Information on Whistlepost Cr.


Whistlepost Cr.

	Rating: IV-V (P)
	TDCR: 8995
	Location: Whistlepost is entirely on private land, so be very careful
		to not trespass on your way to the creek. The put-in is
		reached by taking the Winslow exit off of I-540 and heading
		East to Winslow. Just before you drop off the hill into
		town, take a right on a good gravel road. This road is
		Bunyard Rd. which eventually crosses over the freeway
		tunnel. (It's also called Freedom Rd. at it's other end
		that comes out near the Hart Cr. and Ben Doodle Cr.
		put-ins. You can drive in from Chester that way too if you
		prefer.) You'll need to make a right just outside of
		Winslow and a left a while later. Just stay on the best
		road surface if in doubt. After 4.5 to 5 miles of driving
		you'll see a small road turning left with a sign for
		"Morris Taxidermy". Take this road and take the
		first left near a house (the taxidermy shop) about 1/4 mile
		down. You'll go past some fields and finally come to a nice
		gravel driveway leading to a house in a field. Turn right
		at this driveway and follow the dirt road/trail downhill.
		Unless you have a very high-clearance 4WD you'll want to
		find a turnout to park in at this point. The road becomes
		very rough. Either drive or walk downhill on this road
		until you come to a large field on the right. Go just past
		the field and look for a road/trail going left toward the
		creek. Follow this road as it doubles back the way you came
		and eventually paralells the bluffs of the creek gorge.
		Stay on the road until it drops down into a timber cut and
		intersects the creek. Put in on either of the two branches
		which merge just downstream of the put-in. You're standing
		right on the Washington/Crawford Co. line at the put in.
		Don't try to access the put-in from the other side of the
		creek (the left or East side). That road is gated (twice!)
		and posted no trespassing! You can either take out on Clear
		Cr. at Schaberg or at Chester. Schaberg is only 1/2 mile
		down from the Whistlepost and Clear Cr. confluence, and it
		can be reached by taking Schaberg Rd. from old Hwy. 71 at
		the rest stop near Artist Point. Park on the near side
		(river left) of the bridges at Schaberg to avoid annoying
		landowners near the railroad tracks. Going to Chester adds
		another 5 miles of class II-III water (about 1.5 hours when
		Clear Cr. is high) to the trip and provides an easier to
		find take-out.
	Topo Quad(s): N/A
	Gradient: 250 fpm (1 mi @ 350 fpm)
	Length: 2.25 mi
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: This is a very small creek that needs very recent and heavy
		rain to pump it up. 3" of rain no more than 6 hours
		before you get there will probably produce a good run.
		Clear Cr. and McCaslin Br. in Chester should be flooded,
		and Lee Cr. should be heading for a reading of 15+ feet.
		There are two tributaries converging right at the put-in.
		Both should look at least a low-runnable level for a good
		run. If the right trib is flowing over the road into the
		left trib, the run will be very dangerous. No more than 200
		cfs is needed for a solid class IV-V run!
	Hazards: Numerous undercut rocks, downed trees, potholes, strong
		hydraulics, big, continuous rapids. 
	Description: Whistlepost Cr. is probably the best and toughest of
		Crawford Co. steep creek runs. In fact, its extreme
		combination of gradient and huge undercut boulders packed
		into a super-narrow gorge makes for one of the most
		intense runs anywhere in the Ozarks. First run after a
		freak summer storm on 6/30/99 by Bill Herring and Steve
		Robertson, a little water goes a very long way in this
		small gorge. Minimum, optimal, and high levels are only
		seperated by a few cubic feet per second of flow. And this
		is not a good creek to run when it's too high. The run
		starts at a road crossing where two tributaries merge. The
		first drops are a few easy class III's, which provide
		little warmup for what's comming up. When you pass a
		cascade comming in on the left, you'll be entering
		"Wet Your Whistle", a 1/4 mile long stretch of
		class III-IV that never seems to end. Good eddies are
		really hard to find in this section, and there are some
		places in it that you don't want to explore. Scout ahead
		anytime you can get stopped. When you see a dark, cave
		looking feature up ahead on the right, stop immediately
		and get out on the left bank to scout
		"Cathedral". This is one of the most difficult
		and impressive rapids anywhere in the Ozarks. It consists
		of four successive falls of four to ten feet in height.
		The total drop is nearly 30 feet. Huge undercut rocks
		overhang the rapid from the right, and water sieves into
		and under these rocks in every drop. The third and
		shortest drop is the most intense part, and you have to
		work left fast after it to avoid an undercut and huge
		pothole on the right. Scouting and portaging are possible
		on river left. Next you'll have to get to the right bank
		immediately below the last drop of Cathedral and scout
		downstream to "Quiet Falls". Don't try to run
		down to it from Cathedral, since there is not much
		oppourtunity to stop before you drop over this 18 foot
		fall. The scout or portage is on the right, and it is
		extremely tough. It's a 10 to 15 minute trip one way to
		get around the fall and the grotto that surrounds it.
		Scout the pool carefully before trying to run Quiet Falls,
		as wood tends to collect in the pool below. The pool is
		about 6' at its deepest, and anywhere you land can hit you
		really hard. The drop following the falls is fairly
		straightforward on the right, but on the left it has one
		of the worst undercuts in the Ozarks (nicknamed
		"Wondercut"). If you run it, stay well to the
		right. After this drop, scout ahead all the way to the
		next big drop about 100 yards downstream. This is
		"Big Nasty", which is not runnable by human
		beings at normal levels. This combination
		waterfall/natural bridge/undercut crevice is easiest to
		portage on the left. If you get close to it, you'll likely
		be running it, so pick out a good place to stop if you
		choose to run the class III rapids just above. More class
		III+ leads to a big class IV drop of about 10 feet. This
		rapid tends to collect trees, so a portage on the right
		may be the only good option. About 1/3 mile of
		continuous, cluttered class III-IV water remains before
		the creek eases up to class II-III. Don't let your gaurd
		down in this stretch. After 1/3 mile of easier water,
		you'll turn right and come along side a man-made rock pile
		that has a railroad track on top of it. Get out and walk
		downstream to scout "The Tunnel Of Love". This
		6' culvert can be boated into Clear Cr., which runs on the
		other side of the tracks. The drop into Clear Cr. is about
		6 feet and the hydraulics at the bottom are bizzare and
		could be dangerous. You'll most likely have to roll up
		against the rock wall that the current pushes into right
		at the bottom. Clear Cr. will seem huge after Whistlepost,
		but it's considered a creek run in its own right. Clear
		Cr. has lots of class II-III action and some really bad
		trees right above the bridge at Schaberg. You can take out
		at Schaberg (1/2 mile from Whistlepost) or you can run 5
		more miles to Chester. If you go to Chester, watch out for
		some more big culverts just past the I-540 bridges, and
		beware of a rebar studded low-water crossing near some
		ramshackle houses not too far below the freeway. (This
		author will not run this section of Clear Cr. again, due
		to holes punched into his creek boat by pieces of rebar!)
		Whistlepost is an incredible steep creek run, and it is
		one of the most dangerous runs around. It has more
		undercuts in one mile than any other creek described in
		this list! Scouting the creek dry ahead of time may be
		a requirement for survival. (Besides it's as beautiful to
		hike as it is to run!) If you've been down Hart Cr. and
		thought it was no big deal, you'll probably enjoy
		Whistlepost. If you don't have the skills to handle it,
		you'll have a lot of hiking to do on your way out of the
		gorge.

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