Dore River - North Fork (Gr. 5)
Written by Spencer Cox Thursday, 08 February 2007 20:29
Logan and Sean Walking to the put-in. Photo: Spencer Cox
Typical Class 3 between harder sections on the Dore River.
Sean Allen entering the Gnasher.
Spencer Cox finishing up the Gnasher in the Topo.
LoganRutherford tangled in the trees. When the river is in floodthis is the only way to stop.
|The Scene: An amazing and scenic run in BC; the rapids are interesting boulder gardens with one really hard drop. The boulder gardens are up to class 5+ |
Flow Info: Most of the spring and summer is good. It gets harder at high water.
Transport: This is confusing. McBride is about two hours west of Jasper. From McBride continue on Highway 16, heading North West. In a couple of KM a bridge crosses the Dore River. On the other side of the bridge you can turn left up a paved road. Stay left on this road. After a while you will run out of pavement and reach the start of the logging road. You should check ahead of time if there logging!!! Follow this road to the takeout (the confluence of the North and the South Forks). Go up the north fork road (on your right as you drive up) stay right all the way up. The put in is where the road again crosses the river.
The Fun: The put in at the Bridge brings nothing but logs, branches and bouncy rocks, as it flows down the steep channel. After a few KM things start to speed up, and another creek (Boreal Ck.) enters from the right. Below here the river flows over ledges and through a few difficult canyon sections. Be sure to scout lots as logs can be a big factor.
Constantly keep your eyes open for the entrance to the Gnasher. It occurs along a slope on the left, which is presently burnt by a forest fire. The drop is dangerous so be sure to get out and scout if you’re not sure. You don't want to go into it blind. It is class 5+ to 6+ depending on water level, its long, and its complete chaos.
Below the Gnasher things get crazy. Enjoy a couple of KM of good class 4 - or 5-5+ in high water... Then things ease off. Where things ease off, is the take-out for the upper section, the road gets nearby on the river right hand side, and there are several adequate take outs. Be sure you watch for devils club.
THE LOWER SECTION - TO CONFLUENCE
The lower section starts pretty quickly once you leave the flats, and does not really let off until you reach the confluence. When we ran it in August, it was relatively clean of lumber. This may be entirely different after high water, avalanches, and mudslides that will come in the spring will also bring wood. Also, salvage logging on the river left bank, has added some wood, and footbridges, which could be an issue at higher flows. These are a hazard, and I've contacted the Ministry of Forestry about there logging practices, because a few large logs seem to have been dumped in the river.
The first rapid is a good warm-up. It has a few large holes and a bedrock ledge part way down, which is a bad hole at a little higher water. Below here it continues with more of the same, steady class 4-5 rapids, flow dependent. It, more or less, continues in this fashion until the takeout, with a few harder drops thrown in. One of these hard drops happens on a large left corner, on the second part of an S-bend. There are good eddies on the right, where you can scramble out, and get a look. We ran this one because the portage looked thick, lots of bush, slippery rocks etc. At the top of the hard rapid (the line is river left but the eddy is on the right, so there is a tough ferry. Immediately after this, it drops over a 4 foot high boulder ledge, breaks right and then left again. The Crux is it all pushes right under a log, and you have to scoot left using the hole created by the boulder fence. At some levels going over fence further left, rather than trying this funky move may have been an option, but when we were there it was more of a sieve.
The only drop we portaged on this whole river (and have yet to run) lies just beyond a sharp right corner. It is a 6 foot sloping ledge that lands completely on/under a big boulder. It has a line towards the left, but there is a large hole, which might suck you over to the boulder where you would be seriously pinned, and probably drown. Thankfully it is one of the easier drops to scout and portage (done on the right)
After here, it drops into the home stretch. There are several different rapids with large boulders, some sieves, and some neat shoots. There are also many ledges with extremely sharp holes, although most can be glided over. You will no when your getting close, as things start to open up, and it is more like a fan, lots of smaller boulders. Right towards the end, there are some man made sides to the river on the right. Take out beside these. The confluence with the south fork happens below. After this, it is a much more moderate class 3-4 medium volume run (south fork is bigger as well), and some great play opportunities are to be had.
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