Thursday, January 28, 2010

Road trip part 2, The Gol Gol,

Road trip part 2, The Gol Gol,

This is actually the second try at the Gol Gol, a couple weeks back we showed up and decided there was way too much water. This time there was just a little less. The team, Kyle, Steven, Jake and I got suited up in our wet gear and hiked in to the first drop. Everyone was tired from the lack of good sleep the night before, (half the group slept in a truck and the other half in a bus stop). After a quick inspection of the first drop no one was interested in a big jungle hike to run a 15 foot boof. We put on below the first drop and cruised threw some fun class 4 towards the next horizon line. The whole run is made up of gigantic pour overs, that lead into class 4, and then back into other giant pour overs. With all of the big drops on this run pouring over it is really important to delay your boof stroke, waiting till the drop truly goes vertical to take that last powerful stroke.

Kyle getting his late boof

Steven dropping into an interesting flume, this thing was cool, both sides of the slide where just exploding, have to find the sliver of water that makes it through

Jake with a big boof

We bombed off a couple drops, and quickly arrived at an especially gnarly looking 30 ft drop. After scouting my line I gave myself a 50/50 chance of being where I wanted to be through the entrance rapid. If I was spot on from there I gave my self a 60% chance of sticking the boof over a nasty hole. To make it worse the hole was recirculating under the right wall, all of this equaled a no go in my head. Everyone in the group quickly came to the same decision and we raised the boats out of the canyon, through the jungle, and put them back in at the base of that very respectable rapid. A quick paddle brought us to the top of the 50 footer. "This thing is immense", easily a 1,000 cfs bouncing threw a narrow slot. The perfect line is through a nasty lead in, over a roller, and down 20 feet where the right side of the current engulfs you. Then you fall another 30 feet into the most aerated landing zone ever. Kyle looked at this drop for just a few minutes, walked up, got in his boat, and paddled into the monster. Kyle had an amazing line, and made this huge drop look really good to the rest of us.

Kyle styling the monster

Steven getting swallowed

One after the next, everyone donated themselves to the massive volume of water, letting themselves get engulfed and flying into the landing zone. In the pool of the landing zone everyone rolled up laughing, "IT FELT LIKE I JUST LANDED IN A CLOUD". As quick as it started it ended, we exited the canyon, jumped in the truck, and rallied back to town for some much need food.

Kyle reflecting on another stout

Chris Baer

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Florian, road trip part 1

Florian, road trip part 1

Paddling with the kids,
The adventure continues, one group leaves another shows up, the group dynamics change again. Some for the better some for the worse, but always entertaining. My latest adventure to the Florian and Gol Gol was with a extremely young group of paddlers. The group consisted of Kyle Hull age 20, Jake Greenbaum age 21, Steven Forester age 18, and my self Chirs Baer at age 31. With a big age and experience difference you know there is going to be some major differences in group dynamics. With as much deference as there was, we have in common something much more important, we are all good paddlers, and we were going to tackle some great rivers.

We rented another truck this time from Rodrigo Tuschner, (Rodrigo is the active partner and face of Kayak Pucon). The fact that we just rented a kayak vehicle made me a little nervous (kayakers aren't known for there meticulous vehicles). My suspicious about the vehicle were confirmed immediately when the rest of the team brought the truck over to the coffee house. The first things the crew said was that Rodrigo said "don't be going over 90k, and check the oil, don't ruin my shit".

So the journey began all four of us pilled in the truck and rallied at 90 kph for, four hours. We stopped for gas and the truck didn't start after we filled it. So, we simply push started the truck again and were on our way. Once we got to the Florian, I strategically parked the truck so we could easily roll start it down a good sized hill.

Once at the Florian we started our hike in, crossed the bridge and put on. This time on the Florian the gauge was reading 45 cm. This is 10 cm less water then last time we where at the Florian. Immediately I knew that the 50 footer was going to kick a little more, and the double drop might be runnable. We headed into the canyon and ran the first fun drop, everyone had smooth lines.

Jake in the first rapid

Steven boofing through the first rapid

Then as we were headed through some in-between class 4+ Kyle got pinned, pinned bad. His whole boat was under water, I was only feet away but unable to help. I had immediate thoughts of bad accidents I had been around before, but Kyle was wasting no time. Kyle was fighting hard, pushing off of rocks squirming around, and plan old "giviner hell". Quickly the water surged the boat shifted and the water was curtaining right over Kyle's head. It was at this point Kyle finally decided to get out of his boat. Kyle was very calm and precise about his movements. He got his knees up, and in one motion stood up in his cockpit and jumped into the pool below. A few minutes later Kyle was able to reach into the drop and unpin his boat. Once again we were on our way.

