Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Royal Gutter of the North Fork American

These photos are a spotlight on James McLeod, dirtbag extraordinaire. He'll cut down christmas trees for weeks on end or please the idiosyncratic demands of moviestars or whatever it takes to buy a few weeks to doggedly pursue that mix of volume and gradient. He was the one on the trip who had been in the Royal Gorge before and knew of its inner recesses and wonders. The hope of getting on this trip and catching this exquisite, way too steep piece of whitewater was the reason I drove straight on through to California from Minnesota. Jared Nocetti and Brent Idaho rounded out the 4-pak. Definitely cool to do this run and check out the giant waterfalls of Heath #2, Rattlesnake, Chuck Kern Falls and Wabena, even if the vantage point I got was from the hellacious portage routes. The outlandish scale of those drops almost made the stretches of river that we did run seem like boogie water. Crazy fun boogie water. Blitzing the 30 miles of paddle out on Generation/Giant Gap in one day gave me temporary jello arms and a lasting feeling of having done something.

The bicycle shuttle to put-in was necessitated by a stretch of snow on the road that prevented vehicular passage.

Wake and huck on Heath #1.

Going "shredder style" off rattle snake falls.

Railing it out at mini-curtain.

A beam of sunshine on the split falls.

The team below our portage of Chuck Kern Falls.


J.D. said...

That falls is actually referred to as Scott's Drop (not Chuck Kern Falls, at least to my knowledge)since he was the first and only person to run it from like '97 to '05 when both Charlie Center and Pat Keller knocked it off in what can only be described as the cleanest of lines. Chucks Drop is the big slide on the upper section of Hospital Rock.

Taylor Cavin said...

Though I know most people refer to it as Scott's drop since he ran it first, I had heard that Scott himself wanted it called Chuck Kern Falls as an homage since "Chuck would have ran it." The LVM "How I spent my summer in the High Sierra" segment id'd it as such, so I went with that. No doubt though that Scott is the man for firing that off, especially since I heard he ran it going off his brother's opinion that the second pitch was good w/out having scouted it himself.

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