I divide the Collowash into three sections: The upper, which is IV+ to V, the Middle, which is about two miles long and includes Chute to Kill and Boulderdash, and the lower, which is very scenic but pretty uneventful. The good stuff on the 'Middle' Collowash River doesn't last long, but it does make for an interesting extension of the IV+ to V upper run.
The action starts up right away, with continuous class III whitewater down to Boulderdash, the first class IV. If the entire river were like boulderdash this would be a classic run, but unfortunately this drop ends way too soon.
John Whaley at the top of Boulderdash
The last drop on Boulderdash is the hardest, dropping a total of ten feet through a tight boulder jumble on the right. At the top of this drop the water piles up against a huge boulder, followed immediately by a technical, high-speed boof to the left to avoid getting splattered against the wall at the bottom. (This drop is always exciting because if you make a mistake you eat the wall, which has resulted in all kinds of entertaining carnage in the past.)
Pete Giordano gets ready to drop into the last (hardest) part of Boulderdash.
Below Boulderdash the river mellows with a few smaller drops leading up to Chute to Kill, the last class IV drop on the river. At Chute to Kill the river bends slightly to the right and then turns left and rushes along an impressive cliff wall into a deep moving pool. Immediately below this pool the river is divided by a large boulder. The left side pourover drops about five feet into a clean pool and the right drops into a dead-end boulder sieve. (Hence the name, Chute to Kill).
John and Pete scout the final drop of Chute to Kill.
John Whaley lines up at the top of Chute to Kill.
Pete runs the bottom part of Chute to Kill. From here you can see the right side drop from which the rapid derives it's name.
Below Chute to Kill the river mellows out to the Hot Springs Fork bridge. The final three miles below the Hot Springs Fork are very scenic, with a couple class III drops and some really fun playspots if the water is in the 2000 cfs range.