Merry Xmas Folks!
Here’s a similar shot to the one I posted of KC going vertical in Mundaca. The guide is Manu, from Switzerland. Manu was the king of going big on the Futaleufu in 2007. Nobody had the number of big hits that Manu did. And he cooks up a helluva storm too! It’s awesome being around people who get so excited about what they do – Manu’s eyes lit up everytime we got to Cara del Indio, a little beach right before we’d hit Mundaca. The excitement builds, and everyone just knows he’s going big. – right down the center. Awesome stuff. And, because it’s Xmas, I’ll post a couple of shots to show you what happens after your raft hits this rapid, IF it doesn’t flip over: Continue reading
I got an email today from someone asking about the term ‘highside’, I mentioned in yesterday’s post. This photo shows a guide pulling a classic ‘highside’, alas, to no avail. His raft flipped moments later. The guide, nearest the camera with the blue helmet, is diving to the high side of the raft. If his crew had done the same, instead of falling out to the left, the boat may not have flipped – though I suspect it was going to regardless. You can see why folks wear a helmet on the Futaleufu. The poor soul in front of the guide, Brent, got smunched before the boat even flipped.
This is another shot from Mundaca, possibly the classic rapid on the Futaleufu. It’s not the biggest, which is why it’s so cool. Some of the bigger rapids are ‘Terminator’, ‘Throne Room’ and ‘Casa de Piedra’, among a few others. But they’re SO big guides generally have to play it safe – Terminator is at least a 1/4 mile long of solid whitewater, Throne Room is even bigger, and Zeta is a narrow slot canyon full of nasty undercuts and holes that keep bodies a long time – most commercial trips walk Zeta unless the water level is way down.
I promised myself I’d get to bed earlier tonight, but I got to watching the film “Crash” again, and here it is kinda late. What an awesome film.
On another side note, anybody notice anything else new about the ole blog today?
Ahhh – the days feel longer already. It’s like Boxing Day for Solstice.
I told you I’d show a couple of photos of how big Mundaca is. This is my friend KC, from New Zealand, guiding a 16′ raft through the entrance wave of Mundaca. One guide plus 6 people in a heavy raft and the wave stands it up almost totally vertical. Some awesome power in the water here. KC’s a killer guide, he’s worked on rivers all over the world, including the Zambezi and the White Nile in Africa. Not too bad for a Kiwi!
Shooting whitewater rafting photos is kinda hard – I found the hardest thing was to not fill the buffer – mostly because the rapids were so big, I could shoot the whole series and still miss stuff. The D2x has a buffer of 17 shots when shooting raw files, and it’s amazing how quickly they go by when you shoot 5 frames per second. Continue reading
Happy Winter Solstice!
Here’s a look at the rapid from yesterday’s photo, Mundaca. This photo is looking up at the top section of the rapid, where the river narrows rapidly, hits a few pretty large boulders, and goes every which way but loose. This angle doesn’t really give you a great look at the rapid (pronounced Moon – Dahka), but I like the scene. You can’t see down into those holes and waves, but I’ll make a few posts over the next couple of days showing the rapid a little better, as well as some action from there. We had some pretty big hits on Mundaca last year, with a bunch of rafts flipping. I proudly can tell you that the company I worked with had the most flips of the season at over 16. Pretty cool!!! Go big, or go home.
As the summer progressed, the everyone became more familiar with Mundaca, and also the water level changed enough to make it safer to go straight down the middle. At high water levels, flipping is more dangerous for a few reasons:
* the water’s flowing faster. Continue reading
Well, as I sit around and deal with html code and other assorted things web related, I thought I’d post a few images from throughout the year. This one is another from the Futaleufu River, in central Patagonia, Chile. One of the best known rapids on the river is called Mundaca, named after the gentleman who owns the land alongside the river at that particular rapid. The rapid is wicked. Earlier in the summer, at higher water levels, the main section of the rapid is this huge infusion wave, before you actually hit the main rapid. Sometimes, this wave catches folks by surprise, because they know Mundaca is in the middle of the river, and they think by skirting the rapid down river right they’ll be fine – and right as they cross this little drop, the wave surges and they get nailed. This guy here got totally worked in the hole before rolling back up and then got nailed in Mundaca. I’ll post a few more images from Mundaca in the next few days – it’s an awesome rapid, and lots of folks got hammered there, particularly rafters. Mundaca gave some big rafts a pounding! It’s amazing how much power is reeling in those waves, and only when you hit them full in the middle do you realize how absurdly powerful they are.
I’m going to ease away from the blog for a little while here. Not because I want to, but because, well, I won’t have regular email access for the next few weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to check in reasonably often and maybe post something, but it’ll be slow around here. I can’t tell you right now exactly where I’ll be, but it should be a lot of fun.
In the meantime, here’s another photo of the endangered Baker River, or Rio Baker, down in Region XI, Patagonia. I’ve written about this situation a little recently, Continue reading
Why 2 posts so close to one another? I just got an email from this fella, whom I met and hung with in Chile this last winter (their summer). We went down to the Baker River together, along with a bunch of crazy folks, and all had a good time. We were there for 4 days, but the trip took another 2 days traveltime. It was quite a mission. Continue reading
Here’s another from my recent trip to the Rio Baker, or Baker River, in Patagonia, Chile. In this photo, Santiago Ibanez is running the very first rapid on the river, a relatively small drop from a calm pool into a tumbling turbuent pool. Santiago ran the drop several times during our trip, and this was probably his sweetest line. He paddled back over to me after the drop with a huge smile, and said how good it felt. I was grinning from ear to ear myself, because I’d already viewed this photo, and was just as happy aas he was. I showed him the image on the LCD on the back of my camera and he loved it. I knew I had a nice chance of catching a little rainbow in the frame, and the line he took put him right in the middle of it. Thanks for a great photo, Santiago. Continue reading
Here’s another of my buddy Matze, running a little drop on the Baker River, in Patagonia, Chile. The Baker River is absolutely awesome, 4 or 5 of the biggest Class 5 rapids anywhere. It’s huge water. I was fortunate that some of my friends were nice enough to get out of bed early one morning and come run the Baker in nice light. Matze took this crazy line after doing some scouting – it wasn’t his smoothest line, but he made it OK. Continue reading
This photo is of my friend Ken Kruger running an 8′ drop in a rapid known as “Terminator”. This photo shows about 1/100 of the rapid. Terminator’s HUGE, and aptly named. We were running a whitewater rafting trip down the Futaleufu River, and the water level was high. While all the guests walked the rapid, and we ghosted the boats down the river, the kayakers paddled it. I got into position below this drop, and was lucky to get Ken with his mullet flying Continue reading