Tumalt Creek

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chameleon
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Tumalt Creek

Post by chameleon » February 2nd, 2011, 8:36 pm

Today I headed up to check out Tumalt Creek on a tip from Bryan (Swan), that there was a falls mentioned on an old stream survey. Trail 400 has not been maintained there for many years apparently. So, I went ahead and flagged it as far as Tumalt Creek. At that point, someone looks to have flagged the other side of the creek - I saw some pink flagging on the other side (my flagging is orange). So FS, if you plan to hit that at some point - you're welcome. :) The trail really disappears about 150 past the trailhead, but I did the best I could at flagging what looks to have once been the route.
tumalt creek topo.JPG
Once on the creek, I simply followed the streambed. It's fairly simple. It is broad and the trees in it are tiny. You can tell it get hit by some major flooding and landslides regularly. At one point you pass a mini forest of small deciduous trees that are probably spectacular in early November.

About halfway up, you pass an incredible view of huge crumbly bluffs.
IMG_7043.jpg
You can clearly see different levels. The stream forks a few times as small tributaries pour in.

It forks one last time right at the spot the stream ends on the map, and there are waterfalls on both forks. Today, being frozen they weren't photogenic.
IMG_7076.jpg
The one on the left looks to fall in a few drops for a total of @ 200 ft. On the right, you have a waterfall of @ 350 ft.
IMG_7067.jpg
I wouldn't be surprised if more tiers exist above though.

There is a big problem with the stream, at least from a waterfall-hunters perspective. In safer weather, when it is dry, the waterfalls are small and not terribly impressive. In wet weather, they would be spectacular. There would also be an assortment of 500 ft + seasonal waterfalls on the bluffs to your right on the way in. However, don't sign me up for that trip! It is obvious that when #%[email protected] goes down on Tumalt, it is serious! The walls above are crumbly and the entire streambed is made up of conglomerate boulders and dirt. Major slides apparently happen often. In fact, there is no moss at all in the streambed.
IMG_7060.jpg
IMG_7047.jpg
IMG_7048.jpg

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Splintercat
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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by Splintercat » February 2nd, 2011, 10:08 pm

Zach, you are a brave soul! I'll file that one with the Eliot Branch as places I don't want to stand around for more than 5 minutes..! Yowsa!

I think this was posted here, before, but here's a page devoted to the debris flows in this area. Unstable is putting it generously!

Thanks for the report!

Tom :)

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chameleon
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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by chameleon » February 2nd, 2011, 10:21 pm

Thanks Tom. Great link too - I haven't seen that before! And you're right. Even though it was all frozen today, it was still a bit un-nerving in the upper reaches. Devastation is all around you, and you know it's a frequent occurrence. It might be one of the most unstable areas I've seen in the Gorge. In wet weather, hiking up the streambed like I did today, would be insane!

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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by Sore Feet » February 3rd, 2011, 6:08 pm

What strikes me as the most interesting thing about that drainage is the streambed itself. I have no idea the date of the survey documents that tipped me off to this spot, but I suspect it to be the early 1950s. There is no way that Tumalt Creek as it exists now could be considered to have fish-bearing potential with all the rocky detritus in its streambed, so I'm wondering if over the years the slides and floods that have created such a barren trough have ultimately buried a waterfall lower down along its reach, perhaps somewhere near the highway? I really can't see the fisheries people having surveyed such an inhospitable stream all the way to the headwall, but at the same time, its good to know there are additional waterfalls up there, should this posit have some ground to stand on.

FWIW, the document mentions falls on Viento and Perham Creeks as well, but I've never seen evidence of falls on either of those two, so maybe assumptions were made in these cases based on the topography of the surrounding streams.

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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by Splintercat » February 3rd, 2011, 7:25 pm

Bryan, not sure if you saw it, but Jamey went a mile or so up Viento Creek a year or two ago, and posted a report here (no waterfalls). I'll see if I can find it.

Tom

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chameleon
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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by chameleon » February 3rd, 2011, 7:43 pm

Bryan - The idea of a buried waterfall is interesting. It is certainly a possibility given the sheer volume of matter deposited on Tumalt.

I have an idea where it might have been. At @ 1000 feet, a slanting shelf of basalt meets the streambed. On any other stream, you'd expect a waterfall there. It is also one of the only places real bedrock is found on the stream.

So, here's a theory: There was a waterfall there. I'd guess it was @ 50 ft tall. At some point, a massive landslide occurred. It scoured the streambed, and debris fell over the fall until it became nothing more than a ramp.

