Maligne Canyon II (Gr. 5)
Written by Spencer Cox Thursday, 08 February 2007 20:25
Spencer and Sean climbing out of the canyon.
Shooting the Tube.
|The Scene: A narrow crack in the earth, where water goes where it feels. Anything besides ridiculously low flows will be completely ridiculous to even attempt. It’s never totally been run and probably never will but we’re picking at it piece by piece. |
Flow Info: Go when Medicine Lake is almost empty, usually in august. You would be best off e-mailing me for some local knowledge.
Getting There: The run is near Jasper on the Maligne Lake road. Head east out of town; after you cross the bridge towards Maligne and Jasper Park Lodge, then take the left fork towards Maligne Lake. Go up this road until you cross the Maligne River just above the main canyon. This is your takeout. To get to the put in continue up to bullshit canyon, (a narrow canyon which the road crosses over on a long straight down hill.) Park off the road and head down to the Malgine where Bullshit flows into it. As a side note, bullshit canyon offers some interesting canyoning opportunities. Especially above the main fall, so walk to the top rap in, then make your way down.
The Fun: Things start off slow, the river flows over gravel bars and some boulders, you should be able to paddle this but it should be pretty bonky if you’re going to have a chance at the canyon. At high water this is an interesting option for a grade 3-4 run, with a mandatory portage. After a few km, things start to get more bedrock features, your now nearing the entrance fall. Be careful, and if you’re not sure, scout, because the first fall could easily be fatal.
The First fall bounces off rocks and makes a sharp right at the brink. It shoots out about 10 ft while it falls about 20. The danger lies within falling through the curtain, into what could be a siphon or a severe pot hole. We sent some big logs in and most either pinned, vertically, or never came out. If you swam in the fall and got out alive, you would want safety set up just below here as the water all piles into a huge undercut cave on the left, before coming back out. You probably would stay above water in this cave, but it would be an unpleasant experience unless you were in your boat.
The second fall will go. It would involve a mid flight left turn, as it crashes right against a polished wall on the right. Strap on the elbow pads and go for it. It’s never been run. Below here things get somewhat sane. There is a nice clean 10 foot sloper into another canyon. The drop is immediately below where this picture was taken. We tried to put in on some logs you can see to the bottom left, but the log jam broke and I fell in the river. To make things worse the logs we were going to launch from wedged in the drop so we never got to run it. Sean had to come down to help me untangle the rope, then we ascended up. This drop has never been run either.
Below here things open up a bit, you can either climb out, or run the next fall. Either way its going to take some creativity to get over or under many of the log jams, but the water is quite calm, so it could be done. The next drop occurs after the major log jams, and is off a log jam itself. It is about 20 ft, and is a fairly clean curtain fall, although I sure wouldn't want to test the depths on this river, as logs are absolutely everywhere. After this fall things calm down a bit, and very quickly it becomes take out time on river left. You will want to make sure you take out, as the canyon has basically collapsed on itself. The boulders jumble up for about twenty feet above water. There is actually an interesting fall where the water spouts out of the sieve, but isn't at all run able. By scrambling over these boulders to river left, you can get some solid rock and a place where you can put in for the next fall, it’s called Shooting the Tube, and the only one out of our party ran it successfully. The water comes off the river right rocks making a wave that looks like an ocean curl. The water creates a tube of air that you basically drop through, punching out the other side of the curtain as you land. It’s pretty strange and drops 10-15ft. Below here there are a few rooms, but none are too badly undercut, so it would be a straight forward paddle to the bottom. Just before the canyon ends, there is a large cave on river left, with a wooden bench built inside it. Don't ask me who, why, or when it was used, but it seems as though some people camped there.
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