© 2009 Adam Johnson

Chile Update 1 of 4: Rio Llancahue, Part 1

What a great three and a half weeks in Chile. Whilst here, we have had the opportunity to run some great whitewater (including some cascadas largas), hang out with lots of good friends, and travel around one of the coolest places on this planet.

I will try to separate this into five different posts: 1) Rio Llancahue 1 and 2, 2) Todo Palguin, 3) Rio Fuy, and 4) Tour de stout 2009! (the grand finale!). We thereby shall commence with El Rio Llancahue: Two days of great kayaking whilst running one of the hardest drops in Chile: Gerd’s drop!

Ben Kinsella runs the first 15′ on the Llancahue

The Llancahue is a river that has several sections. The upper section is the most often run and is a class IV-V- run with lots of fun drops that plunge through a series of different gorges, varying from volcanic to boulder.

Hanging out below the 15′. Jared Seiler and Bradford McArthur.
Some of the run had waterfalls similar to the one pictured above. Other parts had gorges like the one pictured below. Volcanic rock smoothed over time via lots of water…
Ben Kinsella exiting the “Bridge Rapid” and a mini-volcanic gorge.
Jared Seiler of Demshitz. This rapid had a giant log looming over it that I stood on to take this photo.
Jared finishes the rapid pictured above.
After paddling these types of rapids for a while, you reach the biggest rapid of the run (photo below). It is a 5-6 tierd drop where you have to seal launch into it, navigate through slots, plug a slide, boof under a log, and finish in an eddy so to not run a wood-laden drop downstream. It proved to be difficult for me, Jared, and Bradford. More photos to come on this drop.

Adam Johnson finishes the hardest rapid on the upper. The rest of the drop bends up and to the left.
Bradford McArthur in the thick of it with true Team Marginal style: backwards!
After the run, we decided to go and take a look at a drop downstream called “Gerd’s drop”. Jared, being the only one in the group at that time who had seen it previously, said that it was one of the sickest things that has been run in a kayak. After seeing it, I agree with him.

The lead in to Gerd’s drop. I believe Gerd is the only one to run this entire rapid at a time (?).
After the entrance, this drop does a tricky S-turn into a stout 50′ drop with a shelf halfway down.

The fellas’ looking at the drop from the lip.
Jared Seiler looking at a crazy rapid (which he later ran).
Gerds Drop from downstream. We were standing at the top on the left of this photo. Ugly!
Notice the shelf halfway down and the cave on the river left. This, combined with a class IV-V entrance makes this rapid stouuuut!
Below is a drop on the Llancahue we ran a few days after visiting the upper. A peftect 30 footer into a deep and, as of January 2009, not-yet-run gorge.

The clean 30′.
My next post will cover Jared Seiler and Ian Garcia running Gerds drop and the rest of Demshitz and Team Marginal running the 30 footer below Gerds (pictured above). Until then!
-Adam Johnson

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