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Rouge river, 7 Sisters ***

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  • Grade: 4-5
  • Level: Low water only, less than 40 cumecs
  • Gauge: Online and at Quebec Whitewater
  • Length: 500 m
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Put In: Usually accessed by running the Seuil Elizabeth section upstream
  • Take Out: At the Highway 148 bridge
  • Shuttle: 8.6 km
  • Character: Short section of drops to huck
  • References: Quebec Whitewater

Wait until late summer for this run - 15 cumecs is a good first time flow for running these drops. Despite the name, there are 6 drops, or 'sisters' on this section. The remaining one is sister Elizabeth (Elizabeth seuil) on the section upstream. Running the Seuil Elizabeth section to get to the start of this is highly recommended as a warm up, as you are straight into the drops. The other alternative is to access through New World rafting, which probably involves a bit of a hike. Ask at their lodge for the current situation. The take out is the same for both sections.

Graham Ball running the second drop
Graham Ball styling the 2nd drop. The 1st drop is in the background.

This section has a few flat pools between drops, and you will all want to get out and scout and set up cover for the drops. At the usual water levels, accessing both banks is not too difficult for much of the run. Sometimes this might involve ferrying across the pool below a drop.

The first and second drops are very close together. Make sure that you get to the right before the second drop to avoid the horseshoe pit on the left. The third drop is usually run on the right, but in slightly higher flows there is a boof line on the far left that has some water in it.

Matt Stanfield on a riverboard
Matt Stanfield running the 3rd drop on a riverboard.

The fourth and fifth drops are close, and are run together. Either left or right line on the fourth drop goes, and charge left! The final drop is under the bridge carrying the autoroute, and is the easiest, but still by no means trivial. Once you are past this, float down the remaining easier rapids to where the river meets the Ottawa.

Petawawa Raft Team between the 4th and 5th drops.
Petawawa Raft Team between the 4th and 5th drops.