Sunday, January 20, 2013

2012 Media Bomb

2012 had plenty of water, I might start to venture to say too much water. Some things raged nearly out of control all summer, while others would hang out of control for most of the season just to plummet to less than ideal. All in all it was a good season, that always had something to do. Between the endless water and endless light there was a lot of kayaking.

Archangel Creek this spring was a prime example of the water (and kayakers?) raging nearly out of control:

I finally made it out on the Talkeetna with Paul Forward, John Cox, and Will Lyons this summer. The Talkeetna is definitely an Alaska whitewater classic and a must do if you are in Alaska (definitely made sweeter after an epic on Bench Creek, which is NOT an AK whitewater classic). The river isn't hard, it is just plain fun; miles and miles of class III/IV wave trains.

I didn't get a lot of video in 2012 mainly because most of the new runs I did turned into a misadventures that typically consisted of crawling through the devil's club in a giant sweat bag dragging a +50lb kayak. Here's the good stuff from all of that, the B-Sides per se:

With the late fall high water a bunch of the crew headed north to run laps on Upper Willow. I'm really thankful that we were able to get out and route the run multiple times, as the major flooding that occurred in the fall of 2012 changed all of the major rapids. So in a toast to the old Upper Willow, here are a few shots of the guys on Alaska's class V gem.

Timmy lining up for one of the many unnamed rapids in the Upper Willow canyon.

Upper Willow boogie brought to you by non-other than Timmy J

Tim getting his boof face on at Tripple Drop, Upper Willow

 Henry Munter at Tripple Drop, Upper Willow, defining how to boof

Henry showing everyone how it's done...again, running the left line at Gazebo, Upper Willow

Matt Peters locked and loaded, left line at Gazebo, Upper Willow

Xavier Engle getting ready to launch the left line at Gazebo, Upper Willow

Matt in the top third of Sieve 57, Upper Willow

Henry setting up to finish off the second half of Sieve 57, Upper Willow

Xavier, Matt, and Henry all lined up blue angeled Sieve 57, probably the longest and most complex rapid in Upper Willow. This shot is looking down the second half of Sieve 57 with both Matt and Henry.

Xavier with a nice boof at Pancake on Upper Willow

Henry having as good a line as you can hope for at Maxwell House (good until the last drop), the last rapid on Upper Willow

The remaining few shots are of Bench Creek. My only words of advice on Bench Creek is, only go up there if you are really ready to fire some stuff up. There are only four rapids and they all mean business. The run is pretty remote by South Central AK standards and any injury out there could start a major epic. We had far too much water when we went in there and all of us walked everything, except for Henry, who ran one rapid. I don't think I'm every going to go back. The majority concluded that Bench Creek is not an Alaska whitewater classic.

If you get to the bridge and the channel looks like there is a good amount of water in the channel, put in there and save yourself a world of hurt!

Also, I hope you're not allergic to cow parsnip, as there is A LOT of it on the hike into Bench Creek. Henry hiding among the giant cow parsnip.

Where's waldo (aka Will Lyons)

With that 2013 is off to a raging start. Tim Johnson, Matt Peters, Tyler Dyer and I are off to New Zealand for a month. Update to come in February (maybe that will keep me honest).