Green Truss

With a bigger group (three…), we went back to the Green Truss section of the White Salmon. It’s not as intense as the Little White Salmon by any means, but a lot of fun nonetheless. It’s an excellent piece of water to have as your default river in this part of the world. This is probably the most-often-run harder river in the Columbia River Gorge.

Austin ran Big Brother, but neither myself nor Johno (New Zealand paddler passing through town – check out his scurrilous blog) were up for it. You have to hit the flake just so or you face ending up in the river-right cave.

From there it’s either a self-rescue up the cliff or hope for a rope from the river-left bank. Austin hit the spot, eh, spot-on, but still came within a foot of the cave. Here he is on the exit drop, which is a nice ledge in its own right…

There’s a tricky abseil put-on that puts you back on at the base of Big Brother on a perch of rock. Doing this allows you to run the exit drop. Here’s Johno doing exactly that…

Double Drop does exactly as it says on the tin. The only thing the name doesn’t tell you is that the ‘pool’ between the two drops is about two meters in length. It’s hard to get a clean boof off the first drop, so by the time your bow has resurfaced, you’re on the lip of the second drop. The horizon line of the second drop is only visible from the lip of the first drop. On my first run down this drop I was airborne and upside down on the second drop. Austin gets a belly laugh out of newcomers crashing over this thing and rolling up in the huge pool below. This is one of several drops in the area that come with deliberately limited beta at the start, just for the amusement of the knowledgeable. Consequently, it’s one of several drops in the area I’ve renamed ‘Fuck You, Austin.’

Somewhere on the way we picked up another pair of kayakers out on their own. Here’s Megan working her way out of Zig Zag…

Zig Zag is a cool pinball rollercoaster of a ride – essentially it’s an on-sight, read-and-run mini-canyon, where the line is a big green twisting tongue, but don’t even think about falling off it…

Micah (not sure about the spelling) exiting from Zig Zag…

From there’s it’s a case of a quick portage around BZ Falls (sketchy undercuts and holes) and seal launch back onto the water for a short wind-down stretch to the take out at BZ Corners. They have excellent tamales at the grocery store across the road from the take out.

On the way back to town, we stopped off to check out Condit Dam, in lower water than the last time you might have seen a picture of this one.

With the dam slated for removal in the summer of 2008, it’s pretty certain that Austin’s first descent, when the water was spilling over the top back in December, will be the last descent too. It’s not like there’ll be enough water again or that anyone else is queuing up for a crack at this one.

The 100-year-old dam will be drilled out at the base, draining the lake behind in about six hours, and turning some nice rural lakeside houses into hillside houses perched above a river.

It’s probably one of the few places in the world where people are campaigning against the removal of a dam.

2 Responses to “Green Truss”

  1. Jim,
    You’re killing me here…I’m so frickin’ jealous I’ve a lump in my throat. But at least you’re appreciating it!

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Colin,

    It’s all back to normal with me I’m afraid – stuck piloting a desk for a while in the treacherous rapids of, eh, the corporate park…

    It should be about time for the annual summer monsoon – pray for rain.


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