Words By: Brandon Willms
Brandon checking in here after a busy month of awesome trips both for myself and with work. I have a few sets of photos stocked up so will get a couple posts out in the next bit. Early in July I went on a trip up to Jasper to deliver some canoes. I managed to get a couple of days of kayaking in while I was out there with Ethan Begley. Anyone who has paddled with this guy knows he is a constant ball of energy and I was certainly working hard to keep up!
Some of the fun rapids on Malign Canyon.
We started the mission with a very fast lap down one of his local creeks “Beauty Creek”. This is a tiny trickle of a creek that plunges through such tight canyons that it offers some pretty full on kayaking. Some of the drops have been featured in the famous “Twitch” video. Needless to say we paddled the standard section in just under an hour (including the hike in) so that Ethan could get back to work. I finished the day with a solo paddle on Malign Canyon, which was really gorgeous.
My lumbarsis line was fairly average at best...... Photo: Rick Boden from Workabove Stock Photography
The following day, Ethan led me on a bomb lap of the Fraser Pipeline section and we then set our sights on a rarely run creek, Poboktan. Ethan told me his beta was that it required a 5.5 km hike, had a canyon with waterfalls, a portage, and hadn’t been done for 10 years. Sounds like adventure to me. So we hit the trail mid afternoon and went in search of fun.
Poboktan's own "Portage Drop" is still up for grabs?
What we found was a section with some sweet whitewater that was all clean except for the expected portage around a farily gnarly twisting, piton filled plunge. There were two very cool and unique waterfalls and lots of fun boulder boogy. Heres the details:
The River Report – Poboktan Creek
Location: Jasper, AB
Our water level: No Gauge; Fraser was running around 140cms at red pass; Athabasca was around 200cms at Jasper; check photo for visual level at the 93 north bridge.
Level Reference Photo. This is looking at the 93N Bridge foundation, upstream river left.
Grade (at this level): V
Character (at this level): Starts with open continuous river bed. At the first horizon line it drops into the canyon. Low volume creeking; boulder rapids, bedrock rapids, waterfall, ramping drop; Portageable, but challenging canyon terrain. Safety is difficult, come with a team of four for best results.
Directions: Park vehicle on river left upstream of the 93N bridge. Hike up well-trodden path on river right starting at a ranger station. Hike 5.5 km until the path gets close to the river.
- Ethan tried to paddle this run way too high on a different occasion and got skunked on most of it. The level we paddled it at was great for everything except the gnar drop. It could be run higher for sure, but will have a limiting flow where some of the drops will be barring the way rendering it not worth the effort.
- The gnar drop is going to take a different set of eyes at a different water level to make it feasible. We didn’t want any of what we saw.
- The falls bellow Gnar drop is a fantastic ramp onto a launch pad. The level was primo. Difficult to set safety.
- The ramping drop/slide is ton of fun with a long canyon lead in. The line is wider than it looks.
Top left: Poboktan Creek around the put-in. Top right: Ethan on the first drop of the canyon.
Bottom: Myself running the slide drop. Photo: Ethan Begley
All said and done, Poboktan is a lot of work and the quality stuff is not relatively long, which is why it has seen so little action over the years. However, it is very close to Beauty creek and flows at the same time, hence making a combo day very viable and inviting. The whitewater it has is very exciting and unique also adding to its appeal. It is a run I can see myself doing again the next time I’m around. Its worth checking out!
So keep watching here for more trip reports and I would always love to hear back from people about what they think of my river descriptions and info. Feel free to get in touch with us at the shop.
Bye for now.