The Kiytotsugawa is the only river that
heard a lot about. It flows through kind of the Grand Canyon of Japan.
It also gets a low of snow slides in the canyon, and snow bridges are
common. Not all are guaranteed to be runnable or portagable. Talk about
an element of the unknown. While mostly a class IV run, the Kiytotsu
Canyon also has one mandatory class V rapid with a nasty eddy hole, and
a half hour portage around a big siphon. If that's not enough to get
any kayaker excited, I don't know what is.
The river started of meandering through some beautiful easy whitewater
and slowly dropped into the canyon. Just as the walls rose above
the river, the scale of whitewater increased and we were running some
high quality, pushy, walled out rapids. We scramble into an eddy with
vertical walls on both sides. Lincoln and I ferry across to scout the
infamous rapid. It's tough to get out and scout in this canyon, we have
to climb out of our kayaks in a crack and keep them on rope while
scouting. Thankfully all looks good, even at this fairly high flow.
Yoshihiro Takahashi enters the crux rapid.
Each team member successfully battles
through the rapid, a few getting solid cycles in the eddy but paddle
out. It's a good thing because there is nowhere to get out downstream
and swimming is very dangerous. A few more mandatory but clean rapids
follow, one a big, blind melting move. Go fast and hope for the best.
Heath Weir and Lincoln Taylor below the toughest Kiyotsu section.
No way out down here, Diane Gaydos goes
right of a ledge hole.
Briefly things open up and the
whitewater takes a step back. Open up is a relative term, hiking out
might be possible down here but it certainly would not be easy.
Daniel Brasuell in the open section.