Peters Creek Canyon

Here’s a video of two drops in the Lower Canyon. Thai Verzone, Moe Witschard of Bozeman, and I went looking for a Ship Creek substitute.

We did not find it.

BTW a friend of ours is a land owner, so no trespassing happened getting to this run.

I’ll blog a report at

Way to hold it together on the Big Dog! That could have been a rough little swim! Where did you guys put in? Based on the video it looks like you really only ran one of the bigger drops “Big Dog” and a little filler above it. There is some better stuff up above, but once you reach the bottom of big dog it gets a bit scrappy regardless of craft.

That said, Peter’s is much better in a kayak than in a pack raft. Sure you can do it in a packraft at lower water with the guarantee of whacking your ass at least a few times given the boney nature and the silt laden water , but it doesn’t really clean up and start to show it’s greatness until you almost double the video flow.

As is the case with this run, packrafts are not meant for everything. :wink:


The other drop is Rodeo Drive, just hard to tell from the vid. Fits the description perfectly with Timmy’s book – sticky hole on top, left undercut, six foot drop into pool.

We had a creekin’ good time in our packrafts – I’m gonna say “no thanks” to hard shells for me!

And really, double the flow means double the danger, and at my age I’m into less of that and more fun and joy. I really enjoy shallow little creeks.

None of us hit our butts (like we did when we’re learning to boat) – 'cause we used the “butt-boat boof” to protect the bones on our butt.

BTW Thai and Mo were hardshell-boaters who went as far as they wanted in their yaks (Thai was pretty solid Alaska Grade Class V) but welcome being a part of the golden age of packrafting. I read in Outside On-line that kayakers are shrinking in numbers…meanwhile it looks like packrafters are increasing.

I guess you gotta speak the lingo to follow on this one, but what the hell is a “butt-boat boof”?

I don’t think it matters what you’re in or what you do, you go over a rock with less water than you draft you’re going to hit your ass.

So since PRing has it’s own rating scale, Alaska has too as well? I’ve never heard that used for whitewater, only climbing. Typically when talking of whitewater, class five is class five. Unless of course it’s California or BC.:wink: So…care to enlighten?

Given that packrafting only started to become popular in the last few years it’s no surprise the numbers are increasing and I hope that is the case for Sherri’s sake. As to shrinking kayakers…good! Actually that’s not that big of a surprise either given that rodeo/playboating pretty much died in 2005. Not to mention that a large portion of individuals that thought kayaking looked like fun, figured out it was not as forgiving as first thought, particularly when they had to actually run the river. Lots of folks seem to have difficulty reading water while others never do figure it out. Ironically this group even has a few kayakers as well. Fear not though, packrafting too will plateau

So, the debate gets heated:^) This was too much fun to ignore:^) In my personal opinion, both pack rafts & kayaks are extremely capable vehicles for a vast variety of different types of whitewater. The difference:

Kayaks = faster
Pack rafts = turn faster

Kayaks = instant self-recover without swimming
Pack rafts = swim until it’s mellow enough to jump back in… or swim to shore if you can

Kayaks = break & need to be welded sometimes
Pack rafts = pop/slice/rip and need to be welded/patched sometimes

Kayaks = boof easier and much further away from danger at the base of drops
Pack rafts = auto boof but do not project far away from danger at the base of drops

Kayaks = back-ender (bandersnatch) occasionally
Pack rafts= back-ender (bandersnatch) frequently

Kayaks = heavy, but hikeable
Pack rafts = light and ridiculously easy to hike with

Kayaks = have the ability to punch holes under or on the foam pile
Pack rafts = stay on top of the foam pile, which means they can get sucked back into holes much easier

Kayaks = about $1,000
Pack rafts = about $1,000

Kayaks = take a more skilled paddler to navigate difficult water, but the difficulty of whitewater capable of being ran is much higher than a pack raft
Pack rafts = intermediates can paddle difficult runs, although they might not have developed the proper river reading skills and experience to make safe judgements on difficult water

Kayaks = ridiculous amounts of fun
Pack rafts = ridiculous amounts of fun

Kayaks = once they start cracking, your pretty much screwed and have to get another one
Pack rafts = once they rip, you can probably fix them and continue use a little longer than kayaks (unless you rip it like I did to Romans:^( sorry roman:^) I owe you one for that!