Prior to this, the lower reaches of Tumalt would have been similar to other Gorge streams, and salmon would no doubt have spawned all the way up to the waterfall.

Today, you are right. Given the lack of pools and pieces of slow water, it is extremely inhospitable to fish. I even doubt salamanders are present in the upper stream. There would be no reason for interest in this stream as it exists today.

You know...I really think we're onto something here... I'm going to head back in there and do some measuring/photographing at the suspected buried waterfall.

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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by pyles_94 » February 3rd, 2011, 8:01 pm

Ive always wanted to poke around in this area. Thanks for the report zach.. I want to give some of the other canyons a try in that area. The one that intrigues me is one of the smallest, it is just west of st. Peters dome. There is a big (meaning tall) falls up that way, but it probably is not very photogenic.

RE Viento creek-
It must have been an assumption. With Tumalt, the creek drains so steeply.. The idea of a buried falls is plausable. Viento is flat. It would have had to have been buried a LONG time ago, and quite deep.
Jamey Pyles

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chameleon
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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by chameleon » February 3rd, 2011, 8:29 pm

Just found an interesting tidbit on Tumalt.

"The turbulent summer rivulet, and fierce winter
torrent which descends in a dash of spray and foam from the steep
slopes of Yeon Peak has been termed "Tumalt creek" in place of
' 'Devils Slide' ' creek. Tumalt was an Indian of the Wahclella tribe who
dwelt on the beach near the mouth of this creek. He rendered material
aid to some of the white settlers in escaping from the savages at the
Cascades massacre in 1856. He was so unfortunate as to return, and
in the heat of the excitement following the defeat of the Indians by
the troops, was executed as a participant in the uprising. The high
rock pinnacles midway between Multnomah falls and Oneonta gorge
have been named "Winema,"a Lutuamian term meaning chieftainess,
and applicable because of a mythical tale in which a maiden rallied
her tribesmen and inflicted defeat on a band of invaders. She fell
in the battle, and Talapus raised the pinnacles where she fell."

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Sore Feet
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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by Sore Feet » February 3rd, 2011, 11:24 pm

pyles_94 wrote:RE Viento creek-
It must have been an assumption. With Tumalt, the creek drains so steeply.. The idea of a buried falls is plausable. Viento is flat. It would have had to have been buried a LONG time ago, and quite deep.
I didn't mean to imply that Viento was buried, rather that it might be that there was assumed to be a waterfall on it based on the topography in the general area (Starvation Creek, etc). Though it wouldn't surprise me at all if there was one further up than where you turned around.

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chameleon
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Re: Tumalt Creek

Post by chameleon » February 4th, 2011, 8:50 pm

I did a bit more investigating. I believe there is a chance that a waterfall once existed on Tumalt. Today I hiked up the stream once more looking for clues. There are actually two places where layers of basalt meet the streambed. Given the level of surrounding trees near the first one (trees @ 100 years old), I've ruled that out. There may have been a small drop there though. (In the following pic - the first basalt shelf is just beyond view)
IMG_7148.jpg
In the following pic, you can see the first basalt shelf. This is where I believe the top of the alluvial fan is.
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About a hundred meters upstream is a second. The entire distance between the two basalt shelves was obviously filled with debris in the 1996 debris avalanche. Today there are small trees @ 15 years old on the sloping deposit on the eastern side, but no old trees. However, on the Western side, there are large trees growing @ 50 feet above today's creek bed. This leads me to believe that buried beneath the deposited debris, a basalt shelf slopes up that side as well. This would indicate a slowly carved notch in the basalt existed there.

In short, it is possible that a waterfall existed at the point of the upper basalt shelf. When the 1996 flow hit, it completely enveloped the entire amphitheater below it. Given the propensity to major sliding (and the major alluvian fan beginning below the lower basalt shelf), I would doubt the waterfall was ever terribly tall. It probably gets buried at least every few thousand years, as sections of mountain sheer off. In between, it probably reappears as the water/mud slowly remove the debris from it and once more begin whittling away at the solid basalt (at a much slower rate than debris removal).

Here is what it looks like today. I didn't stick around to take pics from a bunch of angles today, as I got the willies while taking this pic.
IMG_7161.jpg
The basalt wall is seen in the upper left of the photo. It slopes down dramatically (I'll try to get a photo of the shelf sometime soon). You can see on the other side of the stream where the rim of the 96 debris flow is. The stream has already carved down 30 feet through it (between 15 and 40 ft at different places along the stream).
IMG_7164.jpg

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