Don’t read this trip report and think to yourself that putting on the Illinois at nearly 4K is a good idea. At this flow swimming would be incredibly dangerous. So… if you decide to do it, that’s great, but be really careful and make sure your group is solid.
On the trip: Mike Dearing, Aaron Stone, Skip Volpert, Bill Klingler, Nat Willis, Derek Kellenbeck, Nick Ellis, Erin Ellis, Roger Goth, Justin Hawkins, Will Volpert.
We got on the water around 10:45 on Saturday and made it to Collier Creek by 3:00. And that was with a long lunch break and long scout at Green Wall. The water moves! Getting below the big stuff when the water is high is key because if it keeps going up you are in a world of hurt. The honest truth is a lot of the stuff develops cheats, but you better make sure you know where they are or you’ll get swallowed. The waves and holes are huge, the water is fast – you do not want to swim this river at high water.
We went from Collier Creek to Oak Flat in an hour and fifteen minutes. 11 miles. I don’t think words can describe the Illinois at high water. When things are going good it is the ultimate best feeling in the world. If shit hit the fan it would be a bad place to be. Here are some photos…