Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beginners Rock Isle Pierre!!

The Isle Pierre Rapids located on the Nechako River is an excellent place to learn some basic whitewater skills. Located just 40 minutes out of Prince George, it's a favorite run among beginners and novices and is a great introduction to big water. The Nechako River drains a significant portion of the central interior of British Columbia. By the time it reaches Isle Pierre, it has a lot of volume which gives it some push in the rapids, formed around several large rocky islands.

In some places there are large boils and strong eddy lines, and in the main rapid there's the infamous Isle Pierre whirlpool, as shown in the picture below (grade II at this level).

In high water (+3.5 m on the online gauge), the main rapid has large standing waves at the top and powerful boily water below --- often quite intimidating for beginners. You can decide to run it, like Jess Rayner in the picture below, or take the left hand channel and miss it completely.

By summer, the Nechako is also a fairly warm river as the area it drains is mostly low and mid elevation watersheds. This is a particularly nice characterisitc when swimming is a possibility. Despite being a strong swimmer, Dan managed to stay in his boat on this run pictured below. Nice work Dan!!
Halt! How dare you take my picture! I heard tube skirts were a big hit this summer. Very svelte.

Apart from Isle Pierre, the Nechako River right in Prince George can also be a decent place to practice skills like eddy turns, ferries, rolls, and all the flatwater moves you can muster. Good times! See you on the river...

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