|Chelan is so good!|
|Totten boofs the crap outta.. whatever - Ohanepecosh|
|Cascade surprises reward the adventurous|
Well... ya know how.. when you're looking through the guidebook for some sick new class V run you haven't been on and it winds up being like 7 miles long with 2 hard drops and a bunch of boogie and flat water?? Well.. Chelan just throws out all the in-between and you're left with a half mile of back-to-back steep class V bedrock stouts. 75 degree water temps combined with a 2 mile class II warm-up could be the ingredients that make Chelan the perfect late summer run. It's more fun every time I go, and watching the number of paddlers increase every year, I won't be surprised when we need MORE releases!! Chelan is sick.
|Ellie Wheat aces the Entrance Exam|
|in order, going upstream: Boulder Sieve, Pinnacle, Throne|
|Entrance Exam sets the tone for Chelan|
The canyon is also very portagable and scoutable. Every drop can be portaged with varying degrees of effort. Did I mention how amazing the bedrock is?? You'll probably spend at least an hour at Entrance Exam watching everyone go through, one at a time. Then, the whole group begins to move to the next drop as safety is set up. Double Slide is next, and if Entrance Exam increased your pucker factor, it might be worth portaging.
Double Slide is a 20 foot drop, and just as the name implies, has two side-by-side drops. The left side is "the sneak", but not an easy line to get to. First, you have to punch a hole between the left wall and a boulder. The hole is a funny shape and the rock helps to back it up some, making it stickier than it looks as well as a bit depressed, making it very difficult to work out of. Punch that effing hole! Then paddle hard at to get over the final little flake, ahhhh. Mess these moves up and you just bought yourself a one-way ticket down the right chute, into the Meat Locker!!!
Rick Williams was the very first kayaker to ever run the right side of Double Slide. Rick was known for his big-water skills as well as innovative paddling techniques (and catchy names of rapids ;). He named this right slot Chelammy!! A fitting title, no doubt! Meat Locker, Chelammy... it's a gorge beast sanctuary! Sammy G was the only stud brave enough to run the Meat on Sat. Sam loves utilizing his new bionic prowess.
After the procession, everyone was stoked to fly off Super Boof, a sweet 15 foot boof. If there was an easy way back up, I'd crank boofs off that thing half the day!!! Immediately downstream is Throne. Throne is a 20 foot tall sliding drop with a powerful hole at the bottom. Go too far left and you'll get pushed into the throne-shaped rock on the left. The right half of the hole at the bottom of Throne is a very powerful, possibly backed-up hole that people have fully disappeared in for a 2 count, only to be shot upstream, back out of the hole. Chelan is SICK!
|Ellie gets sick|
|the Throne rock|
|Sean Lee peers into Pinnacle while Tpot films at Throne|
|Throne and the precipice of Pinnacle|
|rollin' on Pinnacle|
|get some Jah|
|Joe Howard sets critical safety at the Boulder Sieve|
|Full Face Andy|
|Brian Berger gets the bird's eye on Pinnacle|
By now you've exhausted all but the last 2 feet of vertical gradient from the Chelan Gorge. Paddling across the short pool, portage the log jam on the right, continuing down the right channel to the park at the confluence! Consume booty beers, load up and head to the horseshoe pit! The nightlife is but a few hours away. Chelan is one of the sickest weekends all summer, fo sho!
...til next year, y'all!!!
- Brett Barton