Hutt Gorge - log drop

Hi all,

The old "log drop" on the Hutt Gorge now has a whole new set of logs; at around 2m on the gauge the flow is pushing towards the logs - serious hazard, quite runnable on the left but make sure you make it left. Eddy line on the big eddy just upstream on river left is also a bit stronger than it used to be so care is required. This hazard changes frequently with a natural rock constriction trapping logs that come down at high flow so always worth being cautious here.

antman's picture

Hit the Gorge on the weekend (4 May 2013) - it was at 1.9m-1.8m dropping. The log jam seems to be all good, still take centre/left, but looked like there was some wood just after the drop on the right that I hadn't noticed before - might have always been there though.

Also, a lot of metal in the river... like metal cray boxes, or bits of them at least. Twas strange.

Nigel P's picture

Thanks to the Ruahine crew for taking out the more hazardous logs on the drop, great job and much appreciated.

The photo here is of the drop at 1.95ish on the guage, as at 15 Oct 2011. It may or may not stay this way but is way safer at the moment.

TerryL's picture

Nice work

megaboater's picture

I've been following this convo for a while now, and will have to disagree with chopping the log out.

I've paddle the Hutt Gorge a lot over the few years before moving off shore and believe that the log drop is an essential part of this river. It adds that little more to the river that should already demand the up most respect. Cutting it out because some paddlers with questionable ability cant run a line is a poor excuse to remove such an iconic rapid. Of course there is some danger in heading right and down the sieve, but i think we need to remind ourselves that this is still a grade III (sometime IV at high flows). I last recall the definition of a grade III river being - Waves, stoppers and technical difficulties are more severe. There may be drops and powerful constrictions. The main distinguishing factor of Grade 3 water is that the paddler will have to follow a recognisable route to avoid obstacles and hazards - a bubble that the gore fits itself into nicely.

As for chopping out the log, why mess with nature and what it does to our rivers? if a boulder fell down to create a portage or rapid you would go in and blow it up. And the log drop still has a run-able route, left of centre!!

Thats my two cents, leave it how it is. If you are going to bring intermediate paddlers down it. Help em out a bit! Set up appropriate safety, show them correct lines and most of all don't stress them out.

jojo's picture

Aw yeah + don't stay left at high flows, it gets a GREAT BIG ugly hole on the left ;o)

jojo's picture

Log drop still dodgy at 1.9! Would have been at a higher flow on Thurs. Nice tongue to left of wood at 2.1 on Sat but flow pushes into wood at lower flows. Still not a hard move to make, just make sure you make it.

Aaron.Boslem's picture

Paddled it today, log drop is fine. Just try stay left as you always should and you should be alright.

No new logs to report of, but of course with it rising and dropping some could appear.

jojo's picture

Dave Annear is hoping to get in there at some stage with a big fat chainsaw. Sounds like he has obtained an appropriately massive saw and needs some helpers who know a bit about lumberjacking and staying out of the way at the right time! Contributions towards spare parts etc also gratefully accepted as he may need some extra bits... $10 from Welly paddlers would help! Anyone keen to help reply here... Dave works in retail so weekdays are good for sawing missions for him...

jojo's picture

I'm no chainsaw expert... but those who own them that I paddle with have been saying that you need to wait for summer flows to cut it out. If that's not the case then we'd all be stoked to see it gone. We did have a whirl on one bit with a hand saw a couple of months ago but it took quite a while and we had hoped the water would do the rest but it hasn't.

The current iteration of logs is particularly bad but the rock constriction at this point means that other logs will get trapped here in future and there's a queue of fallen trees upstream just waiting to catch the next flood down.

Like the Waihohonu (thanks Boyd + co) it's up to individuals who have the time, resources and inclination to deal with an obstacle and those of us who went in a couple of weeks ago felt that a track was our best option.

Nigel P's picture

Glad to hear your paddler is OK, that is a grim experience. Note that it is more hazardous at lower levels, 1800 to 2000. Portaging at this level is wise, due to the consequences not the difficulty.

The first part of portage (the rock Shelf) is worth clambering up to, even if you are going to run the log drop. From there you get an excellent view of the approach/drop, can check for new wood etc and suss your line out.

shazza's picture

Thanks Jo & all the Welly crew involved with making the track. I missed the Ruahine trip last weekend so can't talk to much about it. I know its hard to cut the log out when the river goes up & down like a yoyo but keep up the good work. By the way our paddler is ok.

Nigel P's picture

Clearly the magic chainsaw fairy doesnt venture down the Hutt gorge. But it sounds like you're just the man for the job Terry, fill yer boots!

Craig Peters's picture

I agree terry. I was down there last Sunday and one of our paddlers went under the log. It would be so easy to clear. Even with a good hand saw and a wedge. The log is only about 8 inches wide and is under pressure so a cut from the down stream side perhaps with the wedge to keep the cut open would have this obstacle gone in no time. Then cut the upright branch to stop further wood collecting. Come on welly you can do it.

TerryL's picture

If that log hazard was on the Kaituna or Wairoa or Rangitaiki or Access 10 or almost anywhere else it would have been cut out with a chain saw ages ago. Logs are being removed from the Waihohonu all the time. So whats the problem with the Hutt Gorge. Are those logs sacred or what. If a kayakers body was trapped under them, would the logs be cut out to extract the body or would the body have to stay there.

jojo's picture

Quoting (cos I can't be bothered rewriting what's a good description!):

"Hutt Gorge: There is now a track around the log drop and the 1 metre drop just before it. There is an orange cross on the bank on river right. (Can someone post a photo of it if they have one). Grab the eddy/beach either before or after the orange cross. Look for a blue rope hanging down just down stream from the orange cross and attach kayak. Climb up bank, haul up kayak and portage along the obvious rock shelf for approx 20 metres. Then head right onto a bush track, clearly marked in orange. As the track drops down to river past the log, there is another rope for lowering your kayak. It can be slippery and is steep so please take care."

Nigel P's picture

photo as at 8 May 2011 with river level at 1900 on gauge at Te Marua