Fall Ice House Adventure

Posted January 31, 2008 by Robyn Suddeth

Tessa, Adam F., Steve S., Heather and I did a fun private trip this fall on the Ice House run of the South Fork of Silver Creek (off Highway 50 above Pollock Pines). For those of you familiar with Coloma on the South Fork of the American, the Ice House put-in is about a 45 minutes drive east of there. It is a Class IV run which flows during a small 2-week time period in November, when Ice House Reservoir releases anywhere between 500 and 1000 cfs out of the dam. Here’s a review I posted about it in a rafting forum when we got home, in case anyone is thinking about joining in next year!

Ice House was fun this last weekend! There were an unbelievable amount of people there. The weather was beautiful, and the trees weren’t nearly as bad as I imagined after hearing people’s stories from years past. In our group we had two kayaks, and two small 10 foot rafts. I was one of the rafters (we were R-2ing), and had a great time in that little boat. For anyone else thinking of rafting it, I think you could fit an AVON Explorer in that canyon as well. (Flows were around 500 cfs). The kayakers had to portage around four trees, and we had to portage five. The two most exciting rapids were the very first one, and one closer to the middle of the run (after the higher alternate take-out) with a huge hole at the bottom. One of the rafts flipped in the first rapid against a tree. They hit it dead on, which seemed like a good plan B if you weren’t going to get around it, but the boat was so small it got turned sideways and flipped over in an amazingly short period of time. In the second big rapid I mentioned, we saw two kayaks surf in the hole, even after having pretty good lines. Thankfully, both paddlers made it out without flipping over or swimming. (Steve, one of the guys in our group, was one of them. Another on-looker later told him at takeout that Steve was his new hero for managing to paddle out of it!) After seeing Steve surf, we opted to portage our raft around. Following the big hole rapid are about five miles of Class II. The day ends with a really fun Class IV gorge with some good-sized, but fairly easy drops in it. The last release for this year is tomorrow.


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