Kayak Journal

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Monday, December 27, 2004

More Exploration

After returning to Pucon from our trip up North, we wrapped around to the backside of Volcan Villarica to the Llanchue River (sp?).

Villarica getting its smoke on.

Robbie Dastin, Este and a few others discovered the upper Llanchue several years ago. The run comes off the backside of Villarica, opposite from the Palguin. The upper run is relatively roadside and features solid class IV-V rapids, a 17-foot falls and a nasty class V+ that has been run by the likes of Polk Deters and Josh Anthony. The takeout is at a pleasant hot springs just after a walled in 20 footer run only by Mr Dastin.

The 17 footer.

photo by Nate Elliott

Polk Deters.

photo by Nate Elliott

Daniel scouting same rapid.

After a day on the upper (and an extensive soak) we set off to explore the un-run Middle Section. This section of the river remains one of the last ‘unknowns’ of the Pucon region. The river makes a large bend to the left away from the road and drops between two imposing mountains. Due the hostility of the environment, few kayakers have ever penetrated the gorge. With news a new trail and 3 falls dropping over 80 meters, we set off into the unknown.

A friendly Tarantula we found after an hours bush whack into the gorge.

We never found the falls, but did make it to the river below what we felt was the steep section. The level was too high but we committed to return and further explore the middle section.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The truth About Kayak Exploration

Kayaking is not all about running sick drops and high-fiving wit h your bros on the side of the river.

Sometimes you got to get out in the woods and do your research. In Chile these missions are characterized by long drives on bumpy dirt roads, frustrating hiking into impenetrable jungle flora, and furtive glimpses into impossibly tight box canyons.

Over the weekend we set out on one such mission to the zone north of Pucon. We had 5 five‘hits’, or potential rivers, to check out. The first river we investigated looked enticing at the takeout so we sent a search party upstream. The gradient seemed to be going the wrong way, the flow was low at the top and the river bent away from the road into desolation zone.

Here is the potential put-in we found for the Rio Dijo.

The first two rivers came up ‘no go’s’ so we set out around the third river. We had seen a photo in Kayak Session of some Germans running the next river we were looking into, so we had high hopes. This time we were stymied by low water, but committed to return and paddle the mini basalt gorges we scouted.

We drove through a national forest as we wrapped around the Volcan Llamia.

Here is a group of Ararcaria trees on the ridge approaching the pass.

Aracaria tree and Volcan Llamia.

Dastin, Deters and Riley driving through the Volcanic basin of Llamia.

The next river we checked on was the infamous Rio Traful Traful. The run is reminiscent of a Colorado class III with some serious Chileano Class VI at the end.
The final falls on the river.

No one wanted anything to do with “Trufulator” falls, so we called it a day.

Next day saw more driving on shitty roads and hanging off of spiny bushes and bamboo, trying get a good look into more basalt canyons.

We finally put on the Rio Blanco and located some class IV in box canyon and portages.

Portage on the Blanco.

After a fine evening at the ‘Termas de Rio Blanco we made the final loop to the Machine River and back home to Pucon. We did not paddle much, but we seriously increased the group’s knowledge base about the rivers in the zone we had just explored.

A smoking Volcan Villarica.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Alto Palguin Pics

Nate Elliott on the first drop of the upper.

Riley on number one and three of the run.

Polk Deters on #3.

Polk Deters preparing for the 35 foot jump portage.

Nate jumping

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Rio Nevado – Pucon First Descent

Today we dropped into the box canyon of the Rio Nevado. The drops were large the flow low and the fun factor high. Here are a few pics and video for you to check out.

To watch video from the first d of the Nevado=>
Click Here

To watch video from the first d of the Navado part 2=>
Click Here

Riley running the entrance to the first falls.

photo by Nate Elliott

The slide below the first falls.

Photo by Robbie Dastin.

Nate Elliott same slide.

photo by Robbie Dastin

The second falls, a 15 footer committing oneself to boxed canyon below.

photo by Nate Elliott
The Birthday boy, Polk Deters.

photo by Robbie Dastin

Kurt Kasey, of Pittsburgh fame, running the first big falls on the Nevado.

photo by Nate Elliott

Daniel same falls.

photo by Nate Elliott

The drop below the first big one.

photo by Robbie Dastin

A boof below the first big falls.

photo by Robbie Dastin
Below this series was the really large falls. Best described as nasty ass entrance into a 40 footer. Hilleke shit for sure.
We portaged the falls and dropped into the lower gorge.

I ran the entrance drop, ducked tree, pitoned, folded kayak nose. No one followed. Ran second falls was sweet, no photo. Ran a couple of more, took out. Was awesome.

Sucked life out of greenies.

Chile Day 4

Monday, December 06, 2004

Team in Country

We made it to Pucon, Chile and were at the river 24 hours after departing Atlanta. We headed up to the Puesco River high on the Argentine border.

Volcan Villarica

One of our kayaks making the final move onto the third leg of the flight.

We made it to Pucon, Chile and were at the shit 24 hours after departing Atlanta. We headed up to the Puesco River high on the Argentine border.

The border crossing station at the put-in.

Riley running the entrance to Tres Truncas.

Nate Elliott same rapid.

The amazing spires above the puesco run (like the West Prong in TN).

Chris Larsen cooking up a mean parrilla.

Another massive Volcan.

Day three we headed out of town with local Robbie Dastin. He had been doing a little land speculation and ran across an intersting drainage.

We spent the day climbing in and out of the gorge, amazed by what we say. It was all clean, but real walled in and real big.

Here are the boys scouting below the second big one.

Weather depending we will head in to try and run the river tomorrow.

Check back for more info.