River: Ottawa (middle channel)
Level: 7 1/4
Paddlers: Me, Rick, Laura
We had a great day on the middle channel today, playing at 7/8 Hole and Left-Side before heading down.
For those of you who don’t know the story of Iron Ring, the rapid is fine at lower water levels. Above about 6 on the gauge, people avoid it and take a channel to the right called “Little Trickle”. This is mainly because of the ‘Room of Doom’. On the river right side, at the bottom of the drop is a triangular notch in the rock, big enough for 1 or two kayaks. The water simply pushes in and recirculates there. Once you’re in, you can’t get out. The bottom of the drop is pretty much a river-wide hole and if you hit it and flip, the water pushes you either into the Room of Doom, or slams you against the rock wall on the river left side. We got out to check it out along with about 10 others from another group.
The only line I could see was to get up on the curler along the right and ride it through the foam pile. Getting onto the curler seemed like a feat in itself, but if you rode alongside the curler without flipping you would likely make it through as well. We watched two guys run it, both flipping, but avoiding the Room of Doom. Rick and Laura convinced me that I could run it, and would set safety for me just incase. I was the third and last of the approximately 15 people on the shore. The rest either walked around or took ‘Little Trickle’ down.
Thank goodness my line worked! As I was coming up to the drop, I couldn’t see the lines, but I saw Rick pointing right, so I changed my angle, and ended up right where I wanted to be. I made it through upright, got caught up in the boils below a bit, but stayed up the whole way. My line was bomber! This was my first time ever running Iron Ring at high-water. In fact, it was my first time even looking at and contemplating running Iron Ring at higher water.
Here is the video. You can’t see the dangers in the video, so it seems a little anti-climactic, however, if you have ever seen this rapid at high water and the dangers, then you will appreciate why I feel pretty proud about making it through alive!
Video graciously provided by Grahame H.