Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jorge Martinez

This update is about a friend of ours down here named Jorge Martinez. He was an aswsome Mexican boater who joined us on the Xico, Texolo, and lots of good times in Jalcomulco. A week or so ago, Jorge went back to finish the middle gorge of the Texolo, due to his destroyed skirt he hiked out after the big drop on his first run while we continued down stream.

Lj and Jorge Martinez, THE MAN!! scouting on the Rio Xico.

Anyways, he went back with a few good friends of ours and a little over half way down the river he got beatdown in a hole at the end of a steep rapid and lost his paddle. After that he swam into an undercut wall and never resurfaced. His friends went back to the rapid and looked for his body for days after the event and even brought a scuba-diver to try and recover him from the cave. The search was called off unsucsessful. He was a great guy and very positive person, really fun to be around and boat with. I feel privlaged to have gotten the chance to kayak and hang out with such a good person and I feel the loss of a friend and fellow kayaker.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

El Rio Texolo

5:50 am, Thursday morning we gathered our drying gear and started our drive towards the river. All my thoughts were focused on the run and not much else at that time. We got to the river and geared up quickly, due to the level of excitement in our group. The river started off slow but turned to fun class IV(+) boulder garden drops for around 5-6 km. We kept thinking that right around the next corner we would see the box canyon with the big waterfall at the end, but the top section took us around 2 hours to complete. When we came to the entrance rapid leading into the crack gorge we scouted it and dropped in.
Dave and Karl decided they were going to jump and rappel down to the pool below, while LJ, Jorge, and I sat in the pool ready to run the big drop blind. Getting out of a boat in that eddy, is in my mind, one of the scariest things I can think of, but they pulled it off and set up a rope system to get Dave down. Karl jumped the cliff and gathered their boats and paddles as Dave hucked them off the small sloping cliff. I don't know how Dave set up a system with that little to work with but he got it done and after an hour of waiting in this dark canyon the three of us were more ready to fire off the beast.

Dave rapping down the waterfall, aahhwoo it looked scary!!!

Jorge went first, then LJ, then Me. We all decided that we were going to get rid of our paddles on the way down, and we did. The lip came up fast, I took a small stroke, threw my paddle, tucked to my deck, and took the surprisingly soft hit. I was so pumped up that I have never done such a fast hand roll. I threw my hand in the air for a little celebration then grabbed my paddle.

This is a good shot of the whole drop LJ, Jorge, and I ran and gorge that we were waiting in.

LJ had a great line as well but on Jorge's over the bars impact his skirts exploded in three different parts, I have never seen anything like it before, his skirt was literally in pieces. After we ate a little food at the base off the falls, Jorge started his jungle hike out while we continued into the most unknown part of the river.

The group at the bottom of the big Falls, look at theat place!

This section had some of the most quality rapids I have ever seen. We portaged a huge nasty ledge drop with a possible death hole. By the way with much more water getting out of your boat here would be nearly impossible. Then after that short walk we hit the goods. The three coolest/hardest rapids of this section were close together. The first had 4 good boofs and between them you dogged undercuts, logs, and ducked through a short rock tunnel of rock. The second drop, which I will call LJ's drop, was a steep twisting rapid that dumped you off a 90 degree turn in to a huge hole/pillow in a canyon with slightly scary walls. LJ fired it off first and got beat the F*** down, only to flush into the left wall and swim. After the rest of us ran it we were right above the second best drop of the day. A sweet rolling 9 footer into a maybe 25 foot tall fast slide that took you off a kicker half way down that we aired out off of and landed in a beautiful pool.

Me bombing off the kicker ready to hit the pool, this rapid was sick!!

Karl building up speed ready to launch off the drop!

This was also I think the only must run rapid of the day, but don't quote me on that! After that it was maybe 1 km of rapids similar to the upper part, then the most important part of the day. We made it to a pool and luckily LJ saw the so called stack of rocks that was marking the entrance to the big waterfall. This is where you must take the right channel, putting you in an easy eddy above the 100 footer.

This is the lip of the 100 footer. The river turns into the lip, rolls off the edge, pushes you left, the curtin covers you, and then it's white out from there just hold on!!!!

