June 24, 2008

Big Timber Creek; Montana (V - V+)

The following pictures are in order as you walk up the canyon. They are in reverse order of the actual run.

Big Timber Falls - this is the lower drop - there is a 60 ft. lead-in falls
that is unrunnable at all but lowest flows. The entrance move for the
lower falls is a 15 ft. waterfall that lands in a left banking slide against the wall (just to the river right of the island in the picture). This slide then launches you off the 30-35 ft. main drop.

Drop under the first walking bridge
Very nice, forgiving falls - two drops below The Pinch
Drop immediately following The Pinch

Crappy picture of The Pinch - this thing is nuts; i can't imagine running it at the flows we had
(estimate 400 cfs or so) Slide drop leading into portage - I think the next drop is called No Way Out (aka portage)
Fine Line

Drop above the second walking bridge O's Woes
No Worries Falls - the put in drop


Brian said...

Big Timber Creek is an incredible gem tucked in the Crazy Mountains of Montana. Nestled within the lower Yellowstone River watershed, this creek tops all readily accessible low volume creek runs in Montana in terms of the quality of the whitewater. It's an amazing place to go whether you're planning on boating or not, but if you choose to kayak this creek, you will be rewarded with a world class experience.

The hike up from Half Moon Campground is absolutely beautiful, though it is hard to ignore the 720 feet per mile that you have to hike UP in order to run down. The gradient pretty much says it all - this run consists of unbelievable slides, boulder gardens, and waterfalls that will challenge and excite even the most experienced boaters.

You really have to see Big Timber to believe it - it's just hard to imagine such consistently clean, quality drops in the state of Montana. If you are up to it, this is arguably the best creek run in the state.

Big Timber logistics: Class V - V+ To get there, take I-90 to the Big Timber exit, and go north on the main road out of town. Follow the signs for Big Timber Canyon and Half Moon Campground - this is where you start hiking. There are obviously lots of alternate put-in points as you hike past the entire run on your way up. Scout thoroughly as wood is definitely a big issue. Watch out for The Pinch and The Gambler on the lower stretch - these are serious slides that require competent safety (both are easy to portage, as is pretty much everything else). I recommend hiking past the second walking bridge and running the last few drops upstream - No Worries Falls and O's Woes are two of the nicest drops on the run. The first walking bridge is a good takeout, although the drop under the bridge and around the corner is definitely worth doing. Be sure to take out immediately below this drop as the creek then plummets into the canyon and goes over Big Timber Falls. The upper part of this falls would be fatal at high flows, and the lower part is for experts only. This is hands-down the most beautiful drop I have ever seen, and I hope to run it someday.

Anonymous said...

run that shit many times that high or bigger. check egcreekin.blogspot.com for some older posts on runs with high ass water up there.


Anonymous said...

Nice shots. What's up w/the cocky prick's comment???

Anonymous said...

yeah, I caught that too. I think I've seen the same attitude elswhere with the same guy. Maybe on his egcreeking spot. Must be an insecurity thing. Or a tool. Or both.

Brian said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. No worries on the apparent attitude. The World Class Kayak Academy produces some of the world's best paddlers and these young guns just have the ability and the cajones to run drops at levels us mere mortals would never even consider possible (though the bro-brah lingo leaves a bit to be desired for sure). So i probably should add an addendum to the Pinch caption above - it should read "it was close to unrunnable by mere mortals at the flows we ran."

EG, thanks for the link to your blog. You've got some incredible footage on there and i hope to visit many of the places you've posted on. And an extended congrats to your bro for firing up Natural Bridge Falls a couple weeks ago - unbelievable!

Y'all take it easy and we'll see you on the water!

Brian; aka Sparky

Dan Thurber said...

Great write-up. Thanks for sharing some beta on Montana's whitewater, some of the creeking looks incredible! What is the season and gauge location for Big Timber?

Brian said...

Thanks for checking out the site, Dan, and my pleasure on sharing the beta. There is only a small taste of Montana creeking on this site, but hopefully that will change. The season for Big T is usually late June through early-to-mid July. You have to wait until peak runoff is over as it gets crazy on Big T at highest flows (people do it, but most are either professional kayakers or locals who could do the run blindfolded). There is no gauge - by sight only. I bet it's just about go-time right now for the 2010 Big T season. Whether it's running or not, the hike up the canyon out of Half Moon Campground is well worth it. Hopefully you can check it out!


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