Friday, July 06, 2007

Lower Whitewater

After a watching the guys do their huck fest at Triple Falls we all headed into South Carolina to check out the Lower Whitewater River. There had been some discussion of it on Boatertalk in recent weeks. Someone had posted photos of running some of the drops. After getting some beta we decided it would be cool to check out and maybe huck some.

The run was described as consisting of three main drops. The first a set of teacups were of low consequence. The second, a 28 foot drop with serious piton potential on the bottom left. The third a series of slides ending in the final must-make eddy above a 300 footer. I didn’t really see myself wanting to run much of this, maybe just the teacups, but it sounded like another fun thing to go look at.

The main piece of advice we got about heading out there was not to go after ANY rain. High emphasis on that. So what happens? Of course it starts pouring as soon as we start heading that way. But since we’re almost there we decide to go ahead and check it out anyway. To get to the river you have to drive onto Duke Energy property so access is mildly sketchy. We needed to keep a low profile as not to attract too much attention.

From the parking lot it was a half mile hike to the put in. We decided to go ahead and just hike in with our boats. We arrived at a bridge crossing the creek and could see the first horizon line. The view was amazing. Probably one of the most incredible places I’d ever been. From the bridge to the base of the main falls the run drops a good one hundred feet in just a short stretch (and yes that final horizon line in the photo above leads into a 300 foot drop). Next to the big drop was the largest pothole I’ve ever seen. Probably 20 feet tall and fifteen across with a deep pool inside.

We got out and started trying to make our way down to scout the drops. But of course the recent rain had made the bedrock incredibly slick. We found it downright impossible to walk down. No matter, we were determined to take a closer look. So we pulled out as many ropes as we had and linked them together to get down. Mostly we ended up sliding down the rock, holding on to the rope for dear life. Once we got to the bottom of the big drop it was difficult to see the line (which is on the right) from the left side. So Jason was going to try to walk along the edge of the next drop (which barely had any water going over it) to take a look (hold onto a rope of course). But after a few minutes of attempting to get over there decided it was way too dangerous and not really worth the risk. It also turned out that Carl, in his excitement, had gotten ahead of everyone, slipped and fell into the giant pothole. Then got up and slid down again, closer to the big drop. He stood up screaming at us to stay way.

Ultimately we decided that hucking just that middle drop wasn’t going to be worth the risk. It was difficult enough just trying to walk around, let alone doing it with boats. So we chose to scrap the plan and just get out of there. Nonetheless it had been worthwhile go get in there and see this amazing place. Afterwards we headed up and checked out 500 ft tall Upper Whitewater Falls from the overlook. The water was coming down brown and we could tell the level had risen a good bit. We were happy with our decision to leave as it could easily have flashed on us. Still, a wonderful experience.

The largest pothole i have ever seen

Making our way down the slick rocks

Upper Whitewater Falls

The gang at Upper Whitewater Falls

Check out more photos of the Lower Whitewater here

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