After we looked at the waterfall for awhile we sacked up and started our hike up to Porfi and the Van. The first part of the climb was through thick jungle and was steep until it reached a cliff. After that we met the main trail we took the day before, and hiked up the massive hill to the car. I think it was the most I have ever sweat in my life, and today my right shoulder and legs were aching. We got ot the car at 5:00pm and loaded slow as we talked about how sick the day was. For next time I would say film from the top of the 50-60 foot waterfall or jump with your camera. I was kind of bumbed we didn't get footy or photos of it, but it's all good. Then I would say spend the night at the bottom of the big falls, after doing the portage. Then the next day rally out the lower Texolo-Sordo-and Antigua. It would make the trip go from creeking, to river running, to play boating. This was an amazing river, I hope someday I will return to run it again. The canyon was commiting and beautiful, one of the coolest places I have set foot in. Now we are going to run the lower part of the Texolo tomarrow (class IV stuff) then we are off to the Alsaseka and Filobobos for awhile. Hope you enjoy the photos by Dave Zinn. Good times!!

later E.G.

Exploring the Texolo

This is the river I have been waiting for 5 weeks, since the day I got to Mexico, to get on. The Texolo drains the 4th largest mountain in North America, so the scenery is second to none. Our crew was none other than; Dave "the brave" Zinn, Lil' Jon Groth, Karzy Karl Moser, Jorge, and Myself. Wednesday morning we left our hotel in Jalcomulco early in the morning. We had gotten enough beta from locals and T-Bone, Seth, and Willie (who did this run a year ago) to know that this river had the goods. We knew that there was a 60 footer, a 100+ footer, and tons of good class V rapids in this gorge. The problem was we had no clue what the water level was going to be and people had said there may be no where to stop above the 60 foot drop, due to the box canyon it was located in.

LJ making his way across the sketchy bridge on the way to look at the 100 footer.

This is the 100+ footer at the bottom of the gorge, that thing is clean, but huge!! For a scale look at the rock left of the lip in the picture, that is 10-12 feet tall!

Our plan was to go hike down in to the canyon to get a look at both the waterfalls and an overall feel for the gorge. That is what we did, with our friends Porfi and local kayaker Jorge, we found the trails and were able to see that there was an eddy above the 60 footer and you could, if necessary, get out and jump to the pool below. We saw the top half of the drop and dubbed it good to go. The other issue was that above the 100+ foot drop the river splits and the left channel is a direct route to set the world record. With these thoughts in mind we decided that the water level was perfect and we would come back at dawn the following day to complete the 2 day river run in 1 long day.

Jorge running the slot drop on the Xico, right about to go deep!!!

The rest of the day was good as well we ate lunch in an awesome mexican town named Xico high in the mountains. After our Mole we went and put on the rio Xico at a low flow. It was still really fun and had some quality drops on it. The gorge that it flows through is more like a half pipe than anything.

The best drop of the run was a slot 20 footer that sent you deep at the bottom, way more powerful than it looks. Photos by Dave Zinn

After the Xico we returned to Jalcomulco ate dinner and went to bed with thoughts of big waterfalls and deep gorges lingering in our heads. Later E.G.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

New Happenings in Mexico!

Big Slugger Whitney taking a solid cut at her B-day opponet.

I am still here in the coastal paradise of Huatulco hanging out on the beaches and enjoying the Mexican living. We are having a great time and doing some really unique things down here. First off I would like to start this post with the news of my good friend and mentor, Whitney Lonsdale's birthday. We had an epic run down the Zimatan and then had a Mexican Style fiesta with a pinata and Mexican cuisine. Good times!!!

Joel and I showing our stuff to the Mexican honeys at Puerto Escondido.

After the birthday celebration we had another day off of school and decided to go to Puerto Escondido to check out the Mexican pipe line and amazing beaches. This place fully lived up to all of my expectations. The breaks were the most amazing left hand point crumblers I have ever seen. While we watched local surfers rip it up out in the clear blue waters, while Joel and I had a quality huck session off a sand ledge. Beat from a day in the sun we hung out on the beach until the sun went down and night set in. Joel Kowalski kickin' it watching the sun disappear over the horizon.

LJ Groth enjoying the night time celebrations of Day of the Dead.

We just got back from a mountain town up by the put in for the Copalita where we got to see the Day of the Dead festivals in full action. It was really cool to go into a huge cemetery filled with people and thousands of candles. The place was crazy, drunk men infested the path ways asking for money and beers while families celebrated the life and times of their late relatives. The beautiful Mexican women were also out in full force, once again proving to me how good looking Latinas truly are. This was really the coolest cultural experience we have seen thus far in Mexico. Other than that we are leaving this Saturday to go back to Jalcomulco to get on some possible overnighters and play runs we miss earlier on our trip. Hope you guys are having a good time and enjoying life where ever you might be.

P.S. There will be more kayaking update and pictures coming soon. Later E.G.