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Trip Report: Kalama Falls Washington

Trip Report: Kalama Falls Washington

Trip Report: Kalama Falls Washington

--When, Where, Conditions--
When: October 23, 2014
Location: Kalama Falls, Washington
Conditions: Wet and full of love.
Duration: 43 minutes thats all I need.

--Helpful Info--
Difficulty: Running big drops is very dynamic setting boat angle, body position, spotting your landing, setting safety, finding where you need to be on the lip are all things that need to be done to safely run a drop. If you want to learn to safely execute big drops, check out our available kayak school classes.

Kalama Falls Washington
Andrew boosting the falls on October 23

The Report: The rain is here and there are creeks and rivers all over Washington and Oregon that need some love. A few days ago some of our favorite creeks came in and we couldn't pass them up so we did them all. This was a great way to kick the season off right! Liam had not run Kalama, so after our East Fork Lewis lap and Canyon Creek laps we were still hungry for more! I was pretty happy with my line so I only took one lap, but Liam did not like his first lap so he took another.

What a great day with friends! I'm looking forward to more trips to this great waterfall.

Round 2: December 2014

The Report: Jeremy Lynn and I re-explored this area just out side of the Gifford Pinchot National Fforest at the base of St. Helens last year. I ran this waterfall 16-17 times last year along with 25+ other kayaks traveling from all over the place to drop it. Before we had been in there last year it hadn't been done in years. Moving into December 9th 2014, I get a phone call from NA staffer and good friend Adam who tells me that he wants to put a zip line over the waterfall and put his good friend and professional photographer Isaac out on the rope.

Seeding up to the day of getting into Kalama falls has an interesting drive in which adds to the adventure, it really makes you work for the fun you are about to have. Walking into the falls with 5 kayakers and 2 photographers that are all loaded down with gear not sure what to expect definitely builds up anticipation.

As we all reach the base of the falls, we slowly start looking at the water level of the falls checking where we will be setting anchors for the zip line and where safety will be needed for Isaac and people kayaking the falls. As we reach the top of the falls, we find our first tree that we are going to use and go to work setting an anchor point. Patrick (also NA staff) paddles to the other side of the river so we can pass him the rope and he starts another anchor on his side. After a few "test runs" and moving anchor points higher off the ground and pulling as much slack out of our static rope as possible, we got it right and it was safe for Isaac to go out on the line. We ended up using a basic 3 x 1 Z-Drag system to pull as much slack out as possible.

Moving into the kayaking side of things, Kalama was very low meaning there was not a lot of water rolling over the lip. The boil at the base of waterfalls is what makes a waterfall runnable or not. Today it was on a fine line you wanted to move from the left side of the waterfall to the right so the impact would be much less. Falling off of the left side would made for a very bad day, it landed in green water which has no aeration. I went first having the line that I wanted. I was stoked to have taken a soft hit. The rest of the crew followed and crushed their lines as well. This type of photo shoot was our first experience; we all learned a great amount and I'm looking forward to doing it again soon!

Kalama Falls Washington
The view from the top.
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