Ok I know this is kinda old news...but no one ever got the real story of what happened the day myself and Ryan Lucas decided to run Racehorse Creek Falls. We were on our way back to Montana from a good old Hood River Trip and I got a text from Fred! He sent a cell phone photo of Racehorse falls and said it was perfect level! I have been interested in this drop ever since Erik Boomer ran it in 2009, which you can see here Erik's First Descent!. So without much thought we turned the car around and rallied from Yakima all the way to the Canadian border and the city of Bellingham.
After about 5 hours of sleep we awoke to a nice cloudy day and some serious amount of shit talking going around the crew. Fred called up a photog buddy from school who had been wanting to take some kayaking shots. His name is Rhys Logan and this would be the perfect opportunity to capture some brown running! After a Nancy breakfast at some local fine cafe that was way too pricey we were on our way towards Mt. Baker and Racehorse Creek.
Our little crew eating some grub and talking about the brown to come!
Gnarcar and Brownbox mobbing out to the Nooksack drainage.
Once we got there a short trail run brought us to the scouting point. At first sight the drop looked good...but they always do :) After scouting and thinking a bit, I knew we were in for something crazy! The first 2 drops looked good and fun...but the big boy had some serious rock action and a very very tight line. Maybe an hour or so passed after running up and down and clearing some rocks off the shore for a clean landing sight, I decided to give it a go...Ryan was going to come with me.
So it took us awhile to decide to go, but we made the call and geared up!
The face I have going on here was kind of my feeling about the entire day...fired up and scared!
Taking our sweet time to get our boats into the canyon and finally getting in Ryan and I were both very nervous about this choice to drop in the gorge. The place was very powerful and beautiful! The tall sandstone like rocks covered in moss set the scene. Not being able to scout the 1st drop at river level I dropped in blind! It was an amazing drop...big ramp into a hole and off a 20-30 foot curtain falls. Treats were laid!!!!!! Ryan followed with a good line. We both be-bopped down the next slide and got out for one last scout!
Running this amazing drop...check the scenery!!!!
Tight shot of the first drop, I liked my red boat!
Ryan a bit more berried but having a good line.
This was the second of the 3 drops in the set. A pretty easy slide, but having a good line was necessary because the big drop was RIGHT THERE!
After a good scout and saying "ok I can't look at this thing anymore." I got in my boat said a quick prayer and peeled out into the channel. The line was tight and technical! Over a very scrapey rock staying left, but not too left, duck under the overhanging wall, sit up, stroke and stay left!!!! Freefall....Bang!!! on the reconnect, going very fast I tapped a flake sending me sideways and I went mock 5 into the pool totally sideways plaining out and doing a hockey stop like move! It was over!!!! I was almost heading downstream into the sievey pill of shot that laid down there until I hopped out of my kayak on to shore...I was stoked to be at the bottom and unscathed! Ryan was next!
Landing about to tap my stern on the flake...
Sideways going very very fast...this was an intense moment!
I don't even want to know how nervous Ryan was after watching me go, but I have a feeling that he was shitting his pants. He rallied up quick! Watching Ryan come over the 60+ foot waterfall was SICK...I thought he was right on line and all of the sudden he was airborne and sideways! Connecting hard on his edge he kickflipped and just missed his helmet on some rocks ripping his GoPro off...another connection sent his into his second kickflip into the small shallow pool. He was out of his boat quick and standing up in waist deep water. A quick tap on the head signaling he was good to go and we rescued his boat and gear. His only injury was some bloody knuckles and a hurt ego :) Walking back to the car was tiring and long, but I was satisfied about the huck session and overall success. At least we were all healthy and walking right! Ryan's crash he took 3rd place in the Rider of the Year "Carnage"!
Ryan dropping in and looking good...
A bit too far right made for a bad reconnection bucking Ry over...
Kickflipping on to his face and barely missing his head!
In the pool luck to be walking and not really hurt.
Ryan Lucas, Evan Garcia, Fred Norquist!!!!!!!
Sammy Freihofer looking very good while running safety!!!!! This was the whole crew - Rhys!
Racehorse was a cool day of this season for me...it kind of symbolized the next level of hucking to me...I have been running big drops and pushing my limits for a long time now...but I feel like there is a curtain class of big drops where I know I can stick it 99% of the time. I love running those kind of drops it builds confidence and lets you gain air control. This drop however lays in that "Next Level" category. You know the line is there, but running it is risking some big consequences. I also love these drops because when you are at the bottom that feeling of success, winning, and reaching a goal is what it's all about!
Check out the video here in Bomb Flow TV's Episode 2 Pacific Northwest!