to wade back up the river right to get to where we could paddle across to the left and catch a tiny eddy and then catch each-other one by one. The portage was then clinging to a crumbly cliff face looking down on sure death if you slipped. We felt as if the door HAD hit our ass on the way out. We eventually paddled onto the small lake at the bottom as dusk fell. We hugged in the parking lot at having made it and soaked in the beauty of the place once again. Dinwoody gave me 5 days in an amazing place, a hell of a workout and a good humbling.

4/11/10

five months chile

I found myself at the edge of my seat about to land in Santiago Chile. All I could think about was what the next four months would hold for me. I was planing on staying in pucon, the huck capital in chile, for three months. Then, working in futa a bit, getting some cash to go home with. Little did I know once in Pucon I would share a house with an old friend Jared Seiler and Demshitz, LJ Groth. Probably some of the best roomates to ask for in a huckland such as Pucon. http://www.demshitz.com/demshitz/Home.html I was also surprised in Futaleufu I would be invited to the baker with a group called Rio Libres. This would extend my trip another month and expose me to more the canyons on the Rio Baker. http://rioslibres.com/ This group was making a film giving the Rio Baker a voice, showing the social and ecosystems affected by the river. This journey lead to a two weeks of exploring the source to sea for the baker. Starting at one of the many glaciers in the Northern Ice field that feed it, to the outlet into the pacific ocean. These are just some of the many pics from the trip...I wish I could post them all.





Getting a little too deep in the upper rio Claro. My first ascending out of a canyon.





Lj Groth, wisely choosing handpaddles for his weapon of choice on the Portage drop in the upper Palguin. The picture does not show how tight this drop gets in the beginning 10 ft, before spitting you out on the second 25 ft drop

Hitching a ride on the back of a concrete truck on the way to the baker. Our axel actually cracked in half on the trailer. This guy took our boats, gear, and the trailer too. Ironically This concrete was headed to a different spot slated for damming.

A typical sweet view of Volcan Villarica. This is from the put in of the rio Plata


Local legend Rodrigo Tuschner, hucking demshitz drop on the rio Nevados. An hour and a half before one of he companies ducky trips. This is his pre work warm up.... loving life for sure.

LJ hucking, at the very top, the seconed decent of the Salto Palguin, at least 80 plus feet. He cleened it.

La parrilla de piera, perfecto pora churi pan




view below the 180 degree caricol drop on the Rio Claro. Super tight and tall basalt canyon.


The caricole on the rio Claro


everywere in the south the north of chile.





manditory tight 20 ft on the rio nevados






the fun first slide on the Nevados. Here, E.G is filming T. Bradt slaying it at a perfect level.





Me and my WRSI cating some boof on one of the many perfet fun water falls on the upper Nevados.



The veiw Futaleufu sent me off with the moring I left.

Jared on one of the upper drops on the Rio Blanco upper, first desent.

The welcoming hotsprings at the take out of the rio Blanco. It was a first desent Rodrigo was looking at and shared with us, Jared, Lj, and myself.



jared charging like always on the Rio blanco



E. G. the killa greesing the first falls at Tres Saltos.





Myself dancing with the demshitz drop on the junction of the Lower Nevados.




welcome view to the Rio baker.


rapid 3 on the baker
entery salto on the baker.



scouting the stouting. The Middle palguin falls.
My helmet saved my head from my paddle shaft on my second desent.









Turbio
Turbio
Turbio



always a welcome sign


In surch of costal waves and waterfalls at Palvidad, off the coast of chile near Chaiten.



Chile 2010 DEMSHITZ from Isaac Levinson on Vimeo.




Thanks most from my head which took a few hits for sure and my WRSI throw bag which greatly aided in me getting my good friend Jordi Batlle Neira out of a nasty pothole slipping behind the viel of the dulce drop on the Nevados. Thanks to all my friends who helped me along my journey. Without which my trip would not have been such a great success.

4/9/10

Sluice training.

