Rouge (Seven Sisters)
|Difficulty:||Class IV+ to V|
|Flows:||20-45 cumecs for Seven Sisters. Higher for just the upstream section. Check out Quebec Whitewater's current gauge|
|Gradient:||43 fpm average (345 fpm for the final 0.35 miles)|
|Put-in:||Access near Eau Vive Rafting|
|Take-out:||Access in Halte-Camping Chute des Sept Soeurs|
|Shuttle:||8.5 km (10 minutes one way)|
|Season:||Late summer and fall (the upriver section is Spring to Fall)|
|Featured in A Wet State #119 and in A Wet State's contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
NY and Quebec 2016 2016: Day 5
As we left the Ottawa the night before, we stopped at the local gas station to fill up before driving. A woman pulled up in an Owl Rafting truck. I ask if she knows the Van Wilk girls and she answers that they are her mom. I tell her I know Stefi etc etc to which she states Stefi was going to the Rouge the next day. We were also on that plan, so I reach out to Stefi and end up camping along with her and her friends that night at take-out for the Rouge.
After a night of drinking and hanging out at the campsite with Stefi, Stephi (yup, two girls with the same name… confusing eh?), Alexis and Robbie, we actually managed to wake up somewhat close to our scheduled departure time and got on the water by 11. Our hope was to have a somewhat quick day, while also taking video and pics and enjoying some laps on the drops. The only reason to have a little bit of a hurry to our day was the plan that night was to drive to the Valin which was 5.5 hours drive away.
The run starts off mellow before getting into the canyon which contains some nice class III to IV rapids. This section is great for those who may not feel up to the Seven Sisters downstream. The Seven Sisters themselves are fairly easy to portage on river right, or one drop at a time at river level though the third drop requires and throw and go. The falls themselves are the main event for most people who are looking to kayak this section, however the falls are only runnable when the river is running low (relative for the river anyways). You want to look for flows below 50, below 35 if it is your first time. We had 30 and I thought it was perfect. The main section of falls consists of 3 drops, two of which are “double drops” which accounts for 5 of the sisters. The first sister is actually well upstream, and is the first class III to IV drop you come across. The final sister is just a short way downstream of the others, directly below the high bridge high overhead and is just a big class IV bedrock drop.
Overall, the river is great fun. The first and third set in the falls are easy to lap. The middle requires a rope to pull boats up the wall. Careful when walking around as this river had a lot of water all year and therefore the rock is very slick… even the dry ones. So, yea, I hope you all get to enjoy this river as it is worth it!
Oh and for reference, we camped at the take-out that is upstream of the frontage road. It was ~$35 Canadian for the night and was literally just a 2 minute walk from the take-out. There was also another camping on the downriver side of the river, but this place had a friendlier feel and no RVs, so I would recommend it. Though they apparently close on Labor Day for the remainder of the season.
Next: NY and Quebec 2016: Day 6 - Valin (Honeypot)
Last: NY and Quebec 2016: Day 4 - Ottawa (Main Channel)
Thanks to Chad Christopher for sharing some pictures from the trip!
- Sister Elizabeth (III to IV). The first obvious horizon line you come to, you can run direct down the middle or break it apart via a fun eddy on the right.
- Slice and Dice (III). This rapid had a fun left to right move across the middle underneath a good size hole. This then set you up to boof a nice sized hole on the bottom right. An easier line existed far left.
- The Mushroom (III to IV). As you come around the bend to the left some nice boogie greeted you leading to the lip of an obviously larger rapid. You can scout on the right if you are looking for a mellower day. Or you can run it down the left through a fluffy hole or down the middle for a mellower line.
Washing Machine (III to IV). Directly below is a nice ledge hole to boof left of center within the far right channel. I am sure at higher flow, this links together with The Mushroom and both become stickier overall.
- Surprise (III- to III+). Just downstream is a little ledge that you can boof right of center or run down the middle. It actually ended up being a nice playspot too.
- Optional Take-out. If the water is high or if you arent up to the falls downstream, the take-out is on the left at the big sandy beach just before the corner that leads to the Sisters.
- Lead-in (IV). Easy enough, but it is directly above the main section of “The Sisters.” I just cut the inside corner and boofed the hole. I am sure at higher flows this all becomes more on and you may consider scouting from the eddy above the lead-in.
Second & Third Sister (V). A sweet double drop. You can run off the right or left of the top shelf, just avoid the horseshoe. For the second drop you want to be right, either boof the flake or boof the green water with right angle. You don’t want to plug as the recirculation is legit. With that said, at 30 cumecs one in our group dropped over it upside down and flushed straight through. You can lap on the right. Scout on the right.
Fourth Sister (IV+ to V). Just a single drop, but it packs a punch. At most flows you right around the outside of the bend to the left, on the right. Delay boof over the hole. We all boofed early and ended up backendering . the walk back up on this one is tougher and requires a rope. It is done on the right. Scout either side. There is also a spicy line on the far left. At our flow it lands you in the hole, at lower flows it goes well.
- Fifth & Sixth Sister (V). The final big set is a slide that then leads to a ledge. The slide is best run right with a boof into the eddy on the right. I decided to run direct on verbal and the end of the slide sported a bigger “slap you in the face” hole than I expected. I briefly lost my balance, long enough to doubt the direct line and b-lined for a last minute eddy I spotted on the right. I think I gave everyone a fright as they knew what was over there. The right side of the ledge below slams into the short and sprays up horrible. Boating that way would hurt! Instead, I ferried out and boofed the normal line left or left of center. The hole you are boofing over is legit, not a place to beater into.
- Seventh Sister (IV). A short ways downstream, directly under the highway bridge is the last sister, the easiest of the final bunch. There are several lines, we all went right of center down the ramp. Sometimes, people run far left off of the slide. Its all good.
Boogie (III). A few more class IIIish boogie rapids await downstream before you reach take-out
Take-out: From Hawkesbury Ontario, cross the Ottawa and into Quebec on Rue Maple heading North. Turn left at the 4-way stop onto QC-148. Follow this for 8.8 km, just before the bridge over the Rouge, there is a camp ground on the right. This is take-out. An alternate take-out is the campground just back 100 yards on the left.
Put-in: Head back towards Hawkesbury on QC-148, in 2.4 km turn left on Chemin Kilmar. Follow this for 4.0 km. At the Y, turn left onto Chemin de la Riviere-Rouge. Follow this for 2.0 km to the parking area on the right with the river access across from it.
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