Cali in April...? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-10-2006   #1
bowen's Avatar
Asheville, North Carolina
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Cali in April...?

Some friends and I are thinking of going to Cali this April for some creeking. Being a transplanted southerner in Colorado, I don't know whats good that time of year in Cali...I've only done some class III out on the American years ago when I was a newbie.

We're looking for classic fun Cali creeking and I know we can probably expect some high water this time of year. Not interested in play. So my questions to all you buzzards are:

Which region is the best to hit this time of year: south, sierra, north?

What are the fun classic creek runs that some of you have done?

Is Holbeck and Stanleys book still acuurate?
Thanks! Any beta is appreciated.

I'm jonesin' to boat

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Old 01-10-2006   #2
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Look at Deer Creek, Mill Creek near chico, both are easy class 4-5 runs and both are overnighters with great scenery. Lars guide is still the book to have.
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Old 01-10-2006   #3
Poison Slingin'
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Will Mitch be attending the festivities? That guy is so SICK! Don't act like you have friends bowen, we all know your just a Mitch Baitman groupy! I am sure he can lead the way in Cali being the teenage heart-throb kayak god that he is. You should talk to Mack...he also would like to get out to Cali in mid to late April.


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Old 01-10-2006   #4
Join Date: Mar 2004
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"California Whitewater" is definitely still a pertinent book- though there are rumors of a future update. So far as water goes- south obviously starts the earliest. Think the Kern/Kaweah/Tule drainages- lot of easy to sicko runs down there. Also, depending upon the temp stuff up by Downieville (Yuba) and a lot of the coast/low elevation runs go. My best advice- keep an eye on dreamflows.
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Old 01-10-2006   #5
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Denver, Colorado
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Ahhh, Cali in April, your timing will be fine. For 3 year now, I've been going with a group of 3-5 boaters (mostly creeking) and we usually start in Downieville and hit Pauley and Lavenzola for a warm up. Beautifull narrow and steep canyons with big pool drops, runnable with little CFS.

The book generally sucks, and calls about every creek a IV/V. It will get you to the put-in and take-out but be very wary about descriptions and ratings. I'd say my dislike of that book stems from learning in CO with our unparalleled CRC... and Stanley/Holbeck must be f'kn sickos. Also, if you're towing a trailer, speed limit is 55 throughout the entire state.

Other than that, you're going to have a blast.

Not sure what difficulty you are looking for, but some of my favorites were the Stanislaw, SF Yuba 49 to Bridgport (start early, scout often), Brush Creek, Dinky into the NF of the Kings, Sierra City (Starts a bit shitty but gets continuously better), anything in the Cal Salmon (remote, big, and crystal clear water), and... can't remember the name of this one, but it had a 100 yard long curtain waterfall pouring in from a spring on river left over a bunch of bright green moss, easy IV, Matt, help me out with the name here.

I've got hundreds of digital pic's if you'd like to see highlights of anything. Just shoot me a PM and I'll get some to you.

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Old 01-10-2006   #6
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Originally Posted by Livingston
can't remember the name of this one, but it had a 100 yard long curtain waterfall pouring in from a spring on river left over a bunch of bright green moss, easy IV, Matt, help me out with the name here.
Could you mean Mossbrae Falls at the end of the Box Canyon run on the Upper Sacramento?

If you're looking for a good class 4 wilderness one day run around the Cal Salmon, check Wooley Creek. Long hike in but pretty scenic with good whitewater. Here's a site with some pictures of some of the CA goods.
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Old 01-10-2006   #7
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That's it...Box Canyon. My heart is aching for the early water.
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Old 01-11-2006   #8
pnw, Colorado
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I was on the cal-salmon in late April last year, seems like it was around 2700cfs in the main river with more water in the south fork than the north fork above the split. I didnt do any of the class V but that is an amazing and beautiful river. Go to younggunproductions and see the dynasty preview. You get a quick shot of the main canyon when Rush does a gainer off about a 70ft cliff.
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Old 01-11-2006   #9
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ok yall, will NF American Giant Gap be accessible in March or what about Toulumne cherry creek run? I'm plannin on one or the other then or something equivalent. prefer multi-day class V that is raftable (dont mind portages). will carry food/sleeping gear for kayakers in exchange for keeping one eye over your shoulder.

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Old 01-12-2006   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Gap should definitely be running, though in March we are usually still in rain/run-off season as oppossed to snowmelt. It could have below optimum (1000cfs) or be blown out high (5,000cfs) from the rain, but there should be flow. It could also be just right.

Cherry Creek will likely be too high in March and the roads down into lumsden are always questionable during the wet season. THere is usually a healthy flow on the main Toulumne in March which with the release from Cherry Creek will add extra spiciness. 1800-2000 is a huge difference on that run compared to summertime release of 900-1000. Lower T would be a go if all the roads cooperate.

MF Feather would be an option but it could still be cold and subject to flucuations like Gap. Wouldn't want to float devil's canyon after a storm with 6,000 grand coming down.

Deer and Mill also seem to be in early and are overnights-not sure about rafts though.

Then again, two years ago we had full on summer in March and it didn't storm again. Check dreamflows and get the weather updates before you leave...
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