© 2009 Adam Johnson

Chile Update 1 of 4: Rio Llancahue, Part 2

Gerds Drop from below.

So, a few days after running the Llancahue with Jared, Team Marginal, and me, the boys wanted to take a look at Gerds Drop and the following 30′ just downstream.

We arrived at the Llancahue to warm weather and fluttery stomachs. Ian Garcia, Evan Garcia, Patt Rogers, Ben Kinsella, Adam Johnson, and Bradford McArthur geared up and hiked into the beast.

After looking at the lip, the sane ones in our group said, “Haayyll no!” and wondered what Ian Garcia and Jared Seiler thought. They ended up deciding to fire it off.

S-turn 1 above the lip
S-turn 2 and the lip on the right. Notice the rock gaurding the line on the right as well.
So, after hearing that they wanted to fire this off, we all split up and proceeded to take on our different roles. We had about 4 or 5 cameras filming (HD baby), and I decided to run safety in the pool below in my boat. I promptly hiked down and was unsure what to expect. Whilst putting on my gear I contemplated possible outcomes and the likelyhood of being able to stick this line. Somehow my brain didn’t permit me to see the perfect line (and, hence, the reason why I chose not to run it). At that point, I snapped my skirt onto my boat at the base and waited for those boys to fire off their lines with the best of luck. Evan Garcia soon gave the “whoop whoop” signal that they were ready to go and I seal-launched into the water–waiting to see what would happen…
The lip of Gerd’s, 50′ with the shelf mid-way down.
After a quick game of rock paper scissors, Ian won and wanted Jared to go first. So, Jared put in the eddy just above the S-turn and peeled out… Apparently, he boofed the first pourover from the “S-turn 1” photo on the left, subbed out for a second, and then found himself on the river left wall. Afterwards, he took a couple of crucial strokes, glazed over the gnarly gaurder rock before the lip, and found himself here:
Jared Seiler of Demshitz on line and at the lip of Gerd’s drop, about to fall 50′.
From this point, I could see Jared boof the steeze out of this drop, landing on the shelf at about a 45 degree angle to the river right wall. Continuing to fall, he landed in the curtain completely sideways and flat off of a 50′ stout! This flipped him and imploded one side of his skirt. He then floated upsidedown towards the right wall, trying to get a good roll in a quickly sinking kayak. After a few more carped rolls, he found me eddied by a log and got broached, then swam, briefly, and got out onto the log. I asked him if he was ok and he said yes and was stoked on the line. That thing was crazy! I remember him saying something like, “…holy $h!t, I am never going to run that again!” (although he says he might run it again now that some time has passed). Nice line bud.
Next up: Ian Garcia!
After seeing Jared’s line, Ian was ready to go and launched in just upstream to attempt to get an edge on the S-turn. Having a good line through “S-turn 1”, Ian proceeded to #2 and missed possibly the most crucial stroke of the rapid: the stroke to get right, over the gaurder rock and to the lip. Ian’s bow promptly pointed to the bad river left crack and wall…
Ian Garcia running Gerds drop about to fall into the cave of doom. His bow should be pointed right at us.
Ian proceeded straight into the crack of doom. I watched from downstream and cringed. There is a part of the river left wall that looks like it could decapitate you if you went near it. Ian went near it. Fortunately however, he seemed to have missed it.
I watched Ian fall into the crack of doom, dissapear, and then reappear after a loud “thwack!” from his paddle. He plugged into the pool below, without his paddle, and promptly swam. I paddled out to him and found him concious and swimming in the right direction. I asked if he was OK. He said he was and proceeded to crawl up onto the same log that Jared did. Just then I heard Evan scream at me and point downstream.
I took off downstream thinking that Jared, who ran safety for Ian above the 30′, had fallen in the water trying to recover his boat. Thankfully, Jared had not fallen in; however, we were in search of Ian’s gear. Ian’s boat promptly pinned on a gnarly rock and Jared was able to get a line on it and grab his paddle, recircing in a hole just downstream. Gerd’s Drop = (somewhat) Successful!
To see the video from this drop, check out Demshitz and buy the movie–it’s going to be sick!
The 30′ lip.
After emptying Ian’s boat and re-gathering, we all decided to go run the 30 footer downstream. A perfect lip and fall into the beggining of a massive gorge. Everyone ran it, with Patt Rogers being the only person to break a paddle there.
Patt Rogers at the lip of the 30′. He broke his paddle after going slightly over the bars.
The hard part of the 30′ was not the drop but getting boats and yourself out of the gorge. We decided to haul the boats back up with throwbags on river right and crawl/climb out from river right through the jungle and some sharp bushes. After getting out, we took the trail back down to Gerd’s drop and got the boats, hiked up and out, then back to the car. What a day of kayaking!
Adam Johnson Tucks up for the hit. A sweet waterfall! Photo Ben Kinsella.
Next up, Chile Part 2 of 4. Cheers!
-Adam Johnson

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