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  • Writer's pictureNicko

Donaldson River, G3-G4?

The club led by Mark recently shot this river on the 11-12 september 2004, The get in is at the Bridge over the river on the (road to nowhere) with the getout being corinna on the Pieman river. This is a pure wilderness river and once you leave the bridge it would be very hard to walk out. The river starts off narrow grade 2 with a couple of log jams including a big one at the Toner river junction that had to be portaged. Shortly after this the first of three steep sections is reached, this involves a few k of steep grade 3-low 4, with the first major drop being the hardest rapid. We had lunch at the bottom of the first steep section. The second steep section is a non event with drop pool style gr 2. With time ticking on we passed two hardly identifiable spires Mark had identified on the topographic map as marking the start of a flatter brouder valley section.Suitable camp sites are hard to find but we eventually found one a couple of ks past the spires. Overnight the water dropped by nearly a foot, the second day involved approx 4 k of flatish paddling before we reached the third steep section that is easily identified on the topographic maps, This consists of about a klm of bouldery cascades, the first major rapid has a significant drop but at this water level was easily shot on the right, around a corner is three large drops in a row with the third drop being severely undercut, necessitating lining the boats, the third cascade was easily shot on the right, at high water levels this section would be big long grade 4 cascades. Below the steep bit is a few more ks of gr 2-3 rapids before the river becomes tidal and enters the Pieman, There where no fishing boats around so the group had to paddle the 6 ks up the pieman to corinna against a very slight current.


This river is a superb trip, great rainforest/ gorge scenery, cool rapids and well worth the long drive and paddle up the pieman.

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