As CRC2 mentions the Upper East is all about WATERFALLS. Well, maybe not so much but it certainly has one big one that will get your attention ... Big Stupid. On a recent trip back to the Colorado homeland I had the opportunity to paddle with Kiwi Lawrence Simpson and Caliproduct homeboy Paul Gamache on the Upper East.
Above is a shot of Lawrence and I dropping into the first rapid on the East named "Midget Wrestler," it gets its name cause it is a little slide into a little hole with a strong recirculating eddy. At higher flows I like to go a little right of the hole. I haven't seen it beat anyone up too bad but I have heard the stories.
So above is a shot of Paul Gamache running Stupid Falls. This is definately one of the biggest single rapids near CB, but the rest of the Upper East is a bit more manageable than this. If this drop doesn't look like fun then you should probably get out in one of the many eddies above it. If you thought this drop was very mellow than you should maybe go look at NF Slate.
Here's a shot of Lawrence going off. Downstream the East River meanders as it works its way past Mt. Crested Butte then it meets the Taylor River to form the Gunnison. Both of the boys had excellent lines this day and I was happy to take their photos from the top.
Paul and Lawrence post-Stupid. There's a pretty good eddy below on the left but I understand that the trail to the top can be a little steep and slippery so waaatch yourself.
Gothic Mountain looms over the East while the boys get ready to hike back to the car. There is an exceptionally large population of stinky cabage (and other rare species) near the Upper East. Also, Gothic is home to the Rocky Mounatin Biological Lab with plenty of researchers wandering the nearby forests.
After that we crused to Oh Be Joyful for an afternoon run. Here's Lawrence on OBJ's 15 footer getting some airtime.
It was awesome to be back in Crested Butte and especially to have the opportunity to paddle with these guys.
Salud to the CKS possie!
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photos: Bryan Owen and Paul Gamache