RECAP: KERN RIVER: lower run report (8/27/95)

ROYAL FLUSH (V.5) is about 12 miles below the dam and is the one class V on the run. In the Cassidy/Calhoun guidebook they rate it V/VI and state that "even experts should portage above 2400 cfs when the river starts washing boats right over the ledge at the bottom into unspeakable dangers." Chuck Stanley, in a difficult-to-understand passage, basically says he portages. The portage is very easy. There is a sign warning boaters of the rapid 100 yds above it. The rapid consists a first drop of several feet - at these flows it comes out in a V at the end, but from there is goes about 20 yards more straight into a monster hole in the middle of the river. The left edge of this is flanked by an undercut wall, then there's another undercut/swirling eddy just below. The ledge spoken of in Cassidy/Calhoun's book is about 15-20 ft downstream of the monster hole. At the flows we had there was a little water going over this ledge. Most of the water pours over to the left, while there is a right chute with a substantial amount of water as well. This right chute is backed up by a partly submerged rock to the left and the exit to the right is a sieve. I saw two possible routes through - one was to get far left initially, then try and stay far left through the main hole (you could skirt it here where it flushes, but you're also right next to the undercut), and the rest would be easy. Alternatively, keep the boat on the right and go over some smaller holes that flush, finally making the plunge over the right chute. I decided to take the right route. I wasn't intending on catching a right eddy midway down, but after I jumped the first drop on the right (boat aimed right) I spun around and decided that going into the eddy the best plan, which I did. (I suggest making this part of the plan initially). >From here peel-out into the current but stay way right, then bumble through the main hole where it flushes and jump the last ledge down straight. All went as planed, and the last drop didn't suck me in at all (it looks like a substantial reversal). I was in a Dancer. I had run the rapid 3 times at 1000-1200 cfs - at these flows my route is essentially the same, except I don't go over the last chute. Instead, go left around the large ledge (downstream from the main hole) and through the left channel where most of the water pours.

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