Kimpton Brook, New Hampshire, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV(V) (for normal flows)|
[Initial information supplied by local paddlers.]
Comments from Vincent Dude
It has three whitewater sections, each about a half mile long, separated by flatwater. Running all three could be done by paddling through the flatwater, also each a half mile, or by setting up multiple shuttles. All three sections are narrow III+/IV, the upper section has one portage/class V drop and the lower section has one potage/class V drop.
Kimpton Brook requires more rain than nearby Walker Brook and rises and drops faster
than Walker Brook.
First recorded decent 4/18/08 by Vincent Dude
Ran Kimpton Brook today at what I would call minimum required flow.
While the whitewater is plenty interesting, it is cut into three sections by two marshes. Throw in all the
of exploring a new river and you can imagine we were in and out of our boats often. With a touch more water and a triple shuttle set up, this would be a much more fluid run. That said, we still had fun.
The upper section is narrowest obviously and starts out by quickly ramping up from class II at the put in by my mailbox to a technical class IV boulder garden with slide finish right above a 30+ foot slide that was a real adventure. All the water is funneled by a rock wall once part of an old mill and the tongue pours onto this slide that features a couple dips and rails across and diagonal to the fall line. My wife said I really ought to be first since it is across the street from our house so I gave it a shot entering the way Nate and I presumed would be best. I got slowed by the first rail, came flying over its rooster tail and discovered a second rail hidden in the froth which flipped me so I spent the remaining 15 feet of the slide upside down wondering if I would scrap off my face or end up paralyzed when I hit the rocks in the landing. Vivid imagination aside, I finished the rapid on the intended line, just not upright, and the boat was stripped off of me in the pool below. I popped up onto my feet, grabbed the boat, shared the "I'm ok" signal, and envied Eric's wise choice to sit this one out. Though Nate is a much better paddler, I was still surprised when he wanted to run it after watching me. He did, and it went exactly the same for him. Pleased to have my face and neck intact, even though my skirt was puntured, we carried on over the remaining class III boulders and one straightforward slide dropping 8? feet.
We had a car to skip the first marsh and proceeded to the middle section. Very fun, constant class III possibly IV, a few drops 4-6 feet into pools and one 2 footer that feeds you onto a pinning rock if you are not careful to aggressively avoid it. Proved that by pinning myself pretty good for a few seconds. This middle section between the two marshes is the longest, nearly a mile or mile and a quarter and is busy, fun, and not too hard anywhere. A real treat that would only get better with a bit more water.
We then paddled the lower marsh and started the third section, which contains the most difficult and likely dangerous drop(s). Just below the marsh a few class III+ ledges quickly leads into a sprawled wide rapid that still had lots of wood. The drop probably goes at IV and ends in a nice 8-10 foot slide/fall with a good eddy after it. Nate ran it and got out. Eric and I skipped it because failing to eddy would send you down the hard V rapids leading to the gnarly 25 foot high speed slide/falls with rocks blocking the preferred approach, half the entrance, and some of the landing. This is a tough drop with a tough lead in waiting for somebody with a lot of skill or not much to loose. We put in just below the big gnarly drop and enjoyed some more class IV dwindling to class III for another half mile.
Aside from shuttling issues and the wood above the hardest drop (which I will take care of soon), the river offers a lot of variety and would certainly be worthy of another shot with more water. Keep it in mind when other stuff is too high or there is a huge storm in progress or just finishing. The upper section rises and falls faster than the other two sections due to the lack of an upstream marsh.
Walker Brook, a class IV gem with no flatwater and a class V finale, is just 5 miles away and runs whenever Kimpton is, even more often.
Many thanks to Nate and Eric for making this adventure possible. I have been staring at it ever since I moved here. Thanks also to the locals who said hi and even helped pull some wood as we passed behind their houses.
Added 4/21/08 by Nate
CL V slide (beginning): We both tried center-ish entrances (myself right of center), boofing off the top to clear the ledge which you can clearly see before the water fans out. After we each cleared the ledge, it looked like it would be clean sliding. However, there was some other obstacle hidden by the water that piton-ed each of us and flipped us, leading to our boats riding us down the slide. Far right entrance has virtually no pool for a landing, though may be possible if you could finish the slide sideways? Far left looks very difficult to get to, and the piton below the initial vertical drop is far more significant. If anyone finds a line through this, I would love to know what worked out. I would recommend face masks, gloves and elbow pads before attempting this one.
