Here is a quick video I threw together of a couple of runs I've been able to get on in the past couple of weeks before the snow started flying in Alberta. Plus a story of my weekend at the Pincher Creek festival, and a bunch of pictures at the bottom too.
This past weekend was the 12th annual Three Rivers Rendezvous near Pincher Creek Alberta, nicknamed Snow Fest for the usual appearance of snow, this being spring in the Canadian Rockies after-all. The poor weather forecast kept the number of participants to 200 and change down from the nearly 300 last year, fortunately it turned out better than expected and the only snow I saw was up in the Cameron river drainage on Friday afternoon.
Since I was guiding trips and clinics for most of the weekend I decided to take Friday and convinced a few friends to join me in a attempt at Cameron Creek, we showed up to a very nice juicy medium, a great level for the upper section and just a tad high for the lower canyon, oh well we'll try again next time.We paddled from Aldridge falls down to just below Deja Vu, Aldridge had a log in the top ledge so we where limited to running to bottom two ledges, still fun. After a mellow float through the scenic valley the river starts to change character into the typical Alberta Ledge fashion, a couple of class 4 ledges leads to Something Nasty, a 8 foot ledge with a sloping lead in and a sticky hole, with easy safety set on river left we where all able to clear the hole with a couple close calls. Another class 4 ledge leads to Wild Thing, this is the premiere rapid on this run, it starts with a couple of small broken ledges on the right before turning left off a ten foot ledge, a couple of small holes later puts you at the top of a 50 foot slide with big reactionaries coming off both sides. Just below Wild Thing is Deja Vu which is best scouted from the road on the way up as it becomes tough to do at river level, Ryan and Pavel failed to scout so me and Jeff passed on the info before taking off so we could film them from below. Deja Vu is a 20 foot two stage drop at the end of a narrow canyon, the momentum from the drop carries you through the hole in the middle and the one at the bottom with little effort making for great drop to run blind.
Saturday found me leading a trip down the Wigwam, a continuous class 4 boulder garden through you guessed it yet another scenic canyon, we seem to have a lot of those out here. In total the high water scared away most of the festival and we had a solid group of 9. We managed the run with just one swim , it was in the most continuous section of the river, but with a good crew we where able up the pieces and everyone else hung tight and slowly worked their way down afterwords. Thanks to Peter Thompson and Brad Dudinsky for their good work during the rescue.
Sunday and Monday I had the pleasure of taking out some beginners who had never seen moving water before, with a awesome teaching venue on the Lower Crowsnest we where able to get them doing eddy turns ferries, river roles, surfing and running some class 3- rapids by the end of the weekend. Everyone did great, in particular one girl Cierra ,who must have been about 10 – 12, she was so excited to go surfing, try harder more adventurous lines on the rapids and was always the first one to follow me down, she had a big smile on the whole time. Thanks to Brace and Jurri (spelling ?) they where a pleasure to teach with.
By Monday afternoon, most of my students where tired which is a good thing because I was exhausted too, I can't wait to get out to some of the other festivals in Alberta this year, including Paddle Fest on the Red Deer river July 9th - 11th and the Kananaskis Festival August 13th – 15th. I will be teaching and running clinics at these festivals as well so hopefully I will see you out there. Thanks to Pavel Bendl, Jeff Germaine and Chris Ryman from EA for the photos.[gallery link="file"]