January 29, 2011

Video: Playboat Kayaking Carnage on Boulder Drop, Skykomish River


Blair Williams and Rob McKibbin were doing the Index to Split Rock Skykomish run a few days ago when the level was 5,000 cfs, which is actually kind of a tricky level for Boulder Drop, the big Class IV drop – the entrance can be a little less complicated in the 6,000 cfs range I think.  (OK, Rob runs the whole thing in his playboat at 50,000 cfs, but that’s just classic Rob.)  Anyway, we had all done it at 6,400 cfs the day before, with me and Blair taking the Needle route (and for the record I was in a tiny little boat, the Project 45, which I am mentioning here because I was just so danged happy it worked out ;)), but Ned’s Needle, the drop to the left of the Needle, gets really sticky above 4,000 cfs and that’s the way Blair went this time.  What’s awesome is that not only did he have his helmet cam on, but his wife Jessica was filming from the shore.  Here’s the video.


I don’t know if I’m allowed to say how long this swim really was due to him and Rob both going after his gear and ending up on opposite sides of the river, but let’s just say it’s pretty impressive that by the end of it he was throwing those loops (or almost-loops – whatever, they looked good) on Split Rock wave.

Speaking of high water Skykomish runs, Joe Sauve posted this video on Professor Paddle that he took when Rob, Adrian Wigston and Sam Grafton ran the Skykomish a few weeks ago when it was in the 55,000 to 60,000 cfs range – well above the flood level range of 30-something thousand cfs.  The first is in Quicktime and the second is in MPEG format:

http://professorpaddle.com/media/videoview.asp?File_Id=6142 – Quicktime

http://professorpaddle.com/media/videoview.asp?File_Id=6143 – MPEG

Sam’s in the blue boat, Adrian is in the yellow boat, and Rob goes down between those two but he’s really easy to miss because the waves are HUGE and he’s in his little red Dagger Kingpin – as usual. ;)


Adrian W., Blair W., Boulder Drop, Jessica W., Joe S., Rob M., Sam G., Skykomish River

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