Thursday, December 28, 2006


Download California/Colorado video HERE (12 MB).
Download South Silver headcam HERE (22 MB).

Hey Everyone,

Just checking in from the banks of the Black River near Watertown, New York. Last week wrapped up a sick one month trip to the great state of California, and it being my first time out there, I certainly wasn't dissapointed...

Check out some previous posts from this trip on the
Level Six Blog.

Anyways, during the last week of our trip, Max Kniewasser, Pat Keller and I were super stoked to get on the Royal Gorge of the North Fork of the American. Justin Patt and family were gracious enough to let us crash at their house near the putin, and we woke up excited and feeling good. Unfortunately it was not meant to be, and the Royal Gorge had dropped over 150 cfs overnight to a super bony level. It was a bummer for sure, but the river will always be there, and I don’t plan on making that my last trip to Cali…

So the plans quickly shifted to a South Silver session for a couple days and then some backpacking in Yosemite. South Silver is an ultra-classic one mile run between Placerville and Lake Tahoe, and it is incredible. It’s definitely one of the steepest creeks I’ve ever run at over 700 fpm, but surprisingly doable for that amount of gradient and not especially scary or dangerous… just good clean fun!

Max hiking up for more action on South Silver.

Because of the ridiculous amount of snowpack this year in California, and the recent boiling temperatures in the Sacramento area, South Silver was at a pretty pushy level, which I was told was really high, but seemed awesome for that run. As you can imagine from a gradient like that, the run is nothing but action from the beginning and the sickest section of river comes about halfway through the run, where the river drops 100+ feet over a series of beautiful teacup boofs, and then a stomping big rapid called Skyscraper.

Max charging on Teacup #2.

Dropping into the first tier of Skyscraper.

Lane Jacobs launching out of the first tier of Skyscraper.

Max dropping into the second tier of Skyscraper above the portage.

Pat stomping that shit.

So one of the more tense moments on the South Silver at this level is the hole above a rapid called Plastic Surgery. It’s a symmetrical hole at the bottom of a slide, and backed up by a wall on both sides, 2 drops above a pretty manky 30 foot or so drop. A surf there would be horrible, and for me it was probably the most stressful drop on the run.

Dropping into Plastic Surgery after clearing the two entrance holes.

Fun boogie down to the take-out.

Anyways, South Silver treated us well for the couple of days that we were there, and I was able to shoot a headcam run of Max's and my second run down. Our trip ended with a visit to Yosemite National Park, one of the most ridiculously beautiful places ever, in spite of the crowds of people there. We were able to get off of the beaten path in the north end of the park and go on a cool little backpacking adventure, so it was a fitting end to an incredible trip.

Max on top of a 10,000 foot dome enjoying the experience.

Download California/Colorado video HERE (12 MB). (Features Big Kimshew, Dry Meadow, Upper East, Middle Thule, and others)

Download South Silver headcam HERE (22 MB).

Good lines everyone.
-Chris Gragtmans

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