Saturday, September 4, 2010

Montana Creek @ 450 cfs

Last year Paul Schauer, Thai Verzone, and I ran Montana Creek near Talkeetna at 350 cfs on the NOAA Guage. It was super fun but a bit bumpy:

Yesterday Gordy Vernon and I drove up to Talkeetna after eating lunch at Senior Taco in Wasilla (super good, authentic Mex) just to do the lower canyon on Montana Cr. The NOAA Guage was reading about 465 cfs at UTC midnight (=4 PM AK time) and the USGS read 451 cfs; both gave about 5.4 feet. This was a juicier, cushier flow but not pushy. I'd say it was pretty close to ideal.

Gordy drops "Big Sky Country":

The crux for me, besides making the far left side of "Big Sky Country" is the mini boulder garden about three drops later, below both "Big Sky" and "Chockstone" and signaled by a big central boulder that you go left around then hard right then left again. There was a wee bit of wood, but nothing to get hung up about.

Montana's lower canyon a bit like a backwards Ship Creek lower canyon in that the hardest drop is the "Big Sky" falls right off the bat. There were a total of five drops in the short run and for me it's worth the drive. If we'd got an earlier start we would've walked up the extra mile or so for the upper canyon that has another five or so good drops. Unlike Ship Creek a swim here might have consequences with all the big boulders (foot entrapment, stuffed under an undercut). The run I like to do is shorter than Ship but longer than the lower canyon on Bird Creek -- harder to flip than Bird but more satisfying in a way and doesn't need the flip, I guess.

"Chockstone" often has wood but this time it was in a safe place:

Anyway, this info might be useful to some....Mark Oathout ran the creek in his IK, too, at a juicy flow last month.


  1. When you run a very rocky stream like this do you put padding (eg a foam bed mat) in the bottom of your boat to protect your butt from bashing?!

  2. Nope, there's a seat in there and that seems to do the trick.

  3. Pretty Sweet Level! This looks like about the level I ran it with Paul in September '08! After hiking my kayak in 5 miles to Jarvis Creek a week ago, I was starting to have pack raft envy... but as meaty as the canyon on was, I was glad I was in my creekboat. Low water Jarvis could be pretty sweet, but mighty bony.


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