Now just to fit it all in one vehicle….Dave Garringer, Ben
Coleman, Devin Knight and Ryan Knight near take-out on the Kings River.
Loaded up we embarked on
the two and a half hour one way shuttle. Dave
and Ben had done the run before, but Best Whitewater only gives a vague
“follow your instincts” for shuttle directions, but
after only one wrong turn we were searching for the start of the trail.
There isn’t much to mark the start, but eventually we found
it and started carrying our gear through the forest. Cutting through a
meadow we found a trail that thankfully some one cut out through the
unbearably thick manzanita, I can’t imagine the hike without
the trail. Ten or fifteen minutes later we came into view of Dinkey
This is why you don’t put in at the Ross Crossing bridge,
this cascade is reminiscent of the South Branch’s
Seven Falls cascade.
We followed the plateau to
the left, where eventually it turned into
granite slabs leading to Ross Creek, where we more or less followed the
creek to it’s confluence with Dinkey. Nice warm weather had
us resting in the shade, the hike in is a bit of a slog and we only had
a mile and a half of river in front of us, so we weren’t too
of these guys.
Dave Garringer and Ben Coleman crossing the tributary creek.
“If you’re not ready to fire, you may as well hike
back out” – Ben Coleman.
Dinkey Creek doesn’t have any warm up at all, the first rapid
is a slide that drops over thirty feet, and this is just the beginning!
Devin Knight on the first rapid of the day, runs don’t start
any better, and it’s a lot steeper than it looks.
Steeper than it looked isn't it?
It's no surprise that a section of river named "The Waterfalls" is
characterized by waterfalls and slides, but it also has perfect
swimming pools of water between drops. Some of us portaged this next
drop because it looked shallow, but Devin styled it without taking a
Simon Tapely getting a huge boof below the often portaged "clapper".
The inbetween drops on Dinkey are awesome clean slides or falls, some
with nice punchy holes.
Corey Boux on a return trip at lower flows.
Unfortunately the rapids on Dinkey are
named after people who have had
carnage in them, which is quite a shame. Willie’s is the
largest mandatory rapid of the run a superb boof onto a slide, with a
thirty to forty foot near vertical slide to finish it off. The key to
the Willie Kern slide
is going between two small roster tails at the lip (right of center)
this sets you up perfectly for the bottom. The left side is not
terribly deep and should be avoided.
Little Dave runs the entrance of Willies.
Laura Farrell about to drop over the brink.
It's steeper than it looks too. Chris Tully in the entrance to Willie
Ryan Knight styling the final slide of Willies, this slide is
Freefall to reconnect.
Take a moment to soak in the majesty of this place, Willie Kerns on the
left and the next twenty foot waterfall on the right.
Go far left on the next twenty footer to avoid the right wall.
Yet another twenty footer lies downstream, this one is perfect except a
sieve is at the bottom right side of the pool below it. Be sure to be
in control on the left side, without being too far left where there is
a hidden piton.
Same same from below.
Still not convinced, a few
of us chose to portage on the right, almost
lost a boat downstream and the whole thing ended up being a lot scarier
than just running the drop and portaging the sieve on the left, which
we did on our return trip. People have had closer calls with the
portage route than by just running it.
We were worried about the boat almost getting
because just a
hundred yards downstream is a large mandatory portage around a gigantic
sieve. We found that the portage can be fast and clean, or slow and
scary depending on how you have to handle it. At medium to low flows
it’s best to throw your boat in off the forty foot cliff and
jump in after it, but at high (good) flows you’ll need to get
someone seal launched from the lower rock. Getting down to the lower
seal launch requires delicate friction climbing on highly polished
granite. The first time I was absolutely gripped and had to collect
myself while down climbing. The second time I had learned my lesson and
looped my throw rope around a rock to give me something to hold to
while down climbing the highly polished granite.
There is a large pool below the mandatory
another large drop that was once the most technical portage of the run,
requiring exposed friction climbing and making kayakers pendulum their
boats across the slab. Thankfully a few years ago the bad rocks moved
and the rapid is now relatively friendly and good to go, although the
entrance is still often portaged.
Once known as the Pyramid
Rock rapid, the dissapearence of the pyramid
rock has made this drop fall into the cliché role of another
“triple drop" but recently has been renamed
Multiple lines entrance lines exist
on this rapid, but there is only one way to go at the bottom, far
right. After an initial fifteen foot drop, fast moving boils lead into
another ten to fifteen feet of vertical drop into a massive pillow hole
formed by the water refracting off the left wall, and then one more
drop into a sticky hole at the bottom. This one isn’t easy to
style, and at some flows you can surf out of the bottom hole…
Ryan and Devin were the only ones fired up about
our first trip,
and neither made it through the bottom hole upright, but one got lucky
and flushed through, and we had one swimmer into the large pool below.
Spike at 400cfs.
Corey Boux at a lower flow, showing that the pillow hole still packs a
Just below the rapid
another small drop leads right to a large flat
slab on river right, the most popular camping spot on Dinkey Creek.
Proximity to the water is great, but early morning sunlight and the low
elevation warmth of Dinkey Creek can lead to some early starts on day