Original Carnage Gallery
Welcome to California Creeks, an online whitewater guidebook to the Pacific Southwest.
The people and images you see here are real. Some names have been changed to protect the incorrigible. No riparian zones were harmed in the making of these photographs.
Grown-up boats can make mistakes too! The bigger the craft, the more photogenic the error. See the Big Boat Carnage Gallery for trouble with a capital Raft. For more krazy kayaks, see the New Carnage Gallery. For an antidote, see our Safety Talk.
Rubicon River, Ripple Rock Falls, class V-
With its marble-textured bedrock, this is one of the most scenic rapids on the Rubicon, which perhaps caused these boaters to lose their concentration. Boris and Darren display fine acting skills in front of the camera.
Deer Creek, Maxi Gorge LogX, class V
Don's sunglasses got a bit spattered here, so he probably did not notice that he needed to blast thru a large hole at the base of the biggest drop in LogX (log-free since 1997). That hole turned him sideways, the next one flipped him, but Don held onto his paddle and refused to give up his boat for lost!
Deer Creek, Ishi Falls, class V
This is the middle drop of Ishi Falls, and the most difficult. Mumu lined up correctly and might have emerged upright in a different boat, or with his weight a little further forward. The swim from here involves one more steep drop and then a rock garden.
Lavezzola Creek, Double Drop, class IV+
This rapid, a 2' drop closedly followed by a 5' drop, can be run over the top on river left (right side of these photos). See it done that way. For some reason, B.Rad elected to run it thru a large swirling hydraulic near the undercut exit wall on river right. Fortunately he didn't flip until his boat was safely in the out-wash.
Arroyo not-so Seco, Wide Boats Not Welcome, class IV
This bozoid maneuver would have made good video. The kayak didn't flip, but I fell out and was pushed deep underwater, surfacing far downstream. (You can never be too rich, or have too much flotation.) The boat continued surfing while we waited. And waited... And waited... A buddy finally rescued my boat using the rock-in-throwbag method.
Deer Creek, Double Drop, class IV+
The second drop of Double Drop is best run by ski jumping over the flume on the right side of these pictures. Don wasn't ferrying quickly enough to make it over the flume, and ended up flopping against the rock down below. That's why kayakers wear helmets.
Middle Fork Cosumnes, Amphitheater Slot, class IV
The crux of this rapid is a steep diagonal drop with a left-to-right curling wave that is hard to miss. Actually it might be best to sideways at the crux!
San Lorenzo, The Waterfalls, class IV
Many people portage this, the toughest rapid on the San Lorenzo River near Santa Cruz. Andy graciously loaned his 2-person IK to some tandem paddlers, and was forced to paddle a model that was too small for him. The results are shown below.
Black Butte River, Fifteen Minute Scout, class IV+
After urging everyone to “just run it” while scouting from the wrong side, Boris suddenly realizes why everyone else took almost 15 minutes to scout from the right bank. An overhanging branch made it difficult to avoid that first rock, and the second rock could only be seen from below.
Grown-up boats can make mistakes too! The bigger the boat, the more photogenic the error. See the Big Boat Carnage Gallery for trouble with a capital Raft. For more krazy kayaks, see the New Carnage Gallery.
Map of Rivers