10th Annual Callaghan Creek Race, B.C

Posted By: Jen Chrimes Published: 11/07/2019

The 10th annual Callaghan Creek race was held on the pristine waters of the Callaghan river just outside of Whistler, B.C. For those who are not familiar with the run, it is one of the Sea to Sky’s premier kayak runs and flows from snow melt between the months of April until August. It flows from the Callaghan valley and past highway 99, it is super accessible yet remarkably well hidden. Hidden from the views of passing tourists are a 15ft and 20ft waterfall linked together by a sporty rapid. It’s these, plus the many other high class rapids that the river offers that draw kayakers from around to paddle it. At low flows the creek is a quality class IV+ run, and when levels are peaking, it becomes a hard and pushy piece of class V white water.

Image: Mark Teasdale

This year levels for the race were on the low side, a less than average snowpack and mild temperatures kept the water from gaining too much momentum.The Callaghan Creek race kicked off on the Friday night with a time trial down the Upper Cheakamus river, another Whistler classic - a class IV run that’s packed with quality white water and a whole lot of bang for your buck. The race started from the eddy above put-in falls and finished at the gauge stick at the normal take out. 45 racers turned out for the time trial, Blake Miller from Australia took the win for the men’s with an impressive time of 10.41 in front of local Kiah Schaepe, I took the top spot in the women’s. These race times would decide the start times for the Callaghan race the next day, and with water levels being at the highest point during the evening, it was worth fighting for a good time in the time trial.

Image: Mark Teasdale

The Callaghan race is a team’s race, this makes it an interesting race to both compete in and predict the winners. Unlike the time trial down the Cheakamus river, where first place and last were separated by only 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the Callaghan race saw over an hour of difference between the first and last teams! I was teamed up with Crista Wiles, this would be the first time she had raced the Callaghan and brought along a film crew who were making a documentary about rad people living in the Sea to Sky, which could only add to the pressure of hitting nice lines and going fast. The men’s division saw some strong teams including locals and reigning champs Kiah Schaepe & Jure Stan. This years podium saw Tad Dennis & Blake Miller come in 1st place, ahead of Geoff Calhoun & Louis Geltman. The post race party is celebrated in the most Canadian way possible-speakers, a DJ set, dance floor and lights are all set up in the woods and everyone parties until the early hours of the morning, or until the police come and shut it down!

Article by Jen Chrimes.

Credits to Nick Gottlieb, Mark Teasdale & Dave Wortley for the great images.