Kimshew & South Branch Kayaking with Chaco Ambassador Rusty Sage

After a mediocre winter, spring has come to California and now is the time for whitewater across the state. Boaters from all over the world are coming for the most accessible, clean, and smooth granite features of our Class V rivers. 

One of my favorite towns in Northern California is Chico. I spent several years here studying Mechanical Engineering and paddling nearby rivers, most notably all the branches of the Feather Drainage

Recently, I had one of the best whitewater weekends I have ever had paddling the Kimshew Creek to Upper West Branch aka “Lower Stash,” totaling over 18 miles in length and dropping a total of over 3200 vertical feet in one day. This is one of the famed classics of California known for its relentless 30-40 foot waterfalls and difficulties in accessibility. 

During the trip we attacked the South Branch of the Middle Fork. We paddled hard and experienced several tight moves throughout the run and finished off with a BANG! This run has one of the heaviest horizon lines that I have ever witnessed. Recently, someone called this section “the steepest section of whitewater ever run in a kayak” with its 120+ foot drops into the gorge.

Check out my video that I put together on this trip.

Kimshew & South Branch Kayaking from Rusty Sage on Vimeo.


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