Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rio Baker Trip

The Rio Baker is in southern Patagonia on the Chilean side of the border. From the Futaleufu we drove 2 days south on dirt roads crossing huge passes over looking massive galciers and many unrun rivers en valleys below.

Sev skating on a break from the two day drive south.

One of the numerous glaciers you can see on the drive down to the river.

Severin skating in front of a Patagonia Sin Represas sign on the drive down to the river.

After passing through the main city in the south Coyihaque, we drove another 300km on mostly dirts roads until reaching the birth place of the Rio Baker.

This is the lake that feeds the Baker, it is beond massive.

The van on the lake that gives the Baker its color and water.

The Baker comes out of this lake with 50,000 cfs give or take 15,000? It travles only a short 200km to the ocean but gains more and more water from tributaries adding to its overall mass. About 15km from the lake the river pours over a massive series of ledges creating the first major drop of the river and marking the put in for the first canyon.

Over all we ran the top canyon, which contains five massive rapids, three different times. Every time the whitewater seemed to be different. This is because the entire river is choaked down to 50 feet in places and reactionary holes and waves come and go with the changing curents. To break it down a little more here it goes:

The first drop is the sneak of the Salto de Baker. It is a little sluce box drop on the far left away from the pourover from hell. Even though it is a sneak it is still a fun double boof.

the Salto de Baker.

Severin from Switzerland on the sneak.

The second rapid is a massive hole with a window on the right into a boily wave train. It can be nice or naughty depending on the surge you catch.

Scouting the second rapid.

Rodrigo and Severin running the second rapid.

Me exiting the second big drop of the canyon, with someone in the background in the mix.

The thrid drop is the biggest and longest rapid of this run. It has two enterance moves around big holes and then hits an unreal set of breaking waves with two bad eddy lines on the sides.

The group entering the biggest rapid.

This is the biggest wave on the river, from this angle it looks not so bad! But it feels like you paddle towards a house.

A seem taking me under on the other side of the wave.

Then the next drop is a long boily enterance into a set of 4 waves. You have to miss the house sized hole on the left and avoid the eddy on the right.

Scouting the 4th drop.

Me and Sev in the forth drop.

You can see Severin in the horrible eddy, me surfing the hug pillow, and Rodrigo running the middle all in this one picture. 1000 words.

This is the huge ramp of the 4th rapid that tries to put you in a nasty eddy. Fighting the boils above it was the hardest part.

About to hit the second wave in the same rapid with tons of speed. Good size in there!

A long section of cool whirlpools and eddy lines takes you to the last actual drop of the canyon. A beautiful curler move past a hole and through a big breaking wave. Money in dat there$

The sick curler move on the last rapid.

Lj and Severin running the curl drop.

Juanito surfing a little wave in the flat section.

Enjoying the eddy lines nearthe takeout bridge.

The crew coming out of the gorge, with galciers in the background.

After pasing through a short gorge you reach the takeout bridge and you are greated with one of the best surf waves I have personaly seen. It´s a huge wide, fluffy pile, smooth glass, great hight, and a short hike to get back to the top. Heaven!

Heaven!!!!

Sev surfing his Habitat on the wave. Pretty big wave!!

Clean blunt!

Me, Juanito, and Rodrigo at the take out bridge.

A nice pan am!

Mid helix on the big wave.

A pistol flip, I love this trick.



Here lies the problem. In 2009 there are 5 different dam sites that are going to be built on this beautiful river flooding every piece of this land and all of these canyons. There is a group project known as Patagonia sin Represas that is fighting the Endesa company from Spain, but it has already been approved for '09. They are also trying to keep other rivers in the area safe from future dams. It's a sad thing to see such a beautiful and untouched place and know that in less than a year everthing will be gone.

Lj talking with a local who owns land at the takeout. He is going to be greatly affected by the damming of the river. The government is paying him for his land, but only a 1000 dollers per 2.5 acres.

Me interviewing a local at the bridge for the movie.

The Rio Baker is one of the best rivers and most wild places I have ever seen. I have been all over the world so this means it's pretty special. While I was kayaking and enjoying my time there I shot a film for The Last Descent brought to you by Scott Ligare and Kaite Scott. (thelastdescent.com) They are making a movie about endangered rivers and I agreed to help film a section on this river. So look for that film in 2009 and you will see a full version of this trip.

No Flooding in Patagonia!!!

There is also a second gorge, but we didn't have the time to run it because we were so stoked on the top section. We only spent a short but sick three days running the river and had to return back north to The Futa then to Pucon. Now we are trying to find the right level for a rarely run section of the Fuy. The trip down south was very interesting for all of us. We saw so much new earth and so many unrun rivers. It was a great way to almost wrap up my 3 and a half months here in South America. Thanks to Rodrigo Tushner, Ema Passi, Lj Groth, Severin, and Juanito for making this trip so good and unforgetable.

Rodrigo fishing on the banks of the wave.

Later that night Rodrigo whipped up his favorite food for us with the fish he caught....

Fish head soup brought to you by Rodrigo Tushner. Comela huevon!

Windy point on the lake on the drive back north.

The Rio Baker crew March 2008! Good times!!!!

Later E.G.

3 comments:

Sam said...

Hey man, sorry I can't find a better way to get in touch with you. Paddling Life would like to feature you in a new section--please shoot me an email (sam@paddlinglife.net).

octavio said...

Great Article!!!!
Don´t give up the fight for Patagonia..!!!
Thanks..

Nicolas said...

What up ? nice post on the baker bro, just one thing. That is not the Salto del Baker but The Salto del Nef, the nef is a tribuitary to the Baker. just so you know.