So, I guess what I’m getting at is that they are both capable vessels, one makes things easier some of the time and the other makes things easier the other “some” of the time. The only thing that concerns me is the fact that you can’t instantly self recover in a split-second combat roll (consistantly) in a packraft… which means pack rafters pushing the limits are going to start swimming some very dangerous whitewater. Kayakers generally are not even capable of paddling very dangerous whitewater without lots of experience and a solid roll, which means swimming is very rare. Of course there are exceptions of kayakers swimming, but good kayakers do not take near the amount of swims that good pack rafters take. So, just beware that if you are going to run difficult whitewater, whether you’re a kayaker or pack rafter, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into, study the dangers very carefully (just because it’s low doesn’t mean it’s safer), and have a recovery plan at all times in any difficult whitewater where swimming is potential.

There’s my 2 cents. Paddle on people!

Timmy J.

Oh yeah, and as far as whitewater grading scales go…

class I is class I
class II is class II
class III is class III
class IV is class IV
class V is class V
class VI is class VI

period. That is the whole point of the International Whitewater Classification Rating System… it doesn’t matter what the hell you paddle (pack raft, canoe, kayak, raft, duckie, dory, innertube)… the ratings are the same for every type of vessel/craft being paddled.
The rating system is based on difficulty of the whitewater (holes, seams, pillows, undercuts, waves,), the required moves to be made, and the consequences. If every craft had it’s own rating system, every river would be confusing and lead people into trouble around every other bend. That’s my other 2 cents.

Timmy J.

Well said. Thanks for your $.04!

Put in 1 mile downstream of the canyon Friday afternoon. Ran to Stoltz Bridge by Birchwood Airport. 3 river wide log jams to portage around but still a nice float close to home.

I’ve been wanting to run this one for a bit - the section right under what I assume to be the Glenn bridge (?) looks like it could get really pushy at higher water. Do you know what it was running at, bkjamin?

I’m not sure if there is a gauge on Peter’s creek. 3 days after I floated this stretch the water had dropped substantially but it’s probably still doable. I’m up for round 2 and don’t mind taggin along as I live a mile away.

I ran Peter’s Creek today, from the top of the frisbee golf course. The water was still pretty high. I had about two meters of warmup, and while it wasn’t really pushy, it kept my on my toes, the whole way. Stoltze bridge is the last place you can reasonably take out, as log jams are every few meters after that. I got a few waves from people barbecuing in their yards, which made me think that trespassing isn’t really an issue. And the best part - no butt-bumping whatever at this level.

There were no less than four log jams, two of which had to be portaged through mosquito kingdoms and forests of devil’s club. The other two, which sit a few feet above the water, would be more easily passable at lower water. I had some trouble with the second one, a cottonwood I believe, because there was no place to get out and it was too short to duck. I ended up having to flip to get under it - this creek has very, very few convenient eddies - and swam all the way to the train bridge after losing my sandal. I took out at Stoltze, and walked home barefoot to the sound of automatic gunfire.

Under the Glenn bridge is a little pushy, but no more than the rest of the run. Sweepers are a bit of an issue, but less than I would have thought. You don’t get a break for more than 20 meters at a time, ever and maybe less, which I thought was great. That said, it was the first run I’ve done alone this summer, and I probably pushed my limits a bit with this one. But that I could walk back to my house afterward, earning strange looks from people fond of airplanes and guns, made me feel better about it.

How far up the creek is the canyon? I walked up the trail to where it meets the creek, between miles 5 and 6 and found a good place to put in, but I probably wouldn’t run it by myself from that far up.