Kayak Journal

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Upper Cherry Creek One-Day Attempt

Some will say that Upper Cherry Creek in the High Sierra one of, if not THE, finest multi-day class V-V+ expeditions in the world. Our crew has decided to refute this claim. This trip report will outline our argument and attempt to prove our point. We are not arguing that Upper Cherry doesn’t have more clean runnable Class V+ than most rivers, we are not claiming that scenery is less than the spectacular. No, our point of contention is that the river does not require the typical three days to hike and paddle, in fact we believe that not even two days are required.

On Tuesday the 26th of July, Toby MacDermott, Daniel DeLaVergne, Pat Keller and Tommy Hilleke will attempt to complete the expedition in one bone crushing, energy sapping, and backbreaking day.


photo by Tommy Hilleke

The Plan

Monday July 25th
1) 6:15 am- Fly from the East Coast to San Francisco CA.

2) 1 pm- Rent a car, pick up the kayaks at the shipping terminal and head for the High Sierra.

3) 10 pm, Camp at the trailhead for the 11 mile hike to the putin of Upper Cherry.

Tuesday July 26th

1) 3 am- Awake and begin the 11 mike hike through the wilderness to the put-in. Due to the heat wave gripping the area we will use the cool night air and light boats to make the typical 9-10 hour hike in 5 hours. This is a crux of the plan because the trail is poorly marked, Many tales of woe exist about wayward paddlers wandering around in the Emigrant Wilderness in search of the elusive trail.

2) 8:15 am- Arrive at the putin of Upper Cherry nearly exhausted and ready for a bit of rest.

3) 10 am- Putin for a day of amazing whitewater (hopefully just one day)

4) 4:30 pm- Paddle across part of the Upper Cherry reservoir, hike 20 minutes through the dust and heat and then drink cold Budweiser.

5) Drive down to the Yosemite border town of Groveland and enjoy a fine Mexican meal.

Wednesday July 27th

1) Drive back to San Francisco, do some sight seeing and get back on a plane for the East Coast.


The River

Here is some photographic evidence of the stellar quality of whitewater to be found on the 11 mile stretch of Upper Cherry Creek.

The river from the top of Styx Pass (the end of the hike in).

photo by Nikki Kelly

The first slide after the put-in

photo by Tommy Hilleke

Same Slide.

photo by Tommy Hilleke

Same Slide.

photo by Nate Helms

Nature’s Art

photo by Nikki Kelly

The wide open granite flats of the upper section.

photo by Nikki Kelly

Toby MacDermott dropping through one of the upper gorges.

photo by Nikki Kelly

Nikki Kelly on the seldom run “Gorrila” falls.

photo by

The infamous Cherry Bomb Falls and gorge, the crux of the trip.

photo by Nikki Kelly


photo by Tommy Hilleke


The gorge of the bomb.

photo by Tommy Hilleke


photo by Nate Helms


photo by Nate Helms

Cherry Bomb gorge is followed immediately by the first pothole gorge. This is the entrance slide.

photo by Nate Helms.

The Potholes.

photo by Tommy Hilleke


photo by Nikki Kelly

The runout of the 1st Pothole Gorge

photo by Nikki Kelly

The first major cataract below “camp 1 and Cherry Bomb” is the “Grove Tube” falls, portaged by most.

photo by Nikki Kelly

The 25-foot falls just below the grove tube rapid.

photo by Nikki Kelly

Same Falls.

photo by

The double pothole gorge comes next. The entrance to this falls is also one of the crux moves on the trip.

After the Double Pothole comes the second teacups gorge.

photo by Tommy Hilleke

Just below these teacups comes the “Kiwi in a Pocket” falls.

photo by Tommy Hilleke

Immediately below the Kiwi falls is Dead Bear Falls, marking the end of the REALLY big stuff.

photo by Nikki Kelly

At the confluence of West Cherry and Upper Cherry creek comes this falls, affectionately known as “Down The Pipe”

photo by Tommy Hilleke

1 Comments:

  • At 12:32 PM, Blogger rmont said…

    What you describe sounds like an expensive and high-energy form of self-torture, not a boating trip.

    Did you have any fun?
    Moments of beauty?

    -Richard Montgomery
    (1st descenter from way-back-when)

     

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