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NW Riot Team: Going Big at Outlet Falls, Washington

Riot Goes Big in the Northwest!

Disclaimer: Scroll down if you only want to view the photos!

I have been looking for the right falls to take the next step and really go big! Lucky for me I live in the Northwest, a land of waterfalls. This day took me to a little known creek in Washington called Outlet Creek where 70ft Outlet Falls stands tall looking over the canyon below as if it was guarding the creek.  I had heard of this falls before from local paddler/film maker Nate Herbeck but had not considered running it until I saw the pics from the day before. It didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to fire it off. I made up my mind that night that I wanted to run it, so I put out the calls to the peeps that it was time for a hucking mission! After arranging a crew I went to bed feeling inspired. 5:00am came quickly as I got up, gathered my gear, and loaded my boat on the car.  This day seemed different than others since I had already made up my mind about the drop. I drove off and headed for what would be my highest descent of a falls yet. When we arrived at the falls there where nine boaters, 2 videographers, and multiple photographers all ready to catch the descent of Outlet Falls. It was a cold day and the water had frozen to the hanging walls around the waterfall creating frozen sparkling crystals and icicles that reminded me of the ice on the inside of a freezer!  The surreal surroundings would create amazing images that would later be frozen in time not unlike the icicles themselves. As we peered from the cliffs hundreds of feet above the pool at the bottom of the falls I think everyone had the same feelings flowing through there mind. We all commented about the size of what stood before us, “Man that is tall” someone said, “Looks really good though”, someone else said. It was about then when Ryan Scott from Gorge Hits said he was going to gear up and head to the lower pool for safety and video. Everyone then took turns asking one another if they were going to run it. Before the question made it my way I said, “I am gonna gear up and give’r”. Lucky for me Cody Howard from Hucking Huge was also in, which made two crazy bastards! To check out Cody’s Huge Huck go to  It is always nice to have a partner in crime, thanks Cody! A couple of others where on the fence, but this was none of my concern, as I was focused on my line. Despite the falls perfect appearance at the lip, what awaited at the put in was a seal launch into the run-out of a class 5 rapid and a quick move around a class 3 hole up against the right wall, which was separated by a pool from another short class 3 rapid leading to the moving flat water lip of the falls. Oh ya the seal launch was assisted and required another boater pushing you off the cliff in order to have enough momentum to try and miss the class 3 hole below. Lets just say I was less than stoked on the entry maneuver. Despite this I was ready to huck, I looked at my buddy Tony who would send me into the abyss and said, “it is time!” I slipped into my Magnum secured myself and gave the word. Moments later I felt the cold water hit my face and new this was for real! I hit the water, melted the hole, and was pushed right. This was not were I wanted to be since the water on river right was moving toward the next rapid and the lip quicker than I had thought. I swung my bow back up stream and dug my paddle into the water as I worked to make the ferry back over to the left side of the eddy where I could sit safely and signal everyone I was ready. This is where time starts to move at a distorted pace which can only be described if you have been in this sort of situation. I made one long blow on my whistle waited a few moments then took the stroke out of the eddy and into the moving water! I was quickly swept into the class 3 rapid that lead to the lip and before I had a chance to think twice I was peering off the end of the world. Milliseconds later I was looking down the throat of this giant and could see the pool far below. My next thought was my angle and of possible over rotation. It was about that same time I knew I had to tuck, so tuck I did!  Some people say running waterfalls does not take skill. I would challenge this thinking and argue that that you do not just fall off of large drops, unless you like being on the injured reserve list. Each waterfall requires a little different technique, as they are all unique. It is not just about the size of ones balls! Although big balls are required as well!

-Thanks you to everyone that came to support the mission! I know that you all would have preferred to be paddling down a real run. You know who you are! THANKS!

Paddler: Riot Team Member Luke Spencer

Photographer: Jed Weingarten

The Riot Magnum doing what it does best, going BIG!

Photo Credit: Scott Baker

Photo Credits: Lana Young

Photo Credit: Ben Hawthorne

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