All kinds of opinions float around about this run, from highly positive
mentions of big rapids and some slides to dismal stories of a steep,
sieve filled boulder gardens. The latter reports made the run low on my
must run list. Matt Thomas and I were camped off Icehouse Road, a
little sore from a
full day on Golden
. We decided it would be
nice to take it easy the next day. In the morning we met up with Scott
Ligare and Thomas Moore, somehow fooling ourselves into believing
Silver Fork would be a quick easy day...
The shuttle was nice and quick, and a picturesque put in had us in a
relaxed frame of mind, except perhaps Thomas, who was aware of what we
were about to drop into.
Thomas scouts the first rapid of
As we came to the first horizon line two things
ostensible. It was a big rapid, and flows were high. I was still
recovering from a sprained ankle & bruised heel, and relied on
beta from Matt Thomas.
Moore was willing to probe, and
sold us on the rapid.
Thomas finishes the first rapid,
it was considerably larger than
it looked from the top.
A short pool vanished around the corner, and as we made the
gradient picked up and we bombed through a set of slides, trying to
avoid large holes when possible and melting through some mandatory
a brief surf Thomas realized
the river was higher than he had
ever seen it, and the lines weren't the same. Scouting more drops was
in order, and we quickly portaged around a nasty hole.
Once done with our portage, the river dropped over
with a big toilet bowl eddy on the left, and then dropped again.
Moore lines up just left of
center for the toilet bowl slide.
Thomas carries momentum into the
second part of the drop that
hides a somewhat retentive hole.
We made a quick portage around the next rapid due
creating a massive hole just upstream of a sieve, it might have gone
but the risk vs reward factor was too low for my taste.
river took a quick bend
to the left, then got incredibly steep and
not clean. Thomas mentioned that with less water you can push down into
some lower eddies, but we deemed it prudent to start our portage a
little higher up.
quick ferry avoids lots of extra
climbing in the steep section, and
Matt Thomas gets it done.
Looking back upstream at Carwash. There is a big
this, and according to the rumor mill the whole set has been run, but
no one has stayed in their boat either.
"Bruised Balls Falls" is immediately downstream of Carwash. It has been
run many times, but is notorious for a shelf in the bottom, and famous
for a run that resulted in a broken bulkhead and damaged goods.
Thomas and Thomas Moore debating
the line for bruised balls.
We all decided to play it safe with the high
the waterfall might be safer with more padding.
with the falls at the top of the photo.
Below Bruised Balls we were able to stay in our boats for
of the run out, which consisted of steep mank and not so steep mank,
all the way to the confluence with the South Fork American. Somewhere
in the mix of the boulders was a very exciting slide to auto boof over
a meaty hole, quite fun and out of character.
Moore firing away in the steep
I know I will be back on Silver Fork again, yet do not consider it
classic. Some do. Because of water levels it was not the quick run we
were expecting, the
three miles and change took us longer than eight had on Golden Gate. If
flows are medium and a group member knows the line it is reportedly a
If I remember correctly we had around 800cfs at Kyburz