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West and East Ausable Rivers, NY

Sunday Apr 18, 2010
Kayak: Eric, Pete
Inflatable: Gerard
Organizer: Eric Carpenter
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium low
Gauge (ft): 2.80
Gauge (cfs): 1300

After deciding that the Boreas definitely did not have enough water and the Hudson would be a long, cold day, we decided to head over to the high peaks to take a look at the East Branch and West Branch of the Ausable. We were treated to gorgeous views of the High Peaks shrouded in mist and snow covered. The weather was generally in the low 40's and cloudy/misty/rainy/interspersed with sun.

After hiking a section between High Falls Gorge and The Flume of the West Branch we put on and ran the hardest drop of this stretch, directly under the bridge at Whiteface- a solid Class IV which led into a short class III section before petering out class II the rest of the way to the takeout, above the Class V+/VI Flume under Rt. 86.

On the East Branch we ran from Hulls Falls, on Hulls Falls Road in Keene, down to route 9N-(2.5 miles). Everyone elected to put in below Hulls Falls. Rounding the corner, we were surprised with a class III+/IV- rapid which provided some interesting lines, but no real trouble. The next mile or so was an exercise in finding the deep water as the river opened up before constricting again at a short class III guarding Champagne Falls- class V. With 2 successful runs and 1 walk of Champagne Falls, we all ran the class IV mini gorge that followed which ended with a sweet boof move (or kiss the left rock wall move, we won't name any names!). The last mile or so was smooth sailing class II+ to the nice warm takeout vehicle. Another successful VPC outing!

Gauge info:

There is a gauge on the East Branch, just upstream of the confluence with the West Branch in Ausable Forks- this gives a gauge height reading in feet. The AW site lists a minimum of 3 feet for running the East Branch- we all felt there was plenty of water for all the drops, between Hulls Falls and Champange Falls though, you could only go a little bit lower (Maybe 2.5?).The other gauge is after the confluence just downstream of Ausable Forks- this measures the flow in CFS.

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