Outside Online’s recent article sheds light on Why California’s Record Snow Year Is Bad for Kayakers. Trillions of gallons of H2O pouring from the high California peaks have turned many runs into outright deluges. Kyle Dickman explains why this is a problem.
You would think kayakers all over would be chomping at the bit after watching record precipitation build up in California—58 feet of snow at Squaw Valley! The reality is, the summer of 2011 may be the worst for High Sierra paddling California has seen in a while. Here’s why.
“In some basins, we’re expecting flows eighty percent higher than average,”says Frank Gehrke, a snow scientist with the California Department of Water.
Flows that high will push many runs in the High Sierra out of consideration. During years with low snow packs peak flows produce ideal kayaking conditions, which can last as long as a couple weeks on each river. This year, Gehrke expects High Sierra rivers will hold high flows until the snow is almost gone. By the time flows drop into a reasonable range, water levels will be on their way out for the season. Darren McQuoid, a Sacramento, CA-based photographer and expert kayaker, expects to see perfect flows for a day or less on Upper Cherry Creek, a Class V classic.