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Upper (UPPER) Weber Creek
by John Simpkin 6/1/2007


We had a blast! Urs Schuler led me and Melvin Shimada down Upper Weber Creek March 3. I mean UPPER Weber Creek. Not the Lotus Rd. put in to SFA (lower) and not the heinous Green Valley Rd. put in Sewage Plant run. I mean that stretch of Weber Creek due south of Placerville. The run is contained in the Placerville 7.5 minute quadrangle, from the Big Cut Rd. bridge to the Green Valley Rd. bridge. The run is about 3.5 to 4 miles long and drops from 1720 to 1470 (65-70 ft/mile). It took us about three hours. There are numerous (I'm guessing 25 to 30, maybe more) bouldery 3 to 10 foot drops. Some exceed 10 feet. Solid IV (maybe worse), and that's at low flows.

I wouldn't run this at "high" flows. Run it at lower levels. There are trees across the creek. Turbo strainers in half a dozen or more places. Very constricted gorge-like sections (on the upper part especially) with numerous, big-boulder drops.

We putin at Big Cut Rd., passed under Hwy 49 and trestle, under Forni Rd., under Hwy 50, and took out at the Green Valley Rd. Continued on Page 2 Flows: Saturday March 3 was about two days after the rain stopped. The week before we had a couple or three days of good rain, and Weber was up. Three days later it was lower and dropping. The flow at both painted gauges (Big Cut Rd. and Green Valley Rd.) was within an inch of the bottom of the gauges, maybe an inch below where the paint stops.

Big Cut Rd. to Hwy 49 :

We put in at Big Cut Rd. onto a shallow cobble riffle, bottoms scraping. Within a few 100 feet there was a tree across the creek. In this stretch of the run there were probably half a dozen trees across the creek. The water was running slow enough for us to avoid trouble. IF THE WATER IS RUNNING FAST, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO AVOID THE TREES. Pretty quickly the creek gorged up and there were numerous tight, bouldery drops. Lots of boat scouting and judgments from Urs. He thought that higher flows in this part of the run would be problematic. Within sight of the 49 bridge there is a 4 or 5 foot dam. We boofed it on the far right.

Hwy 49 to Forni Rd. to Hwy 50:

Things mellowed out a bit, but there were still a number of rocky drops. You can road scout a little on Forni Rd. and the other bridges, but you will not see the tough stuff. Do not be fooled into thinking that what you see from the road or bridges is representative of the run as a whole; it most definitely is not.

Hwy 50 to Green Valley Rd.:

Down stream and within sight of the Hwy 50 bridge there are a couple of drops that are the toughest on the run. The first is a big boulder-rocky jog to the left, that then sweeps back to the right and glances into a wall at the bottom. I walked it and took my throw bag out. Urs ran it. The first words out of his mouth at the bottom were "Not Pretty!" Melvin ran it next. The first words out of his mouth at the bottom were, strangely enough, "Not Pretty !!" Guess that's how they name rapids. Anyway, look for a hidden rock in a little pocket eddy maybe half way down as the creek sweeps back to the right . . . and get ready for the wall at the bottom. A little further down is a drop that starts into a 5 foot wall. Keep your up stream edge up. There were a couple of other dicey drops before take out and a couple of fallen trees that we portaged.

The more difficult parts of this run are between put in and Hwy 49, and Hwy 50 and takeout. You don't get a good feel for the run by car or bridge scouting. Don't run this at higher flows: there are a bunch of strainers, and the upper constricted gorge stuff will be a lot nastier.

Many thanks to Urs for getting us down in one piece.




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