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South silver Creek is one of the many California classic rivers, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Tucked away within the canyons among the pine tress and the beautiful granite lies this stunning creek. Taking California’s highway 50 to the turn-out of Icehouse Road will lead you right to the gem in the mountains. Running only with the spring time snow melt, there is a very limited gap that you can snag this classic. However, if you have the chance to send this creek it is very much so worth it. South Silver has many unique characteristics. Who doesn’t like long, clean granite slides and 15-foot waterfalls with nice recovery pools. The drops are not all that continues either, which making it almost perfect for stepping up into the world of creeking in California.
The run starts off with a nice little hike, through the scenic Tahoe wilderness, down into the canyon. When you finally get to the creek it is a breath-taking view, I won’t spoil it for you. As exciting as it looks, all you want to do is just hop into your boat and send the stouts, however its always a good idea to step back, drink some water, set up the cameras, and scout the drops. Literally immediately, the rapids start.
The first slide and by far the longest is named Autobahn, referencing the no speed limit freeway in Germany, because of how fast you slide down the granite. On the side of the river that you are on, the granite slopes gradually with the slide, allowing for some amazing shots, and making the hike back up to the top pretty easy. Trust me, you will want to sit here and lap it for days. However, the rest of the creek awaits!
Continuing downstream there are some fun boogey water slides, nothing to get too concerned about, until your crew arrives at Boof Boof Slide. At low flows this steep, scary falls, becomes un-runnable due to the large wall at the bottom that all the water goes straight into. Don’t fret though, easy scout and portage on the left. For the next half mile or so, its easy low angle slides that are supper fun to goof around on.
Next up, your going to arrive at the Tea Cups. In total there are five stouts that are all super clean and fun.
#1 Is just about 10ft into a nice recovery pool. At high flow this one gets a tad bit rowdy. I have a buddy that got worked and lost a paddle in the massive hole. Note, this was at about 200 cubic feet per second, the norm is around 50cfs. Directly after the pool follows the next drop.
#2 This one is not as clean as number one, its on a sharp left-hand turn, and it looks pretty menacing, however it’s pretty easy to style it. If you’re like me, you beater a lot of drops, this one can be dangerous if you try boofing off the left side, you can hit your head on the far wall. Like your truly. Be safe wear your helmets!
#3 most likely my favorite of all the tea cups. Its an epic 15fter that auto boofs you. In any boat you land super hard and skip across the pool below.
#4 Its really just a small low angle slide, run it on the right side.
#5 Lastly, another perfect cascading drop! Super clean lip, hard to mess up. Boof right!
Directly after the cups is the biggest set on the run. Skyscraper and Offramp is a set of class 5 drops that are truly massive. I unfortunately have never run these drops so I don’t have a lot of experience with them. I can say be careful however, if you beater things can go down hill very fast.
This is an awesome place to stop and take a lunch break. Right next to the waterfalls, there is an amazing roar of water that sets the mood for the rest of the run. Next up there is a large section of the river that is no longer runnable, trees and rocks block the way for a good while. You are forced to portage on the right. There is a small trail that you can hike your boats up, stay close to the river it is easy to get lost up the mountain.
There are some small slides in between where you put back into the river (it’s really your choose just be conscious of whats downstream) and the final big drop.
Plastic Surgery is the last big drop that’s runnable on the creek, and by far the majority of posts on my Instagram. Its hard to explain this drop, just because it is big and scary, however it goes super smoothly!
At the bottom of this pool is the take out. There is another little hike around a boulder garden and back to the cars!
This is now the appropriate time to high five your awesome crew, crank the toons, and celebrate another amazing day out on the water!