Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River
|Outingdale to Highway 49
|9.6 miles, one day
|300 - 1000 cfs. Current Dreamflows gauge
|Gradient: 62 fpm average
|Put-in: 4WD road near Mocho Canyon
|above Highway 49 bridge
|14 miles (30 minutes) one-way, plus .5 mile hike
|Winter (rain) Spring (snowmelt)
|© 2005 & 2006
|Featured in Video Six.
I do not remember all the details about this run, but I will give a go at what I remember. The river is distinctly in two parts. There is the granite gorge section which has rapids which are cut out of the granite dome and mountain side. The rapids in the section are on the impressive, but only class IV- variety. The rapids also maintain a more creeking style of rapids. The second part is more of a boulder garden class IV section. Down here the rapids are longer, require more moves and in general bring with them a little more risk. After another run down, I updated the mile by mile and it should be more accurate now.
Throughout the run is endless brush. The beginning is a bushwhack just to get through to the rapids. Once the granite lets up, there are a few spots where the brush becomes a very serious hazard. Also, the last 2 miles or so does not have any difficult rapids but is steep and makes for near continuous class II to III-.
- Amphitheater (IV). The first rapid comes before a large left bend, you can hear
it easily. There is a nice beach on the left to park at while scouting. The rapid
has a class II- entrance before the good start. There are two small holes offset
from each other at the top, I hot to the right edge of the second one. The sent me
into a boulder on the right, directly above the drop, the pillow on this set me up
to the left side of the drop. The hole looks sticky on the right side at 950 cfs,
but the left was fine. There is a wall on both right and left side, the left has a
small little carve out that could scare a rookie and actually as of 2006 was a sieve.
Auto-Slalom (III+). Around the next corner is the next rapid. It is probably easiest to scout at the same time as the prior rapid. There is a small brushy cove that can be scouted from on the right. The entrance is fairly simple, there is a small hole, which I shot the right edge of, this put me up on the cushion coming off the left wall, I did not want to be too far up on the cushion as it appeared there was a peace of wood in the center of the fall off. Also, I did not want to be too far right on the cushion as it fell off close to the wall. The hole for the fall off was easily punched.
Funnel Chute (IV). We portaged this rapid at our flow. There is a large cushion above the drop on the left side; this cushion would have to be used to get left enough to miss the pointy rock set middle in the drop. Two others behind us told us they ran it, one getting worked on the rock, the other just nicking it. It is easily scoutable from the right. I have actually gone back and run this a few times since my intial write up, as seen in the video featuring this run.
- Anklebiter (IV). This rapid seemed kind of hairy for us at our flow, so we portaged it
as well. There are four slides. At high flows the holes seemed to be sticky, also the
left line on the second drop was blocked by a log our day. Usually you start left and
end up right at some point. It is scoutable on left or right, portageable over the small out
cropping on right as well, but eddy out high above the rapid for this.
Diversion Dam. The dam was easily boat scoutable and run down the center at 925 cfs.
Rapid 1 (class III). A boulder jumble, easiest run on the left.
- Boulder Bar 1 (III+). Enter on the right, moving directly next to a curler wave.
You end up moving to the left all the way, then back to the right. End to the right of
the downriver rock.
Island (IV). The right side is very manky, in 2005 it had a tree undercut which could be a killer. The left side has two parts to it. The top part is easy, pick a chute and go with it. The bottom part has a few large drops. Enter left to right in the middle of the channel, the first hole has a submerged rock that I pitoned at 1,000 cfs. There are two more rocks to avoid, easies avoiding them to the right. If you go down the right side of the island you also have to hero through a tree line at the end to join the main current again.
- Big Boulder Bar (IV+). Run down the right, moving to the left after the entrance, finish
either to the right of the large downstream rock or to the left of it. At high flows
there is a sneak down a rock slide on the left bank.
Take out: On highway 49 about a quarter mile upstream of the 49 bridge, there is a turnout on both sides of the river to use.
Put in: Head North on Highway 49 for 2.7 miles to Sand Ridge Road and turn right. Continue 8.9 miles on dirt and pavement until Morning Canyon Road, turn right. After half a mile, turn right on Starburst. Be respectful as this is a private road, park at the wide spot a little ways down before the road drops and turns nasty.
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