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Karl Vollmer

Folly River Fun

by Karl Vollmer, on Mon, 24 Sep 2012 | No Comments

The rain has finally come which means the rivers are all full of water again. The Folly River near Wentworth was up last Friday so Marc, Steve and I headed up to have some fun. The river is runnable when the water gage reads 1.4m, and scary-insane at 2m. On Friday it was reading 1.58m, which is just about perfect.

The Folly is about a 5km run down the mountain with three later waterfalls and a large number of smaller drops. Situated deep down in a ravine it is a committing river. Once you decide to run it, it is very difficult to get out until the end. Rather then a normal river runner or playboat, the recommended boat for this complex river is something called a creek boat. Creek boats have numerous design features that enhance your safety while running more complex rivers.

The first waterfall is the only really friendly one and is run often. After that the river twists and turns down the ravine. Lots of fallen trees and tight corners make this a potentially dangerous river if you don't know it well. The second waterfall is rarely run because of a dangerous large undercut basin at the bottom. We portaged around it, climbing down the shear rock-face and putting in just below it.

Near the end of the river there are two more technical features, a large rock sticking straight up out of which a decent-sized slide forms the first. This feature is referred to as the can opener because the rock looks like the lid of a can after it's been opened. This feature is often run, but we skipped it this time because there was a large tree jammed in it increasing the risk substantially.

The last large water fall is a zig-zag drop that has been run multiple times, but is quite complex and usually only run by the best of paddlers. We portaged over it and then headed down the rest of the river. A great ~5.5km paddle, which sadly ends in a long walk back up out of the ravine along an old road.

While this river was a lot of fun, as with all whitewater/moving water, there are inherent risks and should only be attempted by people with the proper training and experience - this river in particular, due to the significant drops, blind corners and numerous fallen trees.