Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quebec Day 1 - Ausable Pit Stop

Despite living in New York for 4 years, I never made the pilgrimage north to Quebec. For a few of those years I was probably too green and to be honest I didn't even know there was any decent boating up there. Even though I know live 12 hours further South, recovering from the bum shoulder gave a good excuse to choose a destination that wasn't really hard core but I had been curious about for years. Plus, it's like a foreign country... they don't even speak English.

After a typically tardy departure on Friday night, we had a relatively smooth drive up to New York. Reaching the high peaks region several hours ahead of the other truck (delayed due to pink eye), we killed sometime that morning checking out the North Fork of the Boquet, East Branch of the Ausable, and lake Champlain before heading to our quick fix for breaking up the drive to Quebec: the Ausable Chasm.

I had run the Chasm a few years earlier during a flow study, but this trip was still a little unknown due to an I-Beam wedged in the Chasm (we had no idea if it was passable or portagable) and rumors of Chasm Company hostility. Our pink eye man was sitting this one out, but wanted to spectate and shoot photos, so he paid the access fee and scouted for us. When he returned, we were pumped to hear that sneaking under the I-Beam river right wasn't too sketchy (500cfs), so we geared up above the powerhouse and headed down the stairs.

Ausable Chasm Put In Scene (Photo: Jeff Moore).

After reaching the river, we were all pretty blown away by the put in setting: big gorge walls, a 35 ft waterfall, and warm up slides falling away downstream. We quickly headed down through the warm up slides taking out above the lead in to elephant rock. We hopped out and scouted the entire section down to the left hand turn. I was a bit nervous when a guided chasm tour showed up, but they were friendly and didn't bother us about being out to scout. Everyone ran right at elephant rock as the left looked sieved out and nasty. Not all lines were pure, but everyone cam through okay, and eddied out right before ferrying and entering the heart of the chasm above Mike's Hole. We took another scout river left before bombing through the slightly sticky cliffed out hole. At this point the whitewater was over, but we still had the I-Beam to deal with. Upon seeing it, we all quickly snuck right underneath it without issue thanks to the beta from our scouter. At this point we had a short while to revel in the cliff walls, which are pretty much without comparison on the East Coast. All too soon, the Chasm ends, leaving only a class II scrapey paddle out to the car. Despite only having about 6 rapids, the Chasm runs all summer and is totally unique for the East Coast, making it quite classic.

Steve's First Stroke After Too Many Hours in the Truck (Photo: JM).

Tony Cruising into the Walled Out Eddy Below Elephant Rock (Photo: JM).

Heading into the Walled Out Mike's Hole (Photo: JM).

JJ Clearing Mike's from Overhead (Photo: JM).

We Were All Relieved that it Wasn't an Issue. Hopefully the Chasm Company has Removed it by Now (Photo: JM).

What the Chasm's All About. Too Bad it's Not Longer (Photo: JM).

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