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Difficulty IV-V+
Length 7.75 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 06/29/2010 7:18 pm

River Description

Considered by many of today's top paddlers (Taylor Robertson, Charlie Center ect) to be the best one day run in California, Big Kimshew is a classic granite creek.

Note: all detail info (lat/long, put-in, take-out, gradient, etc) is by inference and best guess from the information provided by the post below, and by inspection of info from TopoZone. As such, none is certain, and all should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

Great photos and trip report:

Forum: BoaterTalk
Date: Apr 30 2004, 21:29 GMT
From: ClayW

Hooked up with Scott Lindgren, of SLP, as he was busy shipping out his new 'Burning Time' films (a must-see) but managed to drag him out to meet up with the very busy Taylor Robertson and Jason Hale - fresh from their 'double Dinkey' run - and head over to Big Kimshew Creek. Jed Weingarten came along and Christie D played 'River Diva' by driving the very lengthy shuttle so we could play all day!

The run starts with some class 4 and quickly drops into 'portage #1' - a mank-fest run by Steve Fisher but reccomended only to those with insurance which includes plastic surgery. Then some slides and we come to "the first 20'er' which is less vertical and more complex than the name implies. Some vert runs, some backwards, and some flat landing ensued. Multiple slides and class 4+ rapids were led sweetly by Taylor - who's lines passes easily through this experienced group. We made great progress down the river saving tons of time by his experience.

There are several well-known drops on this run - all waterfalls/cascades, and I had no idea there was som much else to the run! The rapids just keep coming - nice boogie water with trees and vegatation growth everywhere - kind Southeaster but with slicker rocks. Finally we get to the horizon-line I expected so much earlier - 35 to 40 feet of just off-vertical free-fall. Jed warned about a hard hit and a pitch-pole he experienced on his last run. Jason Hale and Taylor took one hit and dissappeared into a side-spout. Scott and I took a second hit and 45' d it a bit roughly - getting some whiplash but coming up laughing. Jed came off last - and repeated the 3rd hit and inverted landing - his Gus just arcing out over the pool in a slightly incomplete freewheel. He rolled her up, slid back down into his hip-pads, and we headed down into the must-run, 20' drop and cauldron just below.

Sicko gorge . . the walls come up at 45 degrees for a 100 feet and the rapids clean up down to the next biggie - Kennie's Kascade (or 'the triple') which drops 40? feet in 4 hits and lands 10' from a wall. turn 90 degrees left or piton and re-circ right. Yucko! They run it on Burning Time, they run it on No Big Names 3, but we walked her proudly. Why not? A couple more good drops, a nasty crack/hole, and "Frenchies 40" marks the end of the gorge.

"Frenchies" is named for a guy who missed the 'must make eddy' and fell 40' into the right wall. Here another wall looms 10 feet from the landing, but a shelf on the right means 'go left or splat'. The approach drop is class 4, but so close that it is really considered the crux.

Taylor bounced the top, windmilled over to the eddie and started celebrating. The sparkle in his eye and the rush in his voice were as impressive as his line, just left of the flake and straight between the falls and the wall with a vertical entry. How sweet it was! And how tough it was to portage after seeing that line. The soreness from the first 40 was kicking in and the risk of a flat landing seemed high. I asked if we were done, and Jason's reply was 'not hardly' so we lowered our boats and got busy with a couple more miles of class 4-5 rapids and one last 20'er at the bridge. As we plopped into the pool, Christie D' and Flow-dog came into view playing in the pool. The Lotus Truck was within sight, and cooler full of Sierra Nevada waiting . . . California Creeking - we are living the dream.

Clay Wright

Rapid Descriptions


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Matt Muir


Chris Gorman


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194124 07/07/07 n/a n/a
1197882 06/29/10 Chris Gorman added link to trip report