Eric Chance, Upper Cheakamus
If I was to design a "backyard run" it would probably be a lot
like the Upper Cheakamus (Check-a-mus). This river is not only the
work run, but so damn fun you can run laps all day. Located just
south of Whistler proper almost two miles long, the Upper Cheak
drops around 135 feet per mile. There are not a lot
of photos of the river as it's very continuous and too fun to stop and
take photos. The only glory boating here is at the put-in, the rest is
pure soul boating. A few years ago a high water event at put-in blocked
channel and forced water into a new channel. Normally this would create
a big mess, but here it formed a nice ten foot falls that is great as
long as there is enough water.
Diane Gaydos at the put-in falls.
Daniel Brasuell lines up one sweet boof.
Below the put in falls (it's easy to put
in below them) the river is non-stop III-IV action for two miles, with
one rapid verging on V in the middle. Just enough to keep you on your
toes. As we lapped this run over the week at different levels I became
amazed at how good it is. It's scary the first time because it feels
like something major is around every corner that you can't stop above,
but over time it's more fun and less stress. Even so on following laps
moves are defined enough to remain interesting, there are fun
eddies and hidden boofs to hit. Above three meters on the gauge it's
very exciting and more class V as a swim would be unpleasant and
probably result in a lost kayak. On the
other hand it took us just over ten minutes to do the run at higher
flows. The Upper
Cheakamus is simply a river that words and media can't do justice to;
even though it's short and roadside I'd consider it a bucket list run
for the pure fun factor.
Looking upstream from take out.
Rain drops and good flows.
Before the Olympics came to Whistler the
Upper Cheakamus take out was the spot to camp. Now that the athlete
village turned private home complex is just a hundred meters
away...surprisingly it's still friendly for camping in 2013, but no
idea how long that will last.
Take Out: House Rock Parking Area. From Highway 99 heading South out of
Whistler turn left onto Cheakamus Lake Road. Ignore the immediate
parking lot on the left and proceed to the first left turn before
crossing a bridge. Immediately after the turn stay right and cross the
river. After crossing the river House Rock Parking Area is the second
left and has a large parking lot and grassy area.
Put-in: From House Rock Parking Area turn left on Cheakamus Lake Road
and go upstream, just a short ways after
passing Logger's Lake trailhead on the right look for the sign
covered with kayaking stickers on your left. If it's a nice warm day
there are fun rope swings up at Logger's Lake too.
Want more beta?
and Daniel's A
For video the Upper Cheakamus is in Daniel's WA/BC 2
Camping at the Callaghan take out.