Although busy on the next edition of New Zealand Whitewater, Graham Charles has passed on some important news about several West Coast rivers that have been altered by the recent weather:
“The Upper Kakapotahi has a blockage in the tunnel (last drop) and is unrunnable. There is no portaging option except straight up the moss cliff to the road. Hardly worth it for the 300m of paddling you get. The Lower run is fine.
The Lower Hokitika has a massive slip just out of Kakariki Canyon. The technical grade hasn’t changed but the objective danger is higher with trees and very sharp rock in the water. Don’t sit around at the bottom of the slip – it is very active with rocks trundling regularly. This will keep changing as the slip face (out of sight from the river) is enormous.
The Upper Hokitika (Viagra Run) may be cut off as well due to rock slides at the head of one of the gorges. I’ll know next week for sure.”
“The Arahura, Taipo, Whitcombe and Whataroa are all good still, but unless you’ve done the run don’t take anything as given. There has been massive amounts of water through all rivers and all the rules have changed. Always keep scanning for new trees and sieves. Carry your little wood saw and anyone who ends up in the water get them out as soon as possible; worry about the boat later.”