Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homathko River, BC

It's been a minute since my last update... This summer has been full of action throughout Iceland, Norway, and the Americas. I'm stretching myself thin trying to kayak full time, make the movies, do my music, and of course maintain the business... It's not leaving a lot of time for web updates but here is a quick one...

The Homathko at it's source. Our starting point

Our mission was to travel to Northern British Columbia with 2 weeks time to run some rivers. Our first river was the famous "Homathko" which starts small at it's source and then winds it's way to the pacific. I would put this in the top 3 most beautiful rivers I have ever paddled. It is truly a gem...


dropping into one of the first challenging rapids. Katie Scott ran this one first (so what if it wasn't on purpose)

Katie Scott drying off after a long day
A nice cave we found to camp in after our longest day on the river

Katie Scott below a mandatory portage. Too bad this gorge ends with sieved out nastiness otherwise the lead up would be EPIC! Maybe there is a way to run the stuff above and get out before the death drop but I think it would require some serious rope work...

The start of day 3


We arrived at the first big rapid of day 3... This thing is runnable (and I think it's been run) but none of us wanted a piece of it... Maybe at a different water level you could make it through the top hole but it was a big risk with high consequences. I started to walk up to portage around the beast when all of a sudden I saw Katie's boat floating down the rapid! It appeared she had not pulled it high enough up on the bank and a surge took it away... We spent 15 minutes scrambling downstream to try and catch it but were too late... Her boat was gone...

Katie being pulled 190 feet out of the canyon

Remote Class V kayaking requires extreme caution as EVERYTHING you need to survive is in your boat... Sleeping bag, tent, food etc. At the point where Katie lost her boat we were a 10 days hike from the nearest settlement. After some debate, we decided to use Darin's SPOT device to call in the Search And Rescue to get Katie out of the canyon. (thanks Shannamar and sorry for the stress this caused you) We feared she would be stuck with a serious bill... However, Canada is much cooler then the states and they charged her a grand total of 0$ to be rescued. Not really sure if this was a special price for the young lady or if us boys would have received the same treatment...



After 4 days of wilderness boating we arrived at the ocean where a float plane landed to meet us. This river has great whitewater with a few commiting canyons. On 3 different occasions we were in walled out, vertical gorges with no way of portaging or scouting! However, beyond the whitewater my greatest enjoyment was the setting... We saw several Grizzlies and got within 30 feet of a few... The final gorge of this section is class 3... Willie Kern named this gorge "Inner Peace." I can't think of a more suitable name....

Our crew, from left to right Darin Mquoid, Rudy Rampage, Katie Scott, Jonas Grünewald, Charlie Center

Charlie and Jonas fight over the only remaining beer...

3 comments:

Derek.Endress said...

The Hamathko blog brought back memories of the first Canadian descent we did of the Alsek's 'Turnback Canyon' where I swam Hair, half way through the canyon and 4 miles still to go. We all had bad runs going through the monster hole and into the turbulence of its aftermath; where Blackadar doing it solo, ripped his glass boat up and had to repair before moving on down the river. I walked to the camp we had setup at the end of the canyon. They successfully finished the run. I then ended up paddling Rods boat to the Pacific Ocean at Dry Bay as my T-Canyon was down river somewhere with all my camping gear in it, which we did find later in perfect shape, everything still inside. Rod swam across the Alsek with aide of Ken and his kayak and walked out to the hwy via the Tatshenshini put-in. It took him 5 days through the rugged mountains of the St.Elias front range, all in his one pc. drysuit and small pack with food in May! Glad to hear your friend was OK!and you had a great adventure on a river I always dreamed about!

sultan backcountry said...

How far up for the bay can one go without class 4 or higher? We just have packrafts and are wondering how feasible it is to drop down from the Homathko Icefield and raft back to Bute.

sultan backcountry said...

"...from the bay" not "for the bay"