So, today was the second day of testing of the new Pyranha Molans for Robbie and Shane and some much needed training for me. The day started off quite Sunny and cooled down as we progressed. This wasn't a problem for those of us who haven't donated our brains to some kind of Frankenstein-esque experiment but Shane thought it was a good idea to wear his semidry kag and was freezing in minutes.
Neil showed up, and Oisin shortly after, and good times were had by all who weren't icicles.

Me plugging for a loop.



Robbie, mid loop.


Luckily, I've come off my trend of poor sessions and we all got loads of spins, a few loops, and even one or two blunts were had. After a few solid hours of Sluicing we finished up and went home.



(photos courtesy of Oisin Kelly)
Later.

Daniel.

4/2/10

Jay Panther U.S. Freestyle Nationals

Hello,

The season feels like it just started yesterday and alas now it is over until next December. I had a great weekend in Squaw Valley at U.S. Nationals and nearly had an amazing weekend. I had a great first run on singles day and qualified 3rd. This meant that I would go 3rd from last in finals and was in a great position to win. Unfortunately I did not have a perfect finals run and ended up 10th. Duals day again I skied great in qualifying and came in 5th. In my first dual I had a horrible start and was playing catch up the entire run. I had a remarkable middle section to catch up but just over rotated my bottom air and was unable to hold on. Below is video from my qualifying run on singles day.

I am walking away from the weekend happy. Obviously I was there to win. Instead I gained experience in how to deal with the pressures of standing in the gate knowing a win is one great run away. This was easily the best skiing I have done all year and I was perfect with myCalifornia Roll all weekend. The key for me is to figure out how to ski like I did this past weekend at the next U.S. Team Selections event in December. If I can show up there skiing like I am now, I will really be in a position to win!

I got a really nice write up in the local Tahoe newspaper. The story included 2 pictures of me....one jumping and another a candid picture of me showing duct tape the trainer put on my minor back injury. Steve Yingling watched me ski as a child and wrote a great article for me at Nationals last year as well. Here is a link to the story....sorry....no pics in link.

I am certainly ready for a little bit of down time before my first training camp in Colorado the beginning of May. My plan is to head to the beach to play some volleyball. Thank you so much for your love and support. I will let you know how my next camps goes.

Jay Panther
video

4/1/10

Irish freestyle team trial event two

Okay,this was the second of two events of the team trails which took place on the 14th of March 2010.The first event took place in Clifden,Galway on the 27th of February 2010 which was a great success. Anyways everyone met at the car park at Sluice, Lucan,Dublin for 11a.m were everyone registered.After that we all got change and headed down for sluice for a few minutes practice before the event kicked off.

During the practice all the juniors were landing sweet moves Robbie O'Shea got a sweet air loop and a bread and butter and Shane little got a Mac Nasty.

The competition started with junior men's.Its a great feeling when your adrenaline is pump around your body just as you start your first run.We all got on the water and threw some nice moves a few Bunts, Spins, Roundhouses, Cartwheels.

Next was the junior women's and women's mixed because there was so few of them .There was a few good moves going on there as well,but I didn't really see them cause I was just getting of the river.I heard the best junior women doubled the best junior men's score.

After that was the men's class.There was some nice moves going on there I saw some blunts, loops, air screws, Mac Nasty's etc.

Then finally C1 which was pretty good with the winner being a junior.

Then the competition was over and we all got on the water for a warm down session,then we went back to get changed and headed over to Mc Donalds and got some Shamrock Shakes and waited for the results.

Juniors men's:
1st Eoin Farrell
2nd Alan Murphy
3rd Robert O' Shea

Juniors women's:
1st Emer Farrell
2nd Caoimhe Farrell
3rd Niamh Cleary

Women's k1:
1st Jackie Ferguson
2nd Deirdre Ni Droighnean

Men k1:
1st Brian Cahill
2nd Neil Gibson
3rd Ronnie Brennan

C1:
1st Eoin Keyes
2nd John O'Rourke
3rd Kevin McCabe


I would like to thanks Irishfreestyle and all the organisers of this event,I felt it was a great success and we all had great fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds3Ny5oeIS4


http://thesluicecrew.blogspot.com/