Kyle and his nasty pin rapid

The next drop is the double drop that we portaged the last time I was in the canyon. This time it was looking a little less scary and one by one we decided to hire it up. There was a myriad of lines from Jake's far left, to my far right, Kyle's underwater, and Steven's over rotating. Everyone was treated to a different experience, and everyone was ex-static to run a truly difficult rapid.

Jake slipping into the mealy

Kyle boofing the 20 ft exit drop

Steven over rotating off the bottom 20

Next rapid up is a fun 20 ft slide everyone just bombed down and that brought us to the 50 footer. Like I had said in a previous article, this 50 footer is not clean. There are flakes of rock the whole way down the drop looking to grab your boat, and flip, tip, or just slam you around. The group was solid, everyone came over the lip and road the drop "proud" (sitting tall in your boat and anticipating, the unexpected).
Riding proud gives you the best chance of correcting what ever those flakes in the drop decide to do to you, this time. Everyone dealt with thee bounces and had relatively smooth lines with low impacts at the bottom. From the base of the 50 footer it is just another couple hundred feet to the take out.

Kyle at the lip of the 50 footer

Steven in the depths riding proud

The take out trail SUCKS, it is at a 70 degree pitch, is all loose mud and rock, and covered in bamboo shoots that get tangled in every thing. Once on top of the ridge we tried a different technique to get back to the truck. We hiked river right up a old road to the bridge we put in on, across the bridge and back down to the truck. This route is definitely the better option. With this less brutal hiking option, my overall rating of this run has now been greatly improved. So if you are looking for a park and hike and stout hucking and then a decent hike back this is actually a damn good run.

Please remember there are hot-springs at the put in, they cost a little money and be nice to the land owner, the access here could easily be taken away.

After the Florian the truck started and we went to another park and huck. The water was too high and we tried to leave, this time the truck didn't start. We tried push starting it, and we tried again, and again, and we had pushed the car the better part of a mile. During this process I popped the hood and found one of the positive leads had come loose, with trusty multi tool and gorilla tape in hand I got the lead jimmied back on. The truck still didn't start. Finally a guy gave us a hand by towing the truck, and after two minutes with the clutch out if finally fired up.

Our truck broken down in the middle of the road

We where on our way again, this time to the Gol Gol, as we drove it got late, and started raining. We were approaching the Gol Gol, at two in the morning, and it became apparently clear we needed sleep. I started starring out the window and then I saw it, a little covered bus stop with just enough room for two of us to sleep under. We slept in the stinky wet and slug infested bus stop, for a few hours and then headed to the Gol Gol. When we arrived at the Gol Gol, we were tired, hungry, and putting on soaking wet gear. We were about to have a great day.

Chris Baer hungry, homeless and happy in Chile.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Two months in south America

Two months in south America

The end of Nevado... again, and a great way to mark two months of vacation.

So the rain has ended and the water levels once again are dropping out, this gave us a great opportunity to try to do the total Nevado. We put on the upper with low flows,

Bryan Kirk deep in the Nevado

Bryan with a huge boof

Jacob the crazy Russian

Once we arrived at the Demshitz drop it was on. Almost the hole crew fired up this ugly drop, with a verity of success.

Bryan with one of the cleaner lines

Keegan Grady stuck the must make roll of his life

Amazingly enough Keegan was totally ok after this ridiculous line

The group then headed into the next gorge and on the second drop Alex Perrett missed his boof and injured his ankle bad. That was enough of that and the group hiked limped and carried each other out of the gorge.

Onward and upward... rather downward, marking the two month mark of my trip it was time to huck the middle Palgine again.

Keegan in the portage

There was a verity of lines most notable Bryan Kirk getting violently ejected out of his kayak. The results of the day where grim, 2 out of 6 people stayed in there boats, there was Bryan's ejection, 2 blown skirts, and my flailed hand roll to swim.

Jacob tucking, to skirt implosion

The Spaniard with a beautiful line

All said and done the crew is still smiling and excited for the next river.

