Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Second Tomata Falls

Rafa firing it up larger than life.

On the second to last day Rafa came back down to Tlapacoyan with one goal in mind, Second Tomata. This falls was the huge one in Burning Time that Grace, Hale, and Carrol ran with some slight bumps on the way down.

After scouting and deciding weather or not we wanted to run the gorge below at high water, I rappelled 140 feet down to the pool below the falls. This was my second rappel ever and the day before was an epic in the Trout farm section. I was pretty excited and it was fun as. Once I got to the pool I had to chill half way in the water and wait to get my boat roped down to me. It was kind of complicated but a good experience with rope work.

After that was taken care of everyone got set Rafa rappelled into the top of the falls and got ready to give it a go. He ran the entire entrance and greased it with style. Then right at the crucial point in the slide he hit the big lateral boil coming off the right wall. It kicked his bow left where it clipped a rock. He ended up spinning and boofing out. It was one of the craziest lines I have ever witnessed. All I said while filming was, "Ok???". He came out of the drop fired up big time and smiling, yelling, and happy as a tree frog that just landed a big fly for din.din.

We didn't do the gorge below due to the high water and lack of time so the whole group that was above on the rim had to heeve us up to the top. It was impressive and one of the funnest things I have ever done. Bouncing up and down 100 feet up on one rope is pretty scary but with the right equipment is very safe and enjoyable. This rapid is one of the craziest and burliest drop ever run in my opinion. The next day we did a great last run on the Roadside section and just routed it H.core, fun at the maximum didily. Adios Mexico Wam Bam grasias senora.

Later E.G.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Middle Alsaseca Mandatory-Truchas

Up early in the morning, we arose and anxious and ready to get into the canyon and fire it up. We picked up our local shuttle driver buddy and headed to Base Filobobos for some good old mexican breaky. Eggs, beans, fresh tortillas, salsa, and some Jameica water ummm.

7:30 we were at the ranch on the side of the road ready to drop in. Hiking through the forest we found the right anchor point got set up and started the prosess of getting every one 70 feet down to the base of a big falls with their boats and paddles. At the base it was still cold from the nights dropping temertures, that and the amazing amount of mist and spray coming off the waterfalls landing only 30 feet away. After a bit of a project we were now very excited to get away from the mist and down by the big falls. We portaged the first slide, it was pretty much a no-go the hole in the middle was too tall to get over, it looked like going into a washing machine with no exit.

Anyway we got around that one and got out to look at the two main drops. A pretty sweet but desiving auto boof into a boily small pool, then off the mandatory 50-55 footer. We looked around a bit and Todd ran into the woods to see if he could get closer to the drop. It turns out you can get close, really close. We all went around and took a look at the lip and pool. There was a boil coming up right before you hit the lip so it made for a unknown aspect to the drop.

Well we sat, Todd got his boat, jumpped off it, Charlie threw his boat, and then Ian went. Made it look like a pot of gold. Hit the boof, went over the boils, and slid off the beast looking good, but thats all we could see, about 5 feet of the drop.

This is Ian running the enterance drop of the 50-55 footer. This added another element to running this drop because you changed style from a big sliding boof stroke, into a nice gentle stroke off the big drop. You gotta be on it.

Ian on the Lip of the 50-55 footer.

Cool we then took turns running the drop. What a sick set of rapids. The prefect waterfall, a hard lip to predict but clean as it gets.

Me at the top of the Falls. You can see the falls we had to rapel around in the background of the picture.

Paddle gone starting to fall towards the pool.

Lj and I threw our paddles, I pulled a classic bouched handroll rally and came ashore to hoots and holler about booties. Damn but we still had a ways to go and we had only made it a few hundred meters down river.

Lj running last on the (kind of) Mandatory Falls.

As we paddled down stream past the actual trout farm trough some fun class III boulder drop I pictured what we had next on the agenda, "Trucha Falls". This was probaley the drop I was most pumped about from seeing what was in these gorges last year when we walked down and caught a peak of it. It looks and is pretty darn good. A crazy seeming folding 20ish footer that lands in a small pothole. After the Pothole it squeezs down and flys off a 50-60 foot conected falls. I say that because it is a bit too steep to be a slide and not steep enough to be a waterfall. Anyway I will shut up so you can check it out.

