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Discussion Starter #1
this is a trip i have thought about for years now..... i know it doesn't get much traffic, not because the whitewater is for sikkos only(except the 5+ CATARACTS section)...but the hike to the put-in is a bit of a hike(21 miles over Mt. Whitney @13,888ft) i met a caliboater in ecuador 3 years back and he was into it...already had mules lined up..... well, it never happened..he got married or something..anyhow, i want this trip...i added up the numbers... after the "nature hike" you can get up to 94.3 miles of continuous whitewater...37 miles of 5(?) just in the headwaters section!!class 4, 5, 5+ with maybe 2 miles of class 2+ and several miles of class 3....90 f*#king 4.3 miles.....nnnnnninetyfourpointthreemiles.....sicknik, riverwrangler, boof.com'ers, HARDY dunbar crew?? do you have any beta on what goes on inside the headwaters section.... class3? 4? 5? 5+? 6? my cali books says figure it out on your own... it could take as long as 2 weeks or as fast as 10 days....depending on where you take out....ANY INFO WOULD BE MORE THAN APPRECIATED.....oh, my bro's are allergic to shouldering a boat...so, anybody out in mtn.buzzard land ever been interested in this trip?.....sounds to good to be true!!!
 

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Milo....my interest is definitely peaked but I don't have the beta.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
riverwrangler,...you are a sikko...put your feelers out there and see what you can come up with...i'm doing the same, i am trying to track this kid down.. he name was(probably still is) Troy...from the bay area....tall guy....i'm searching thru old emails...i'd like company on this one but it is not going to make a difference on my decision....

on a diff note.......
..larsen? melentrod?dastin?... your boy(johnny) from telluride say thanks for SAVING HIS LIFE on the rio puesco...had a beer with him in telluride last weekend....good kid.... you guys have elevated yourselves to SUPER HERO STATUS!!!! ps, why would robbie jump into the f*#king puesco and swim down to the boat? SUPER HERO..... that's why!!!
 

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head waters

Milo,
I don't have any beta on the run, but am good at figureing things out as I go.. Let me know what you find out, if it is as good as it sounds you can count me in!

As far as Riverwrangler goes I dont know I thought he was just a play boater!!! ha ha evan

you can email me at [email protected]
thanks
patrick
 

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yo milo. it sounds interesting. i could be interested. i have no beta but i would know who to ask. the best thing to do is get the National Geographic TOPO!. it is a computer topo map. and is very accurate. you can find the exact gradient of a section of river easily. putins takeouts and everything. i think that would be the first step. the maps are about $100. i might buy it, and i'll let you know what i find.

nick
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yo, the LIMESTONE RUN comes in @ 2.5 miles(3-4) at like mile marker 51 of the 94.3 and the other mellow section, KERNVILLE RUN comes in @ 2 miles(2+-3) at mile marker 69ish....the roudy section, CATARACTS OF THE KERN, comes last on the list....17+ miles of hard 5(5+)..... really, you could leave supplies at the bottom if the HEADWATERS SECTION and be lighter for the "nature hike"....friends for porters....i want to carry the H-3 the distance....the rest of the trip may be standard issue cali 4/5.....
 

