The Cooper River is a beautiful class IV river in the Washington Cascades that is a tributary to the Cle Elem River. The run is a little over a mile long and consists of 6-8 foot ledges, some fun boulder gardens, and a couple friendly slides. Toward the beginning of the run is a ledge called Norms Resort that is extremely retentive. It is easily run on the right side but if things go wrong, the only way out is via rope.
Last week we went in there with a crew and had a paddler take a swim in the ledge hole. Luckily we were on top of it and got the paddler out within seconds of him coming out of his boat. The kayak however, was a different story. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were going to have to send someone in there to retrieve the boat. All of the necessary gear and skills were available within the group so we made it happen.
It took three attempts with a live bait swimmer to recover the kayak and some bulk head foam that had come loose and was surfing in the hole. Overall, we got everything out of there, didn’t have any injuries, and were able to continue the run with the same stoke that we had going in.
It’s important to be on your toes out there as a simple mistake can turn into a big deal real quick. Keep it safe out there my friends!