|Stretch:||Rondane National Park to the Waterfalls|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to V (harder higher, the last waterfalls are only runnable at medium or lower flows)|
|Distance:||2.9 miles (or park and huck)|
|Gradient:||229 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Footbridge over the river in the Rondane National Park (has a 20 kr toll)|
|Take-out:||After the third waterfall|
|Shuttle:||3 miles (5 minutes one-way) plus a half mile hike out on private road|
|Season:||May to July|
|Featured in A Wet State #103, this video of ALL the falls by Matze Brustmann, the First D shot of Matze on "his" drop and in A Wet State's contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
Norway 2015 – Day 10
Waking up at Paul’s house in Sjoa, we quickly made some breakfast and headed up to the Rondane National Park to check out the Store Ula. Since this is in a National Park there is a toll, but if I recall correctly it was only 20 kr. From the Lågen the road climbs steeply showing you just how steeply the last bit of the creek drops. From the road you can see the crack in the earth that is the lower Store Ula, what lies within its confines I do not know… but looking downstream from the take out at the falls you can tell it is steep.
Some folks decided to park and huck the slides, the falls, as well as Matze’s drop. We opted to put in at the top and run the whole thing despite the fact we knew perfectly well that we weren’t going to run Matze’s drop as that is just not our style. Once on the water, we also quickly began to realize that the water was pretty high and that we also were likely not going to be running the waterfalls at the end as those only go when the water is lower. When the water is up, the third falls pushes 40% into an undercut, 50% to the right and directly off of a 50 foot falls that has only been run a handful of times and has seen a few severe injuries, and then 10% towards the “eddy” where a friend can aggressively grab your boat and get you out of the water. At lower flows, you at least have time for a roll, at our flow that was not for certain by any means.
Anyways, we quickly got through some class III and portaged Matze’s drop. Downstream you enter a cool walled in gorge before it opens up with fun and continuous whitewater leading to the slides. I am sure at low flows this part can be tedious and is part of the reason for folks park-and-hucking the slides. Quickly we got to the slides and scouted before taking turns running laps. At the higher flow the final drop pushes hard to the left and lands on a shelf, so some of our group ran it while others caught the last minute eddy and opted out of the final falls. The slides though were every bit as good as I imagined the first time I saw them in Valhalla, and with the added water they were fast, pushy, and fluffy… just really good class V fun! Downstream the river the river was shallow and braided, again would be tedious at low flow. But there was a nice double ledge with two tiers, both about five feet tall. Downstream was another fun 6 foot ledge before you quickly got to a slide and footbridge that signaled the start of the water falls. Our thoughts were confirmed that the falls had too much water to be run safety so we oooh and awwwed before walking out to the main road to our cars.
This run is a bit of a novelty, but is also just so dang pretty and fun that it is worth the day. We found that the water rose significantly on us through the day of doing laps. So if water is high, arrive early. If water is low, arrive late for best results!
Thanks to Harald Glanz for sharing photos.
Last: Norway 2015: Day 9 - Jordalsevi
Next: Norway 2015: Day 11 - Jori (Lower)
- Mataz’s Drop AKA Storulfossen (V++). When the river splits… get out, on the left if you know you are going to portage. This drop needs a lot of water, and big balls. It is some 50-60 feet tall and drops 20 onto a steep reconnect slide before launching you off another 20. It has broken one back and surely will break more.
Gorge Below (IV). The gorge below was fun class IV that we ran down the right. The gorge then opened up and we were greeted with some really nice read and run class IV. At low flow I bet this is a pain though.
- Lead-in Slide (IV+). The lead-in slide to the good slides is normally run down the middle. I drove a little left to boof the shelf a little and that worked well. There is one more small slide just below that we ran on the right before you crest onto the main slide. Scout from above the Lead-in Slide though if it is your first time running the main slides.
Big Slide Part 1 (IV). The first part is straight forward, start middle and then use the deep water to paddle to the left before starting the slide. The right had a good size hole so we definitely wanted to stay left. This then pulled into a calm pool that moved quickly to the top of the next part.
Big Slide Part 2 (IV+ to V-). The second part was made famous by the photo of Nick Turner in Valhalla (in my mind anyways). Again, drive left onto the slide and slide into the large cushion forming as the water slams into the wall below. Hit this left and then straight out for the exit of this move which is straightward drop to run anywhere as long as you are straight. The water then mellows with one small move as you pass under the footbridge which then leads to the exit of the Slides.
- Big Slide Exit (IV+ to V). At high flow there was a big reactionary curler coming off the right shore pushing you left. The problem is there is a shelf to land on on the left. So you had to drive right and punch the curler to stay middle to boof. Only two had success in our group, the others found contact with the slab. At low water the move is easier, but the slab is more consequential.
Boogie (II). The boogie gets tedious below here… really shallow and braided stuff except for two really fun drops.
- Double Ledge (IV). A nice double ledge, we ran the first far left and the second far right. Scouted right.
- Footbridge Slide (IV+). A slide just above and under a footbridge leads to the top of the falls. Scout before running the slide. The slide went down the middle more or less. We didn’t run the falls so we ended up not running the slide.
Falls #0: A small pour over maybe 6 feet tall. Easy move left to right.
Falls #1: The first tall drop, some 20 feet tall. You want to run it centerish boofing though people have all sorts of flopping lines on this.
Falls #2: The smallest of the three main drops, this drop is maybe 8-10 feet tall and can be run center with a little right.
Falls #3: This is the falls that limits high water descents. The next falls is 50 feet tall, runnable but not common. When the water is high the water pushes quickly over it. Even at low flow you want to quickly roll up and catch an eddy. Another hazard to note is that on the left there is a bad undercut that also gives people problems. So be careful here. You take-out immediately below. (Note, the 5th falls is also VERY dangerous, so if you decide to run the 4th falls, set safety there).
Falls #4: 50 footer best run far left. (Watch the second video linked above)
Falls #5: 20 footer with severe cave on the left. (Watch the second video linked above)
Take-out: In the town of Otta, directly at the confluence of the Otta and Lågen rivers look for Rondanevengen Rd which climbs steeply up several switchbacks. In about 6.5 km you come to a toll (20 kr). Ctonine and turn left at the T. In less than a half a km, stay left at the fork. This leads to a gate. Park at the gate for the Waterfalls take-out. Alternatively, stay right at the fork for 2km and look for a left turn. This leads to the slides take-out.
Put-in: From the waterfalls, stay right at the fork and continue, passing the turn to the slides after 2 km. Continue for an additional 1.8, parking the large parking area. Follow the trail out of the pack of the parking area for a 200 meters to the river.
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