CL V (roadside, towards the end): From the road, you can see the cl 4 series of drops before this drop. Two more cl 4 before the 5. The first doesn't look particularly challenging, but finding a line through could prove quite frustrating. The second would be a gem if it finished in a pool. Instead, in finishes by passing through a mess of F U rocks which would prevent any way to cleanly link the drop with the 5 immediately below. The CL 5 itself may prove to be a 4, if it ever gets run. Getting to the entrance is extremely challenging, and the line looks like right going left. Due to the incredible amount of submerged F U rocks on this river, be wary. What looks like a clean line often turned into a rock bashing at best.
Added 3/30/10 by Vincent
Creekers take note that this is usually running when Fowler River is running and vice versa, has seemed to me more reliable than the correlation with the Smith in predicting the Fowler
4/12/11 by Vincent Dude
Whenever Walker is running higher like it is, nearby Kimpton Brook gets going. The gradient varies widely as demonstrated by the big class V on the upper section followed a mere 1/4 mile later by a big swamp. Chatting with yesterday's adventurous gang, they were in agreement that we still need to find the way to get into the fluid portion of that upper swamp so as to be able to connect the upper and middle sections by paddling. My past experience, and theirs, is that once the level is high enough to paddle, the momentum of the main flow as you approach the swamp keeps you to the right and you end up in somebody's back yard, literally on their lawn. It is frustrating because from the road you can see that the swamp is deep with a channel out in the middle, but how to connect? The lower swamp is brief and easy to enter/follow through.
That is the skinny on the swamps.
The drops vary widely. Upper section beginning at Quaker Path mailboxes quickly becomes IV bumping up to V as the boulders get bigger and more complex. A gentle slide ends the boulder course and leaves you in the small backwater pool above the big drop. Sure I've "run" it. Half upright, half grinding on my helmet upside-down. Same for the guy that tried it right after me. I am sure it can be done fully upright with more catlike reflexes. Potential for some decent scrapes but hard to imagine a serious injury and the shape of the rock that makes this big slide fans the water out in a way that you are not facing a powerful hole or anything like that. The rest of the way to the upper marsh is III/IV read and run fun
Middle section gradually picks up from the outflow of upper marsh, passes behind our police Chief's house (Buckie is a great guy), and crosses under 4A, starts to pick up, clean 4 footer, some boulder garden, river splits, go left unless water is REALLY high, left channel fun boulders, snowmobile bridge just before a double 4 footer, multiple good lines but also a couple rocks you don't want to broach or get hung up on (good idea to scout your first time) then eases up as it crosses back under 4A and flushes in to lower swamp.
WARNING on lower section......outflow from lower swamp crosses under North Wilmot Road and then immediately there is currently a hazard. An eccentric local has run a few wires/ropes across the Brook. Loose enough one person could hold them up for others. If I go I may have a certain tool with me. Just as well that this hazard is here because this section quickly gets very serious and is in need of some cleaning. The entrance to a clean slide into a pool is blocked by treesand logs. 20 minutes of effort would easily open a good line. After the nice clean drop (which is easily seen from 4A) Kimpton hugs 4A and there is a technical approach to the gnarly 25 footer. This drop can only be seen by getting right up next to it on the rocks along it. It has been done by a Pat G. of Franconia and the staircase of 3 foot drops that follow it have been done by many of us. After these, there are a few more fun little drops III+ easing off until you reach the bridge under Patterson Road (directly off 4A)
In all, the approach and big drops on both the upper and lower sections warrant a V. If these are portaged, a class IV paddler will have a great technical run, and hopefully will agree with me that it is worth the swamps and class III sections that fill out the mileage. It is great to keep in mind when other stuff is too high. It does not hold. Whatever is supplying the water must keep doing so or else KImpton dies off withing a day. I feel like we are in a rare multiday window right now with the snowpack/temps/precip this week.
new put in is almost 2 miles further up past Quaker Path at Gile State Forest picnic area. put in at parking lot and a gentle meander around the corner leads to the hardest rapid of this new addition, remnants of an old water-powered business (there something like 5 "back in the day"). Sneak route follows small flow of water along river right, main flow drops a good 8 feet with a few boulders to watch out for IV+ (and a little wood in it right now, easily removable but take sneak right until it is removed)
Next mile plus is varying quickwater, I, II, maybe a little II+, a short maze made by a recently busted beaver dam (way through obvious), a few driveway bridges, all runnable but one blocked by wood at the moment, all great fun, narrow riverbed, beautiful scenery, and to my 4 year old it was full of "HUGE" rapids (lots of II)
About a quarter mile before the old put in at the Quaker Path mailboxes, there is a nice class III drop and then boogie I/II carries you to the previous put in and sections already described in earlier posts.
In all, I think that it is worth adding this stuff for sure. No flatwater, a III, a IV+, and beautiful.