Forum Index > Trip Reports > Waterfalls - It's that time again. The Drury Falls challenge.
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Scrooge
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Scrooge
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 8:05 am 
Most of the year, Drury Falls is a wall of wet rock, high above the Wenatchee River, on the south side of the gorge. But, in years of heavy snowpack and sudden snowmelt, it becomes one of the most impressive waterfalls in Washington - or anywhere. Eleven years ago today, I took this picture.
It was taken from down by the river, next to Rt 2, a little more than a mile away. I desperately wanted to climb up till I could feel the ground tremble and feel the spray in my face. Two years later, on June 14, 2011, I tried it. But it ain't easy. I didn't make it. - I was 69, and trying it on my own, with no examples to follow. However, I wrote up my attempt, here on NWHikers, in a long, detailed report that I've reproduced below. If any of you are waterfall addicts, this may be the time to use it. This year's snowpack is heavier than usual, and significant snowmelt hasn't started - yet. But the temperature was 88F down in the Tri-cities, yesterday. hmmm.gif ................................................................... tic.flickr.com/2769/5807880819_08c4d1f406_z.jpg?zz[/img]
Drury Falls from Tumwater Mountain - DRSpalding photo
Drury Falls from Tumwater Mountain - DRSpalding photo
Drury Falls tumbles from the rim of Tumwater Canyon, with a total drop that Bryan Swann (Sore Feet) estimates at more tha 1200 feet, of which about 600 feet is clearly, if distantly, visible from Highway 2. As we saw in the Drury Falls - What's happening? thread, there are really quite a few good photos of Drury Falls around, but they're all telephotos, all taken from a mile or more away, all taken from the same angle. As far as I can tell from the photographic record, no one (except ice climbers) has ever gone up to check out the whole series of falls and to take pictures from up close, from different angles. I've dreamed of doing that for years and last Tuesday I gave it my best shot. ......... I didn't even come close. irked.gif For starters, you have to cross the Wenatchee River and, since the time to photograph Drury is during snowmelt, you have to cross the Wenatchee in flood. Then you have to bushwhack up along the river till you get to Fall Creek, and then scramble 2000 or 3000 feet up along the stream. ........ I made it to Fall Creek, just barely.
Drury Falls plan
Drury Falls plan
raft, 0.7 miles rt, 1 hour 15 minutes hike, 1.5 miles rt, 6 hours 45 minutes total, 2.2 miles rt, 8 hours Net elevation gain, 200 feet.
Drifting
Drifting
Jolanda Lake, from where I beached my raft
Jolanda Lake, from where I beached my raft
Wenatchee River in flood - that's the lake in the distance.
Wenatchee River in flood - that's the lake in the distance.
I have a little rubber raft that I use to cross the river, and I make my crossing on Jolanda Lake, to avoid the force of the river. I'd done it before, so I was pretty sure it would work. Unfortunately, I had not done it when the river was in flood. The current, even in the lake, was so strong that I could make no headway against it. At one point, I gave up and tried to tow the raft up along the bank (it didn't work). So I tried rowing, again. This time, though, instead of trying to sneak up in the smooth water along the shore, I rowed out into the rougher water in the middle of the lake and there, for some reason, I was able to make some headway (something about less drag in turbulence??). It took me an hour to move a quarter of a mile upstream and, frankly, I don't know how I did it.
Lovely little hill - behind where I beached my raft.
Lovely little hill - behind where I beached my raft.
Anyway, I got there, put on my boots, and started up through the flower garden. Unfortunately, I knew I had to go back down to the river. I'd tried going up the first time I was here, following the path of least resistance, but it didn't get me one bit closer to the falls. So I went down the other side into the mess.
The trail
The trail
Friendly native
Friendly native
Sample - Unfortunately, it was a nice day, so I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. :(
Sample - Unfortunately, it was a nice day, so I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. frown.gif
This is one of the few places I have ever gone where there was no sort of trail, at all. No fishermen's trails, no deer tracks, no nothing but a typical riverside mess of broken trees and brambles.
The trail
The trail
The trail
The trail
The trail
The trail
I discovered that, when I could manage it, my easiest progress was made by scrambling on the rocks right beside the river, and my best friends were the few fallen trees that happened to be pointing in my direction.
Not these trees, however.
Not these trees, however.
Fall Creek, where I stopped for lunch ...... and stopped.
Fall Creek, where I stopped for lunch ...... and stopped.
It took three hours and twenty minutes to travel the 3/4 mile from where I left the raft to where I stopped for lunch on Fall Creek. At first, I wasn't even sure that it was Fall Creek, but I did finally catch one glimpse ot the top of the falls. That was enough. Some of the younger, stronger members of the waterfall gang, Aaron or Brian or Tony, can probably make this trip where I failed. It will probably be worth it. ...... But I won't be back. frown.gif[/quote] ................................................. Go for it.

Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!

Obi Tony Kenobi, day_hike_mike, CS
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Bootpathguy
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 9:03 am 
Bummer the pictures aren't loading for me

Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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zephyr
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zephyr
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 10:00 am 
It's an issue. Note this thread in Support. https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8035560 ~z

hikergirl1234
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zephyr
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zephyr
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 10:01 am 
Ha! No sooner than I posted the above response, the photos magically appear. Hopefully the issue is resolved. ~z

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CS
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CS
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 10:16 am 
Were you just kind of winging it with a raft off amazon? Or did you do use a pack raft, with paddle, pfd etc.? That thorny plant looks like it could have done a lot worse.

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philfort
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 12:48 pm 
How would it be getting there cross country from the icicle ridge trail? Like to the top?

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Sculpin
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PostFri Jun 10, 2022 1:29 pm 
I remember reading this report and thinking that it should be easy enough to cross in an inflatable kayak just upstream of Falls Creek. There is a bit of a river run there with no rapids. Then one would have to carry the kayak up stream to do the same in reverse. Still rough country but a lot less of it.

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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Scrooge
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Scrooge
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PostSat Jun 11, 2022 6:26 am 
CS, the raft was pretty good, something you'd find at a sporting goods store, not a toy store - but not military surplus, either. I used to use its predecessor to cross the Stillaguamish at Big Four, back when that trail bridge was out (2007 and 2008). In fact, I sold that raft on the spot for $50, to a family that wanted to cross to make the hike to the Ice Caves.
The new raft on Jolanda Lake: small, but solid.

Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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zephyr
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zephyr
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PostSat Jun 11, 2022 8:38 am 
Scrooge wrote:
Most of the year, Drury Falls is a wall of wet rock, high above the Wenatchee River, on the south side of the gorge. But, in years of heavy snowpack and sudden snowmelt, it becomes one of the most impressive waterfalls in Washington - or anywhere. Eleven years ago today, I took this picture.
This photo is stunning. Such a powerful waterfall. Just the image is intimidating, let alone getting getting close to it. Yes, I imagine the ground would tremble a bit. ~z

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Scrooge
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Scrooge
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PostSat Jun 11, 2022 9:35 am 
sculpin: Ice Girl and I talked about that. In fact, we walked the entire length of the road for about a mile, trying to pick out a landing spot on the opposite shore. There wasn't one. frown.gif No little bay, no sandbars, just a steep bank coming straight down to the water along that whole stretch. And don't be deceived by the smooth water, either. It's still a river in full flood; we're just sticks.

Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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Snowshovel
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PostSat Oct 29, 2022 8:26 pm 
There are tons of epics by ice climbers crossing the river. John Stoddard broke through the lake, Rat and friend capsized their canoe and Doug Klewin broke an ice bridge and became marooned in the middle of the river resulting in an ad hoc rescue by some locals and a turnout by the sheriff’s office.

hikerbiker
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Worthington
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PostSat Oct 29, 2022 9:11 pm 
Cross the pond at the taffy shop, walk up the bank for 15 mins, then turn uphill. Minimal brush and no need for a scary crossing. You could do it with an innertube and a frisbee!

hikerbiker
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cascadeclimber
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PostMon Nov 07, 2022 11:41 am 
We don't have much in the way of reliable, adventurous waterfall ice climbing in Washington, but Drury is one. Cross the river, scrog along the bank, find the right gully (not trivial in the trees), scrog up a long way, too narrow for skis, a short alpine ice approach pitch. Then five pitches to WI5 (choose your fun on the upper falls). Then try to find the various rap stations to get down. And if you don't have 70 meter ropes, hope that your 60s stretch enough to land you on the final rap of the upper falls. If you are slow on the climb or descent, you get to re-cross the river in the dark. I've often wondered how much ice climbing gear has melted out in the spring and now lays at the bottom of the two falls. There must be a goodly bit.

If not now, when?
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Snowshovel
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PostMon Nov 07, 2022 12:01 pm 
I remember two 165’ rappels on the upper, the last one a hanging station off a small tree and a 1” angle pounded into place with both arms.

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cascadeclimber
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PostTue Nov 08, 2022 8:52 am 
Snowshovel wrote:
I remember two 165’ rappels on the upper, the last one a hanging station off a small tree and a 1” angle pounded into place with both arms.
I think the length of the last rap on the upper falls is dependent on how much snow has piled up at the bottom of it. Both times I've done it I relied on rope stretch to land me and then let the ends of the rope run through the device. It's an example of a time when it's better to not knot the ends of the ropes. And yes, it was a hanger off a rather small tree. First rap:
Slow on the climb consequence: Paddling the river in the dark.

If not now, when?
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