|Stretch:||Below Hunderfoss Dam|
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV (V)|
|Flows:||50 to 1,000 cms|
|Gradient:||27 fpm average|
|Take-out:||Bridge in Fåberg|
|Shuttle:||5 miles (10 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||June and July|
|Featured in A Wet State #103|
Norway 2015 – Day 13 Evening
With a drive from Sjoa to Oslo still ahead of us for our flights the next morning, we still weren't satiated. Reiner had driven north just a day prior and had noticed that the Hunderfoss damn was still a significant amount of water. With the knowledge we decided to head south to it as it was very much on the way to the airport for us. Arriving in the evening, we noticed that it had a lot of water. The guidebook says it is good to 500 cms (~15,000 cfs)… but we estimated it had to be at least 1,000 cms. But the run was only supposed to be class III to IV right? Deciding to further investigate we drive up either side of the river hoping for a glimpse. We do manage one on the main river left road. The rapid we see looks surprisingly large. Is this the rapid that the book says is a sneak on the right away from huge holes at higher water? The right looks to have some poor overs as well… dang. Ah screw it, let's put on anyways… it is our last day and I am not ready to dry my gear yet!
Just below put in we arrived at our first rapid, we all nervously paddle into it not knowing what lied within. From above it looked like just a simple wave train (of ocean size waves) but we were nervous none the less. Exiting the rapid we were all smiles and you can tell we began to think that perhaps this idea would be ok. Arriving at the second rapid, we all caught an eddy on the right at the lip to take a peek. But before we got a chance Diane decided to drop in… and Reiner followed. I was still upriver paddling into the eddy and think “my sense is to avoid the center right as it looks like there is likely a huge hole at the top.” Sure enough I see both Reiner and Diane frantically paddling, Diane to the right and Reiner to the left. Both hit the meat of the hole but are on the edges where windows are present. Harry and I find a nice slide on the right around the meat of the whole. Our group is now in an eddy on the right below the entry move… all but Reiner who is now in the middle of the river and with no chance of exiting the rapid without moving downstream. I peel out to give him chase and hope for the best for both of us. After going to the right around one huge crashing wave, I get a glimpse of downriver 100 yards and a huge curling crashing wave and begin to paddle as hard as I can to the left. Paddling on huge water is interesting, sometimes waves form and disappear and mess you up, forcing you into bad ferry angles and surging you away from your goals; This time however the waves surged to power my ferry and get me around the waves. Which ended up being a moot point though as the curling crashing wave set had collapsed and no reformed yet by the time I got there. But it was still nice to make my ferry! Downstream we quickly got to the rapid we saw from the road. With the lesson learned on the previous rapid, we eddied out and scouted. Sure enough, you did not want to be far left… unless you were really far left and flirting the line of a 4 foot tall eddy line and the boil coming off of it and dropping into an apartment sized hole. We snuck right through small channels amongst the bed rock. The pour over I thought I saw from the road was not bad, just a low volume feature. As we peel back out into the current we are treated with the last challenge for the day, whirlpools on the eddy line. After a few mystery moves we were free and quickly floated the flat water down to take out.
At put-in after running shuttle, we were sad to have to say good bye to Reiner and Lorenz. Their trip was just beginning and they were not heading back to Oslo. We also said goodbye to Harry as his plans for the night were not certain. However we were very pleased when he decided to camp with us that night. This allowed Daniel Stewart to leave early to catch the ferry in the next morning and not have to drop us off at the airport 8 hours early and at 5 am, and instead we were able to spend another morning with Harry and his family before he dropped us off at the airport. Bitter sweet. But a successful vacation.
Arriving home at 11:30 pm on Saturday night (the thought was to rest on Sunday prior to work) we begin getting messages about all the water in Tennessee at the moment. So after a few conversations, a plan was laid… boating Sunday at home!
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- Bridge (III). Just below the bridge (railroad I think) is the first wave train. It was straight forward, but at this flow was like being on the ocean with periodic waves rising and crashing all around. No must make moves.
- 2nd Rapid (IV). Mere sections later (miles fly by on this volume) we were at this rapid. It was obviously a bigger one. Diane dropped down the right and began to drive hard to the far right. Reiner was caught in the middle and drove center. Harry then saw them and went for the right shore to go down a slide, I followed. There was an eddy above… I thought we were going to take a look, but Diane had faith apparently. Anyways, it worked out. Below that entry was a big long wave train that got messy 200 yards downriver in the middle. We all worked far left from that mess of crashing, curling, and exploding waves.
- Lead-in (III). Scout before the lead in if you don't know the run. The lead in is fine, we went down the right in order to be set up to sneak the next rapid. If you ran the Lead-in left you would be pretty hosed for avoiding the meat of the next rapid, unless of course you want the main line.
- Sneak (IV to V). The sneak was easy enough down the right amongst outcroppings of bedrock. If it was higher still though, this might even close out some and turn into pour overs. The left side of the river had a huge curler (like 15 feet tall) that folded right into a mammoth pocket hole against the island. The challenge would be that there is also a huge eddy line that would prevent you from getting left enough to clear through the curler without dropping into the hole. At our flow, sneaking was the only viable option.
Downstream is all flat water, we paddled the remaining ~2 miles in just a few minutes as the water was really hauling.
Take-out: We took out directly across the river in the town of Fåberg at the bridge on the Brunlaugbakken.
Put-in: Downstream of the bridge 100 yards, turn right on Hunderfossvegen. Follow this upriver for 7.2 km. Turn right onto Fossekrovegen and follow this down to the parking just before the dam. This is put-in
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