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Headwaters of the Kern

I did the headwaters 2 summers ago.(June 19-26, 2003) It's a good trip in terms of scenery and wilderness experience. However, it's not all that in terms of whitewater. That said here's the details. Start hiking when the river is 1800cfs and falling. Much higher and things could be really exciting on the first day of paddling.(although it would be better for the run as a whole, the steepest sections would most likely be to high for most boaters) * This is the best whitewater of the trip.IMO The Forks are a good run but at the flow you will be doing the Headwaters they are boring. By the time we got down there it was about 1000cfs. The Forks are great above 2000 but much lower and well you get the picture. So here we go. We used Golden Trout Packstation. The owner is Dan Shew. They will carry kayaks but are a bit pricey. They as well as the rest of the packers in the Sierra are part of the Sierra Maffia. Get any price quotes in writting if you can. They increased our price by $100 per person when we arrived. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do but pay the money or carry our boats and gear ourselves. So we paid the man and set out on our way. We chose to hike in from the bottom instead of going over Shepards Pass for a couple of reasons. One there was still a lot of snow. Two the packer was not sure he could get up to Junction Meadow since the trail crew had not been through. Luckly for us we knew people on the crew and they made sure the packer would get through. Otherwise he would have dropped our gear and boats at the point in which he would have been stopped. We didn't want to hike over the pass to find that our boats were not there and have to walk downstream in search of them. On the short the hike from the bottom (Lewis Meadow/Jerky Meadow) is about 42.5 miles. We did it over 3 days. (It's more of a stroll than a hike as there is only one significant hill to climb around the Kern Lake area) Camping at Grasshopper Flat the 1st night and Kern Hotsprings the 2nd night. We averaged something like 14 miles per day. The Hotsprings is the highlight of the trip and by hiking in from the bottom you can take advantage of it twice. Once hiking in and again at the end of your first day of paddling. The hike is spectacular in it's own right and worth doing even if not boating. The second day of paddling would take you from the hotspring to somewhere around the Kern Ranger station/Kern Lake most of which is flatwater and log jams. The next day would be from Kern Lake down to Painter's Camp/The Hazards. This section starts off good through Grasshopper Flat then mellows to class 2/3 with a few good rapids here and there. The next day could be the last through the Forks down to Johnsondale Bridge. We took a couple of layover days to hang out and watch the Wide World of Worlds but you could do the trip in 4 days. A strong class 3/4 paddler could do this trip(at the described level) if you took your time and walked a few small sections. Drop me an email if you have any other questions. Later
J.D.
[email protected]

oh and the 90 some odd mile thing your thinking about isn't possible as well as the few sections below Johnsondale. There is just not enough water in the river at the time you can paddle the Headwaters to also be able to do these sections.(actually you could get down them but it would be less the ideal) And typically the Cataracts does not run until July/August when they release water out of Lake Isabella. Sorry to burst your bubble.

One more thing. The High Sierra hike goes over Shepard's Pass not through the Whitney Portal! Although you could go this way you would need special permits to go over the Portal and the hike would absolutely SUCK! In fact either way (Shepards or Whitney) would make the Upper Cherry hike seem like a senior citizens walk.

* If I were to go back I would probably start hiking at something like 2200cfs and then just hang at the hotspring if the top section was to high for my liking.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
JD, what a buzz hack....i understand the part about flows needed for the entire run but, the cali book rates it harder than the MIDDLE FORK FEATHER(devils,franklin's canyons)...this is why i was asking for beta...you have to be kiddin' me....one day of regular ole whitewerter in that 37 miles? what about ditchin' the river boats after the headwaters section and continue on in a playboat? what sections are you taking about that can't be run, below johnsondale....? thanks for the hike beta....i'd still like to enjoy carrying a boat for 2 days....are you saying it cna't be done or it is just "less than ideal"?....
 

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The Fairview and Goldledge sections would be dewatered by about 3-500 cfs so that would only leave about 500 or so cfs in the river. You can get down them at this level. In fact most east coasters would probably think they are great.(they are not! even 1000 is still less than ideal) The Middle Feather isn't even in the same ballpark as the Kern.IMHO There is a reason Holbek and Stanley call the MF "the best self-supported wilderness trip in California" While the MF could be at the top of the list on the class 4+ world tour, the Kern wouldn't even get a nomination!(again IMO) That said, yes you could take playboats for everything below the Headwaters but my point is why bother? Hit the Forks at a good level and call it quits. (This is in terms of WW) Don't get me wrong, the scenery on the Headwaters is outstanding but you can do better! :wink: (with worldclass whitwater!!!) :D :shock: :shock: :D :D Especially if you are willing to carry your boat. :twisted: (you'll have to figure that one out on your own). So that pretty much sums it up. Don't let my description or opinion influence your decision as I'm a bit picky at times. The trip as a whole is worth doing once.
 

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Here is another take on the Headwaters if you all are interested.

http://home.flash.net/~cfoster2/boating/index.html

I've been informed that I was acting "a little to high class" in my description of the trip. I must say that I never said it was not a good trip! I simply stated that it wasn't all that in terms of whitewater. That said let me put it a different way. If you are going to drive to Cali from Colorado and have class 5+ skills there are more exciting trips that require about the same amount of work to get to the put-in and will be 5 to 10 times more rewarding in both the quality of whitewater and scenery. The Kern is worth doing. Don't let me/my description deter your interests. Thats just my take. Late
J.D.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
yo JD, i didn't think you were being "too high class"... honest, that's all....i know there is plenty more out there in cali...this looked like a good way to get out for a bit with some suffering included.....i guess i smoked a bit too much before bed time reading!
 
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