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Here is an update of some of the epic missions we got up to in BC last summer/fall.
With Whistler bragging record snow fall in the winter (over 16 meters fell) the summer was guaranteed crazy high water and a super long season. Low and behold it did not fail to impress. For the first 2 months of the season the Callaghan was sustaining record high flows, unreal kayaking. I believe the saying used most often was “high side of peaking out” for almost every river we put on. This sure made for the perfect training ground for up north. Having completed the Triple Crown the year prior, our sights were set on the Homathko.
We had the crew which consisted of myself (Ric Moxon), Chris Gragtmans, Pete Lodge, Xavier Engle, Louis Geltman, and Nate Klema. With a bad ass crew, filled with optimism, semi witty jokes and hard out banter, what else do you need?

We were checking the online gauge and the weather forecast at Tatlayoko Lake for weeks. It seemed like the river was never going to drop in with an average flow of 600 cms and spiking to over 2000 for the majority of September. Having heard about a crew getting evacuated at flows similar to this we didn’t want to be putting on too high, or have the river blow out on us. Then we lucked out, the potential for a window (which is all it was), the temperatures were expected to drop for 4 days and minimal rain in the forecast. With myself and the double hard Alaskan (Xavier) feeling overly optimistic, we made the vital phone calls and everyone hit the road. Geltman the champ drove through the night from the Hood, staying awake on a healthy mix of chewing tobacco and coffee, arriving in Whistler at 6am, squeezing in 1 hour of sleep before the 10 hour drive north.

We started the drive with the online gauge saying around 470 cms, still way to high. Having got beta from some worthy sources we were advised that 350 is the high side of good. Every time I hit the road to drive north it’s always an incredible spectacle. Unbelievable fall colors and guaranteed crazy weather. As we drove we went through a number of thunder storms, adding to the dubiousness of our decision to go for the window. Any talk of the river blowing out was soon squashed by unfounded optimism. But to our blessing when we rolled into camp it was crisp clear skys and night time temperatures dropping to around -5, perfect.

We put on Tatlayoko Lake the next day. We had an unknown water level which at the time we were guessing was around 400 cms for day 1 and hoping the river would drop to the perfect 350 for day 2.
Well I’m not going to lie the Homathoko is stout, full on class 5! Lots of must runs, mega continuous, technical moves one after another. Through out the course of the river it transitions from first class steep creeking to crazy big volume as the other tributaries flow in, unreal.
Perhaps one of the highlights of the trip was the third tragedy. Scouting from high up on the left side of the canyon rim the river was hooning, big terminal pits, huge crashing waves and a 9 feet tall river wide wave hole (which would be a guaranteed beat down). After a considerable amount of deliberation, banter and again semi witty comments we all convinced ourselves that is was good to go, with a weak point forming every 20 seconds. We rightfully called this rapid “dubious at best”. We decided that the best method of running this was just blue angel, truck and trailer. That way at least a few of us should get through or all be high fiving each other in the hole. It turned out that we all made it, some brash digging and power strokes pulled us all through one by one.

I recently read an old article about Doug Gordon and their experience on the Homathko. Wow these guys are soldiers, with limited knowledge on the river and the lack of online gauge these guys put on in July when the river is over 1000 cms, well over 3 times the newly founded recommended flows. This made a large proportion of the canyons portages. These guys had to make a 30 hour BC bush wacking portage around Great Canyon and set up lines to cross the blown out side creeks just to get themselves and gear over. I just want to say you guys are an inspiration, its pioneers like you that make these rivers the classics they are today.
Just want to say a big thanks to Pyranha, the Large Burn is an incredible day and expedition kayak. It handles great when loaded, unloaded, where ever! Wouldn’t want to paddle anything else. Also, I would like to thank Chuck the owner of the logging camp at the take out. He gave us a warm shower and a cup of coffee. We recommend staying there for a night at the end of the trip.
Apologies for the lack of photos my camera broke on day 1. Instead of taking photos my Canon D30 now screams at me and flashes ERROR 99. If anyone knows how to fix this please help! But check out my buddy Nates blog for some pics.

Cheers team for such an epic mission!