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For anyone reading this thread for info, I have a suggestion for crossing the Kern safely. Bring some sort of inflatable to put your backpack on while swimming. It's not a huge deal, but I'm a good swimmer and it wasn't easy. I think that would significantly increase the safety factor for the trip.
0 · May 13
What an awesome experience with some fantastic friends. The conditions were absolutely perfect IMHO. I want to thank Deven for all the work he put in before and during the decent. He obviously had a plan and he executed it flawlessly. Best canyon I've done in California. All others bow down to the cups.
0 · May 12
Thanks everyone, great trip. Perfect weather and conditions. Dry Meadow Creek is running on the low end of about 15-20 cfs right now and the Kern River is about 600 cfs. The hike in from the top was easy, pleasant, and picturesque. Park an exit vehicle at the bridge and shuttle 1.5 miles west on MH-99 to the only dirt road turning off there to your right. Park on left side of road a few yards down. Cheers.
0 · May 12
7T-Cups is the gold standard of wet canyons in California, as far as I know, and it lived up to its reputation. Thanks for organizing, Deven. Note: normally this canyon should not be attempted by anyone other than extremely skilled wet canyoneers at this time of year due to severe hydraulics and charging waterfalls, but this year the water flow rate is near a historical low so it was fine.
0 · May 11
Hey guys, the Kern will be swimmable, but water in Dry Meadow Creek might still be high since it comes from a different source.
Make sure you are prepared for high water (see video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...).
The hike in is the one described by Brennen, I did this the first time, but now I know better. There's a much quicker and better version: hike in along the river, cross over a little bit past the junction of Dry Meadow Creek, climb over the ridge using a faint use trail and drop down into the stream. Shorter in time and distance, it will also allow you to visually check flow of Kern river and Meadow Creek during the approach and bail if you're not convinced. If you need GPS track shoot me an email and I'll send it to you.
0 · May 8
If you need a dry bag, Walmart Sporting Goods sells a 20L "Outdoor Products" white/clear bag for about $6 that works pretty well with an extra trash bag inside.
For wetsuits I recommend a 4/3mm (or perhaps 5/4mm) full suit. There are lots of possible manufacturers, but Hyperflex makes a very comfortable suit in $110-150 range: http://www.amazon.com/Hyperflex...
A wetsuit must be properly fitting and snug, or it will not provide you with the intended insulative properties.
0 · May 5
Scott, Re PFD: For Class C heavy flow, recommended for safety. About any cheap ($25?) vest-style ski/wakeboard/boating PFD will work. Personally, rather than kayaking style vests, I think these newer Wake-Boarding vests are better configured for Canyoneering...
O'Neill Outlaw Comp Vest is not USCG approved because it does not guarentee face-up float for unconscious swimmer, but it is definitely much lighter (about half the USCG ones), close-fitting, and very comfortable even if you have a pack on over it. Provides some additional core warmth. About half as bulky as normal vest. Not sure what the boyancy is, but even if it is 50% of a USCG rated, with a wetsuit on it should be plenty.
0 · May 5
From road to Drainage over saddle: 0.6 mile (4360-4640ft)
Down drainage to Dry Meadow Creek: 1.2 mile (4520-4240ft)
Seven Teacups Canyon: 0.5 mile (4240-3880ft)
Kern River Exit: 2.1 mile (3880-3780ft)
Exit to Entrance on MH-99: 1.4 mile (4000-4360ft)
Total: 5.8 mile (3780-4640ft)
0 · May 5
Start TH Turnoff from MH-99: 35.97660, -118.49973
(1.5 miles west of MH-99 Bridge)
Hike up over Saddle: 35.98101, -118.50123
And into Gully: 35.98326, -118.50278
Follow Gully NE to Canyon: 35.99348, -118.48895
Top of Seven Teacups: 35.99390, -118.48522
Confluence with Kern: 35.99309, -118.48265
Exit Parking Lot: 35.96950, -118.48733
0 · May 5