Chris Baer, always between swims.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The missing shots

The missing shots

So here is an update filled with some of my friends and paddling partners shots

all the boys above the middle Palugin

AJ got this photo looking up at the Turbio

another AJ shot looks so cool with the blue flowers

Chris Baer on the first slide of the Turbio

Chris Baer in Wall drop on the Navado

Isaac lounging after a nasty hike out

Hiking threw the fields on the Florian

Bryan Kirk launching into the sun

Isaac getting her up on edge in the Nevado

Bryan with an absolutely beautiful view up the Turbio

Chris Baer on the first slide of the Nevado

AJ styling the last drop of the Turbio

AJ on the first slide of the Turbio

Chris Baer on the last drop of the Turbio

Chris Baer at the top of the Turbio

Adam Bixby in the Bombay gin blue water

AJ boffing on the Palguin

Wave Sport shot of the day

AJ with a huge boof

AJ boofing into the light

So that was a pretty simple update but there is some great photos in there, enjoy and I will give you all a story again soon.

Chris Baer a little sore from sending a 70 footer and signing off from Pucon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010



2010, well there is still no flying cars, but there is some pretty insane kayaking happening down here in Chile.

The new rental rig loaded down, if they only knew

The new year has brought us a lot of rain and that means levels jumped up again and I was able to get on a couple runs that just don't run this late in the year.

The Desahue came back up, and we were able to get some laps on it.

Chris Baer running the bottom drop right

AJ on one of the countless drops

Bryan Kirk routing the left side

AJ boofing the lead in drop

The Turbio needs a lot of moisture to run and with all of the rain it snapped up into a runnable level for two days. Bryan Kirk, AJ, and I (Chris Baer) managed to catch this little gem at a great level. The Turbio has an interesting river characteristic, the rock is really sharp and manky but the ledges are really clean. This in turn means every good drop is backed up by a lot of junk rock, No rolling and you have to really boof everything.

The Turbio park and huck location, the flowers are amazing

the obligatory Wave Sport shot

Bryan Kirk on the top slide

AJ hitting his boof after the first slide

AJ sending another backed up ledge

AJ in the midst of the mank

Kirk.... maybe over boofing?

The Rio Nevado also came back in with the rain, the Nevado is hands down my favorite run in the Pucon area. You start out with a fun slide, a blind 15 footer, a crack drop into a hall way, a hard ferry over a couple sticky holes, a quick portage, and it all ends with a great wall boof and two tricky junk rapids. That is just too much good stuff for a mile and a half run

Bryan Kirk on the put in slide

Brayn with a beautiful line on wall drop

So I have been in Pucon for about a month and I was wanting to catch a new run, so we ( Bryan Kirk, AJ, Isaac Levinson, Jared Seiler, and I ) all hoped in the little rental truck and took off for a road trip. We arrived at the Florian relatively late in the day, got suited up and hiked to the put in. Jared was our "guide" and when he saw the water level his first remarks where "well that will make the big one softer", it was high the gauge under the put in bridge was reading 55 cm. This did not stop us, we put on and cranked out a couple upper rapids

Bryan on one of the top drops

Next up was a nasty looking rapid, this rapid had a 10 foot spout that looked like it was guarantied to back ender you. The landing zone of the spout is a crack with more water from the right wall falling on you, and all of this is supper boily. To top off the drop there is a 15 footer that mainly lands on rock. We all walked river left up into the jungle got lost, tangled in veins, and eventually made it back to the water level.

the nasty rapid

Back on the water we were greeted with a fun slide and then the 50 footer.

Isaac on the slide above the 50 footer

The 50 footer is not clean, you ferry all the way across the lip break a lateral and try to keep just a tiny amount of momentum towards the right. If you don't carry the momentum or the lateral turns you, you go half way down reconnect in the drop and end up boofing a 50 footer. If you drive too far right you hit the wall get flipped and, well lets not talk about flipping. The whole team had good lines a couple of us caught some of the reconnect but everyone dealt with it well.

Isaac in the middle of the 50 footer

Bryan Kirk styling his line

The posy at the bottom of the 50 footer

The river continues after this into a couple ugly rapids that are usually portaged, so we decided to get out of the river at this time as the light was quickly fading. We got out on river right, and scrambled up an almost vertical slick as shit trail. Once at the top we meandered threw a couple beautiful fields and eventually returned to the river way down stream.

taking a break on the edge of one of the fields

Jared hiking into the sun

Once at the river we ferried across and then hiked threw another field. Jumped some more barbed wire fences and found the road. Jared hiked back up grabbed the truck and we all sat down and had a beer right there in the road, everyone was exhausted from our adventure. Moral of the story the Florian is a great run if you are looking for a park and hike, and portage, and huck, and hike, and hike, and ferry, and hike. All joking aside I would definitely run the Florian again, maybe next year.

Checking out a rainbow on the way home

Chris Baer signing off, back in Pucon