DRAFT - Thrills and spills from Chile 1998

From February 15th to March 1st 1998, nine friends met in southern Chile for two weeks of class IV and V kayaking on some of Chile's most famous rivers.

[ Fuy | Gol Gol | Manso | Futaléufu ]

Friday Feb 20, 19:30h

On the road to the Gol Gol river. Spent an hour and a half in Pangipui, getting groceries and fuel.

We paddled the Fuy River for four days, including one evening run on the lower Fuy, from bridge to bridge. The second day we paddled from the power plant to the second bridge. It was a fun, bouncy run- class 3 & 4.

The third day we ran from Lago Pirehueico to above the 'Salto Huilo Huilo', the Huilo Huilo falls, which are about 120 feet high, are unrunnable. This run from the lake was my favorite, with lots of play spots, fun drops, and runnable waterfalls. No opportunity to warm up to the biggest fall, Las Leones, as it is the first one of the three. From the top everyone was in awe and quite nervous - and so of course we made Bob go first!

It became quite obvious that this spot was a favorite of all paddlers, some even climbed back up to run it again. The next drop is a short distance and a couple interesting drops away. This drop is only about 10 feet but it is essentially a big pourover where you must run it on the far right.

After running a bony section we came to the third and last waterfall, the picturesque 18 footer. This drop is straight forward at the water level we encountered. At higher levels a hole appears right above the desired place to run. I'm sure the carnage would be quite a sight from the bottom.

the river starts to flatten out at this point, with less drops and play spots. with about 20 minutes of flatwater behind us, we made it to the take out where we loaded the boats and headed to the first bridge to run the bottom section again.

Thursday we ran the top section with the waterfalls again. I gave my kayak a little kick to try and land the 18 footer with a slight angle but managed to land nearly flat. I felt my spine compress as the shock went all the way to the base of my neck, an absolutely unsettling feeling. I was a little shaken but seemed ok.

We ate lunch at the Huilo Huilo Falls and after lunch, about half the crew decided to attempt the middle canyon, which is rarely run. The put in is right below the falls and the first take out is the first bridge. The time was 3:30, they said to meet us at the first bridge in two hours but if they weren't there by 10pm to go into Choshuenco and get dinner. Well 5:30 came and went, as did 6:30, 7:30, and then finally at 8:30, they arrived, weary and tired but full of stories. It sounded like they don't want Andy to lead another portage. Tales of unrunnable waterfalls and extended class V rapids abounded. The portage was some severe bushwhacking amongst cane and thorn riddled plants, they all had cuts and scrapes, and some had holes in their wetsuits or drytops.

We ate a fine meal of baked salmon at the same hotel we stayed at last year, it was nice to see some familiar faces.

Our last day on the Fuy was a quick fun run from the power plant to the second bridge as we had to break camp and get going to the Gol Gol. We went grocery shopping in Panguipulli and found a place we could send email from. The road from Choshuenco to Panguipulli was rough gravel, it sure was nice to return to pavement.


Please submit comments on this DRAFT to dlaw@kayak.yk.ca .

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