Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
doubleawilly
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Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by doubleawilly » July 22nd, 2020, 11:14 am

Would it be possible to access Upper Whale Creek Falls from the fire road above it and then traversing down? I'm thinking something like the following route. I suppose the main question is whether there's an opening to traverse down to the base.

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by BrianEdwards » July 22nd, 2020, 1:10 pm

Me and others have tried, the cliffs are unbroken. The only practical way in on foot is up the creek. I once hiked up the north ridge from the highway all the way up to the forest road above, then came down the south ridge. I was looking for a way in, no go. Huge unbroken cliffs. I only got down the south ridge from the top by bear-hugging and sliding down two different logs that had slid over the cliff and were laying vertically down / over it.
Last edited by BrianEdwards on July 22nd, 2020, 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

doubleawilly
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Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by doubleawilly » July 22nd, 2020, 2:27 pm

Thanks for the reply Brian. Quick follow-up question - it seems like traversing the creek up from the Indian Henry Campground, it travels more or less from east to west. When you say east/west, do you mean more or less the southside or the northside? I'm having trouble determining which way is east/west while on the creek, perhaps I'm cardinal-directionally challenged (see image below).

Image

Regardless, thanks for posting this! I stumbled upon it a couple weeks ago and having never done any off the beaten path exploring, so I'm planning on attempting to reach these waterfalls on Saturday! I'm meticulously studying your original route description along with my slope charts. The east/west clarification will really help!

Cheers - Aaron

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by BrianEdwards » July 22nd, 2020, 5:15 pm

Cool, good luck. More specifically, to get above the first falls you come to, go right (compass north). The next two big Falls, stay left (south). The route finding gets more difficult at each falls, but is totally doable. To get above the third fall, Indian Henry, you’ll need to climb up almost to the cliff, then backtrack down the canyon just below the cliff 500 or more walking feet til u find the mossy slope to slither up. It’s around a corner and on the other side of a gulley. Good luck!
Last edited by BrianEdwards on July 25th, 2020, 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

doubleawilly
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Joined: July 6th, 2020, 12:06 pm

Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by doubleawilly » July 25th, 2020, 7:56 pm

Holy cow that was some rough terrain! Managed to make it to the 2nd waterfall. I think I know what you were saying about the steep slope on the south side, if you were right on the pebbles at the base of the 2nd waterfall and looked south (the only direction without a massive cliff, the slope was right there right? We ended up backtracking a couple hundred feet down the creek and started traversing up the slope next to a large diagonally downed log.

What did us in was right at the beginning of the slope starting from the 2nd waterfall, I crawled in-between some branches and my face ran into something small and black and it stung me right on the tip of my nose. Not knowing what stung me or it could've been a black widow we were forced to turn around knowing we had an hour+ of traversing down and I didn't want to keel over paralyzed or whatever after a bad spider bite.

Now that we have a better idea of what we got into, I'm excited to recuperate and retry again soon.

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BrianEdwards
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Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by BrianEdwards » July 25th, 2020, 10:32 pm

Hey you still got to go on a great adventure. At the second falls you were in the correct spot. I backtrack a couple hundred ft and then head straight up til I’m above the falls, then make my way upstream through the notch in the cliff. Be prepared, getting above the third one is a true test, but completely doable.
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

doubleawilly
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Joined: July 6th, 2020, 12:06 pm

Re: Finally... The big falls on Whale Creek, without a rope!

Post by doubleawilly » July 26th, 2020, 5:20 pm

Awesome! I'll post here again when I can eventually get back there if I can make it to the 4th waterfall

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