Sept Chutes - Fall Paddling

Jan 13, 2012

If you are brave / dressed warm enough the Fall can be an amazing time to paddle in Quebec. Once the leaves turn colour, the trees stop absorbing so much water and the large amounts of seasonal precipitation (it comes in many forms that time of year; rain, ice, snow) allow the rivers to rise to paddle-able levels.

This past Fall, I was back home in Ontario work a concrete job with Monkman Forming and a bunch of fellow kayakers. We would work all week (check out timelapse video LINK ) dreaming of the sweet creeks we would get to paddle on the weekends.

The Riviere Lac du Source is a fun intermediate run with abunch of slide style rapids and a couple harder drops to keep you on your toes. This paticular weekend I decided to paddle the Wave Sport - Diesel 75, normally I would paddle the 80, so the 75 felt extra sporty. It was great for getting the entire boat extended into the air on all those boofs, and was easy to whip into an agressive eddy turn.
A fun boof on the Lac du Source's double drop.
Keeping the nose up on a nasty hole.

The next day we drove further into Quebec to the super scenic / quite gnarly Sept Chutes. Fall is the only time you can really paddle the Chutes, as they are located in the heart of a provincial park, which enjoys handing out hefty fines. However the park closes mid September leaving the falls open game for those willing to give it a go.

Getting to the put-in is probably the hardest part of the day, requiring some rope work and traction climbing over slippery rocks. Once you are safely in your boat in the put-in eddy you can relax (a bit) and enjoy one of the most spectacular moments kayaking has to offer. Behind you a massive waterfall is crashing down and a few meters in front you have a giant horizon line leading to a stout sliding drop around the 60' mark. Feeling content with your place in life you take a couple easy strokes out of the pool and enjoy the ride to the bottom. Soooo Good!

Tyler Fox on the first runnable drop on the Sept Chutes
The view looking up stream at 1 and 2

The second drop is a fun multi ledge drop ending with a nice boof.

The third drop was a bit sketchy, after probing the line and making it down unscathed a couple of the boys were inspired and had a go at it. The next person down was Mike Kobzik, who found the rock shelf at the bottom and completely exploded his Pyranha  burn, next up was Franky who also found rock at the bottom smashing his ankles up a bit. The rest of the group opted for the safe line and portaged on the left.
Mike’s boat not looking so flash.
The boys getting around number 3 the safe way.

Below here were a couple smaller fun drops, which lead into one of my favourite drop on the run, a ramping lead-in into a folding horseshoe boof thing. After getting your boof it was fairly whiteout until you hit the bottom at which point you sub out, go deep then explode back to the surface. It was kinda like controlled chaos.
The lead in gets a bit rowdy.
Boofing into the exploding fold of water.
Rocketing back to the surface .. upright … bonus!

There are still 2 more drops below this, however the next large drop has a horrible pocket eddy on the left, which traps much of the flow and requires safety to be set at the point of rock. Getting safety there is quite tricky and with the cold temperatures no one in our group wanted to put forth the effort to make it happen. The drop its self has a very ugly lead-in, which didn’t look very enjoyable at the flow we had, which was around 50cms. It will be a good reason to come back.

Photos; Dan Caldwell & Tyler Fox

Tyler Fox
Team Level Six Paddler

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