Lake Fork Gunnison, Colorado, US
01. Cinnamon Gorge (Upper - above Sherman)
||V+ (for normal flows)
Gordon, big drop, Cinnamon Gorge
Gordon, big drop, Cinnamon GorgePhoto of Gordon Dalton by Jeremy Laucks taken 07/15/05
June, 2009: Safety Warning:
There was a fatal accident here around June 6th. The accident
occurred at the big waterfall. At this time some of the details are unclear but please be aware of
the seriousness of this drop and the severity of the gorge in general. My thoughts are with the
loved ones of the young man who was lost here.
We do not know how deep the pool is below this huge waterfall.
Additionally, with the mining
debris loose in the creek, the large timbers behind the falls, and the unstable rock of this gorge,
there is a real possibility for something (man-made or natural) to be in the landing zone of this
drop. Be advised.
Where the upper Lake Fork Gunnison flows between 14,000 foot massifs
Sunshine Peak and Handies Peak the rugged Cinnamon Gorge hides a giant waterfall; commonly known as
Gordon Dalton and Jeremy Laucks ran this section in the summer of 2005 after being tempted by a
vague tip "received in an unmarked brown envelope in a dark alley in Silverton." Scouting from the
high road on river left reveals only a deep, dark cleft in the earth with occasional basso-profundo
rumbles and a light mist rising from the abyss. Sketchy (very sketchy) scrambling to the edge of
the canyon reveals only the top of a falls emerging from an ominous slot canyon; looking a bit like
Adrenaline Falls on acid. The run is mainly consistent IV+ and V- drops with Colorado's usual
suspects of wood and mining debris in the mix.There are lots
of four or five foot long
C-shaped steel rods lying in the creek. They must have been part of a sluice that ran along the
creek. These things are ever-present throughout the latter part of the run and are a hazard, along
with the other debris. Ironically, the biggest drop of the run - a very hefty waterfall tucked away
in the heart of the canyon - also appears to be a remnant of the mining days. Whatever its history,
this drop will have your heart pounding at the lip; and it may knock the wind out of you at the
bottom. It is a serious drop with a serious landing at the bottom. As you can see from the photos,
the falls is about four feet wide, very tall, and falls through a dramatic and imposing sheer slot
canyon. Landmark the big drop early so you can hike up and over a rocky point from river-right to
scout the landing pool. You could potentially carry around the big drop on this route as well but
it would be steepish, and you might need rope work to re-enter the creek after the falls. At the
end of the pool below the falls there is a trashy and tight little rapid that we ran down the
right. After this, the rapids improve in quality a little bit, but you are soon at a bridge
(labelled 18X RD or 30 RD on my DeLorme Gazeteer) near the ghost town of Sherman. Below this, the
Lake Fork runs alongside 30 RD to the campground at Mill Gulch.
To reach Cinnamon Gorge, take 30 RD up the Lake Fork of the Gunnison from Lake San Cristobal. The
bridge over the Lake Fork mentioned above is right by the former Sherman townsite. Respect Private
Property. To put-in, drive up 4 RD toward Burrows Park and Cinnamon Pass. Put-in at whatever access
point looks best. We chose an area near an avalanche slide several miles upstream.
If you want some more action, you might want to check out Cottonwood Creek which enters the Lake
Fork near Sherman. We found some satisfying drops on it as well.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-08-04 17:35:22