North Fork of the Feather River (Tobin)
|Difficulty:||Class V- (Class IV- below the last bridge)|
|Distance:||1.25 miles, less than an hour|
|Flows:||800 - 2000 cfs (harder as it is higher). Dreamflow's gauge and American Whitewater Schedule|
|Put-in:||Tobin Free Camp|
|Take-out:||Private green bridge|
|Season:||June to October planned release, Winter and Spring from spill|
|Featured in A Wet State #15 and in A Wet State and Darin McQuoid contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
American Whitewater has been kind enough to litigate guaranteed releases on this stretch of river for us whitewater enthusiast. This gives us a great run to do in the summer and fall months when the rest of the state is dried up. The run is not as hard as Stanley and Holbek made it out to be, but it is however challenging with some big consequences. The river bed is made up of large round rocks, thus creating numerous sieves and underwater tunnels. In my mind a swim would be horrible here, with that said, I have seen people swim successfully through many of the drops. Just don’t come out thinking it is easy class IV. If that is your cup of tea stay to the “Lobin” section below the last bridge. If that isn’t even your cup, then head above Tobin to the Rock Creek section for some class III action, which I have not run.
- First Rapid (III). The first rapid comes just around the corner from the put in
after a little class II. The rapid consists of a ramp drop on the left.
Second Rapid (IV-). The rapid is a simple boof that is taken on the far left against the shore. Avoid melting off to the right as there is a sticky hole in the backwash of the rock. This drop is a little sketchy for some, so there is an easier channel on the right shore.
Kevin's Gate (IV). The entrance of the Tobin section is a river wide ledge just above the bridge. The ledge is best run left of center, proceed to move across the river to the right and boof the right for an exit. The water at an exit all slams into a rock so the boof exit avoids this. Scout on the left if needed.
Bridge (IV). Enter along the right shore, boof into the pillow forming off the shore, it will push you a few feet to the left, then shoot the rest down the center.
Tobin (V). A few distinct parts of the rapid exist, but current is swift into all the rapids and class II-III connects all the class V together. The consequences are real, swimming would be a nightmare although on my first run I witnessed three swims, all of which were survived with no injuries.
Boof Garden. The first moves are all boofs ranging averaging about five feet. They can all be run along the right shore or one channel away from the shore. Scouting is easy on the right shore. Or you can venture in the middle to find runnable drops, however boat scouting can be hard out there and there are unrunnable drops in there. Have someone lead you down this section if you want to have no doubt in the lines.
Bush Undercut. The first long section of rapid consists of a zig entrance along the right shore. This leads to a boof into a pillow formed off of a downstream rock. This pillow and rock move you to the right along the shore where an undercut and bush await. Catch an eddy to look at the last part or run it down the right shore. There is a pour over rock which pours over into a crack, however the channel to the right of it feeds into a large hole. The best line is to boof the edge of the pour over to clear the hole, be sure to avoid the crack.
Double Boof. A channel just to the right of a large midstream rock hold small hole followed by a large boof drop. Land and head down river. The river channel then splits around a rock, boofing left is safe, running the far right channel is ok, boofing center may be alright.
- 10 in a rapid. There is a eddy tucked on the left at the top of the rapid. There is
only room for 2 or 3 boats in it, As Jim and I were in it we witnessed ten or more
boaters going into this section at once. The section can be run on the left or the
right, it has many holes and many rocks. It is possible to boat scout it from the
More Holes. The channel turns around a large rock, there is a large hole above it that can be run on the right side, there are more holes around the corner.
Piece of Risa. Start from the eddy above the rapid on the left. Run into the green rooster tail, and ride the holes. Work your way right and boof exit. This avoids the nasty looking wall which all the water flows into. Supposedly the wall is safe and has been splatted before with no danger. However, I have also heard stories of people going deep at it, so I will keep avoiding it. Also, avoid moving right too early or left into an eddy at any time. The left has a sieve which a boater has swam through, and this year (2006) the most perfect sieve was found on river right, between a huge boulder on the shore and smaller looking one left of it.
© Ryan Kramer
- Many people take out at the bridge to rerun the class V section, however literally
just around the corner the rapids continue, Worth while down to the next bridge, see
Lobin write-up for details.
Take out: Drive up highway 70 from the take out until you are on the right side of the river, and see a large one-lane green bridge spanning the river. There is a trail on the downstream side of the bridge.
Put in: the put in is located about a quarter mile after the Bridge that follows the Tobin Resort. It is a dirt road leading down to the river. There are two drive ways about 100 feet apart, both lead to the same cemented parking lot.
View North Feather, Tobin in a larger map
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