Pictures and Stories

The Divide

We are back in Victoria. The trip turned out slightly shorter than expected and took us 11 days. The first 4 days were spend portaging 30 km over Robson Pass. We started fast the first two days and those two days were pretty hard on our bodies. Our feet were sore from hiking in neoprene boots since the soles are not very stiff. Every kilometer was hiked three times, once up with the boats and paddling gear, then down again and up one more time with a pack of food and camping gear. Most of the time, we would divide the day up into chunks of 4km. We would walk the boats up 4km, then walk back and get the gear and so on. The elevation gain to the pass was close to 1000 meters. So we had to climb 2000 vertical meters and descent 1000 vertical meters in those 4 days.
The portage turned out to be slightly longer since the waterlevels were low for the first 5 km. Then, however, the first major glacier fed into the river and that rose the level so much that the water was in the trees in the evening.
The portage was followed by 7 days on the river. The character of the river was alluvial flats with canyon sections in between. Although the water was very high in the upper reaches of the river, we could paddle a lot and had mostly short portages around some severe drops that we did not want to run. The portages were mostly around nasty riverwide pourover and ledge holes. Some drops were also severely undercut or had wood in them. On some drops, we walked the gear, to run empty boats.
Jan had a swim in the Bridge Canyon, where his boat got stuck up side down against a headwall and he could not roll. After visiting a few undercuts and going so deep that there was no daylight to be seen, he could selfrescue himself and his boat.
The weather was spectacular for most of the time with sunny, very warm days and cold nights that kept the bugs down. It rained only rarely, once very hard though. The water was freezing and drained a lot of energy out of our bodies while paddling white water.
These are some statistics:
Total length of portages: 33.5 km
Longest portage: 30 km
Number of portages on the river: 6
Distance walked: 100 km
Distance on the river: 120 km

We would like to thank our Sponsors for their Support: Kokatat, Bell Canoe Works, Robson Kayaks, NorthWater, and Western Canoeing.
We would also like to thank the folks at Wild Blue Yonder Rafting from Grande Cache for their suppport and the helpful information they provided.
See you in the wild, driven by muscle power!