The Ottawa River gets much whitewater mojo, and Kicking Horse river is a beast of its own, but the most dangerous whitewater rapids in Canada are in their own class. Literally, as in Class 6 – a category so dangerous it’s rarely attempted.
And you may be surprised to learn they’re close to Vancouver.
I doubt you’ve heard of it either. But among whitewater rapids in Canada, Dipper Creek in the Squamish Valley sticks out. It’s even been named among the 10 most dangerous rapids on the planet and lumped in with some whit water heavyweights like Inga Rapids in Africa.
It’s not a river. Dipper Creek is actually a creek (natch) that snakes through the mountains north of Squamish, through canyons, forrest, and some of the most stunning and inhospitable terrain British Columbia can throw at you.
You’d want to cut your teeth on many, many whitewater rapids in Canada before even thinking about trying the gauntlet that is Dipper Creek. And the kicker – you can only do it about four weeks each year.
Rating Whitewater Rapids In Canada
A refresher for you on the International Scale of River Difficulty before we go further:
Class 1 – Easy. Small waves, if any.
Class 2 – Novice. This is where you get your feet wet in whitewater rafting – though not a lot because rapids are minimal here.
Class 3 – Intermediate. Think PG-13 among whitewater rapids in Canada. You’ll need a little skill to maneuver a Class 3 river. Much of Kicking Horse is in this category, for example, making it a great spot to learn the sport.
Class 4 – Advanced. The shit’s getting real here, with much skill required and perhaps scouting in advance. Injuries are not uncommon in Class 4 rapids and you’ll likely bail at least once on your journey.
Class 5 – Expert. This is the 18-A rating of white water wizardry. Rapids will be long and violent and scouting required – if even possible. Rescue is close to impossible in Class 5 rapids. Clearly this is best left to the pros.
Then, the final Class, so extreme (and rare) they’re not often discussed…
Class 6 – Exploratory (how’s that for intimidating??). Class 6 rapids are so dangerous they’re rarely attempted, and should only be done under ideal settings. With just 4 confirmed extreme athletes to have done it, Inga Rapids is a Class 6 whitewater rapid.
Three guesses where Dipper Creek belongs? It’s a Class 6 – the only whitewater rapids in Canada with that dubious crown (that I know of).
Watch the video at the end of this post and you’ll see why it’s so dangerous. Most of the creek is pure whitewater. It’s one 40 foot waterfall drop after another through chasms and crevasses with names like Vertigo Gorge and Rock Snot.
Seriously, who thinks of this stuff? Possibly someone with a major set of cojones, and the skill and experience of a seasoned professional.
The Pearl in the Oyster…
Dipper Creek is a glacial run-off creek. Nature really did make it a prize for whitewater enthusiasts because there’s just a very small opening, usually in October, when levels are right to give it a go.
You don’t try Dipper Creek if you’re not a whitewater ninja. Just hiking there will test your mettle. This ain’t no lark after Church on Sunday afternoon – you work your way up to Dipper Creek. Think of other whitewater rapids in Canada first, like Kicking Horse, Elaho River or rafting on the Fraser river first if you live in BC with a course and proper training.
Then put it out there to the whitewater Gods: you’re here, you’re stoked, and ready to learn the basics of whitewater rafting. With time and commitment, they may smile on you, and one day you may eye Dipper Creek. I wouldn’t blame you. Dipper Creek may be the most dangerous of all whitewater rapids in Canada, but that’s part of the fun – with the right training and preparation.
Learn more about Dipper Creek at LiquidLore.com and read stories of extreme athletes who’ve tried their luck at it. And watch this video – it’s a little grainy, but I dig that music, and does its own justice for the most dangerous whitewater rapids in the great white north. Enjoy!