The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Sunday Jul 24, 2005
Kayak: Si Wiles, Cheryl Robinson, Marcus ??
Open Canoe: Tony Shaw
Organizer: Simon Wiles
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 300
Author: Cheryl

The AuSable is a beautiful Chasm that is rated between class 3 through 5. The river has previously been closed to kayakers and other watercrafts except for the Ausable raft company which only run the short class 3 section.

Si took part in the 1st study and advised that we should sign up for the next one. I was a bit apprehensive as I knew nothing was portageable, river scouting was limited and to top it one of the rapids would be full of I beams.

The great thing was that I would be able to scout all the rapids from the Chasm company's grounds. If I decided not to run it I could do so before I even got in my boat...Once your on your can't take off.

We met up with Tony Shaw and another paddler called Marcus and agreed this would be our group for the river.

I am going to skip most of the part where we spent a good 2 hours talking, filling in forms and scouting the rapids.

Tony and I walked along the chasm and eagerly eyed up every rapid and discussed the lines, and where we would need to take out to scout. I think Tony had already decided to run it; I scouted the last one and knew I wanted to be a part of the river.

We were the 2nd group to put on, and it is quite intimidating having the organizers watching and filming your every move, heightened by the fact hundreds of tourist are eagerly watching at the little duck (us) 100ft below shouting and cheering at us...

The first drop (4) which can be seen from the road was a beautiful two stage drop then straight down through a series of three holes. Very fun and the group in front took advantage of running it a few times before we got there.

The next drop (4) and probably the hardest were made even more difficult by the fact no sneak chute existed at this low level. By the time we had scouted, the other groups were catching up. We watched intently has a few paddlers opted for the gnarly line and I ran the top section, quickly eddied out and did a grade 5 portage round enabling me to run the bottom of the rapid (4) a fun steep set of ledges forming various holes with a run out that conveniently smashes in to a wall. This was actually easier to avoid than it looked.

Then final rapid (4) came up probably a little too quickly. On this one I was glad I scouted from above. Scouting at river level wasn't too easy; we opted to scout from our boats.

The difficulty of this rapid is heightened by two nicely I beams that have washed into it.

The first stops you making a nice easy ferry to the right, the second and larger one comes in if you miss that ferry because the water pushes you right towards it.

I personally had a bit of a panic at the top of this not only because I knew I had to nail the line, but the last part of it is a really nasty hole that pushes water into a slight undercut.

I was glad but sad the hardest part was over.

Paddling through the reminder of the chasm was beautiful; it felt such an honor to be part of a minority being able to run the river.

After a man made chute that the AuSable chasm has created to entertain rafter and Tubers (they put in below the last rapid), the river pretty much goes flat. We were concerned that as the river widened the water flowing would not be enough to get was bare minimum and we managed to scrape out.

The day was perfect and I was pleased to discover Tony was the first canoeist and I was the first female to run the chasm.

FANTASTIC, if you have the chance to run this go, play a part in the study and have out the organizers insist you scout before you run. The scouting costs $11 because you have to go in to the AuSable Chasm trails.

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