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four_eyez
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Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 10:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Out of curiosity has anyone here run the Pontax River before? In case it sounds un familiar, it is a medium-sized river, about 400 KM from source at Lac Champion, down to the Bay close to Waskaganish (huddled in betweem the Eastmin and Rupert watersheds). I ran it (and part of the Rupert upstream) this summer, and I am just looking for anyone else who has run it, in part or whole.
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bateaux
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Post Number: 5
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 1:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

What is the Pontax like? In comparison to the Rupert? or say the Nemiscau? And how is paddling on the Bay? I've never run the Pontax, but was part of a section that thought very seriously about running it and not the lower Rupert.
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four_eyez
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Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 6:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Well... firstly, I'm going to point out that my trip encompassed setting in on the Rupert where it's crossed by the Route du Nord, and I ran 80 K or so of it, and experienced it's big water and speedy current. We then overlanded into the Nemiscau, and then again into Lac Champion, the headwaters of the Pontax (and where present day Nemaska is). The Pontax, for the most part, was a bit rocker, and way smaller than the Rupert. It kind of followed a classic shield pattern for a while, of a set, flatwater, set, flatwater, some lakes, some marshes in between.
Being about 350-400 Km ish, about 150 Km after the head of it, it started with a pattern of having long sections of sets, with about a dozen drops (ranging from large ledges to swifties, and technical R2-to-R4s), 3-4 Km long, and separted by about 10-20 KM of flatwater at a time. ALot of these W.W sections were split up by islands too, while the flatwater areas were just meandering and such. Around the mid point, when we hit the James bay Hwy., the river widened out a bit, only to drop more steeply in it's last 120 Km with lots of fun and technical sets, and some long portages around harder sets and falls.
Overall, the Pontax was a technical river, fun and crazy, and you could do it from it's headwaters in as little as 2 weeks I'd say. We had it during HIGH water, and i've heard that in lower water, the ledges and such we lined or portaged are usually more runnable.
Towards the end, it's tributaries catch up, it takes on more volume, and ended in the last 50Km resembling big Rupert-like water. From the tide-zone delta, the paddle to Waskaganish was pretty easy, and the Bay paddle was only a straightfoward paddle along the shore of Ruperts Bay, though we ended having both current and tide pushing us away from our end point.
Not a river for an in-experienced group of people, but easier (I'd guess) than the lower Rupert, which looked to me from the James Bay Hwy bridge to be insane (with that huge set seen from the bridge).

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