Elk (Carter County), Tennessee, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||100 fpm|
|Max Gradient||280 fpm|
|Elk River at Big Falls|
|virtual-10481||250 - 700 cfs||IV-V(V+)||-04h04m||514.3 cfs (running)|
Clay Wright contributed on 2002-03-06 02:57:09 :
Big Falls at top has been run, with cut head and a broken back (oc-1) but several clean ones. Some flat, but good rapids, one chunky double ledge, Twisting Falls portage (narrow and high, but not sketch) then a 10-15' and a ramping 33'er which is sweet! Long shuttle the only drawback to this cool run.
There are many good drops on here. There is about 2 miles of flatwater after big falls, before you get into the rapids. The first is a nice double drop, then a couple of nasty ledge holes, then a manky sieved out boulder jumble that often has many strainers, preventing passage. Best walked on the right.
Some more class 3 brings you to the big drops. There are about 8-10 of them, some dropping up to 25 feet or so. They are all ledge/slide combinations, none of which are really difficult, but some have some beatdown potential. Most are class 4-4+ with maybe one or two being easy fives. Then it chills, the scenery picks up and nice bedrock class 3 picks up.
Be on the lookout for a gorging up and some gradient downstream, because the portage is coming. Get out and walk on the left. It is a little scary, but to portage without going all the way up and over the mountain, which would suck horribly, one must scoot along a raised ledge right above the class 6 waterfall. Just go slow and be carefull.
Slide back in for a sticky 6 foot ledge hole with a wall just downstream backing it up. It bends to the left and goes down a corridor before turning back right and falling off a 15 footer and then a 35 footer. After this the run peters out for a mile before you reach the takeout. Awesome run.