EG in the first of the two drops creating the Trucha Falls.

You see what was going on was, we boofed the hell out of the top hard right landing headed into the wall. We then were in the crazy pothole and turned around paddled through the boils and off the biggen.

Todd Steppin' it up on the big Trucha double drop.

Ian went last and didn't want to run the first drop. He sealanched into the hallway and went stright off the big part. He clipped the left wall and spun almost upsidedown hitting his head and hands on a ledge at the bottom of the falls.

Ian on the Trucha slide. If you can see he is starting to twist right towards the nasty flake at the base.

He came out right away and swam right to shore. We just thought he pulgged and lost his paddle or something but when we saw his helmet we knew he hit rocks. His helmet was smashed from the top down, it looked like someone hit it with a sleghammer as ahrd as they could. His boat was also pitoned to the extent of mangled after a piton of roadside that week. However he was not the only one to contact piedras. Charlie, who went first pulgged in, flipped underwater and tapped his head on a rock or something. Todd also said he felt some rocks with his hands when he was under. A very strange occurance, my thought was that the walls at the base were close to the landing and did not just cut downwards with the water. Making the shores a bit more shallow. Maybe??? LJ and I didn't feel a thing just a hit with the water. Who knows?

All we knew was that there was a 100 footer around the corner and our climbing rope just sunk to the bottom of the pool when Ian swam. If I ever carry a big rop it will be clipped in to the back of my boat fo-sho. Anyhow we scouted the scene and Lj, Todd, and I decided we were going to jump it. A 100 footer, I was scared but knew we had no other option. When we went back to our boats to set it up Charlie and Ian decided to hike out. We didn't want to seperate so we prceded to do the most hanus hike out of a river I have ever done. Climbing, roping boats, beating our selves up in the jungle. It was horrendous and hot. We made it up to the Trout resturant and went down the road to get our driver. At our planned take out Awacate. It was still one of the best days of kayaking of my life along with my first real rapel like that. Some good times without doubt are those when your stuck with 4 good friends out in the wood lost and tired, it's all about the journey they say.

Charlie right about to slide off the lip of part two on Trucha, he ran this one first.

This is one of my favorites of the trip. Lj lining it up for the perfect line down the middle.

A job well done, I say. This has got to be my favorite river ever. It has so much and such a varioty no other river I have seen contains. We then went for some daily Al Pastor Tacos and Tortas in Tlapacoyan, my personal favorite food of Mexico. That's where we met back up with Raffa after his week of school. All he could talk about was firing up Second Tomata, but it was Charlie's last night in Mexico.

Later E.G.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Lines On Roadside

We were super stoked after completing the Big Banana because we thought the water was going to be good for more of the middle sections, but it rained so we did the Upper. Then the water held for a few days because the ground was so saturated. No worries if we can't do anything else we will hit the Roadside run again and again.

Todd on the second drop on the run, very quality rapid.

I will never get sick of this run it is awesome. It may seem kind of chill, and is when the water is low, but when there is some flow in there you have to be on your toes.

High water S-turn... It was a bit loose that day. I was the only one to give it a go.

Hit the big lefty. Hit it good.

Anyway for the New Lines part. Well with more water came bigger holes, and for the most part harder boofs. So we bombed through the run looking for and finding new flakes and lines. There were tons.

Ian on the bottom of the pillow rapid.

Some of the more noticeable were the drop below S-turn boofing it right of center giving you tons of hang time and a sick stomper. Ian ran left on S-turn at ridiculous high flows, that was new.

Me Hitting the hard right line at the huge boof, unnnh!! I like it like that.

Hard right on the second to last drop kicked you so huge that it became one of the best boofs of my life, and right on the last drop made it a bit less mank. Those are just a few examples to speak of.

We did that for a few days as the water dropped lower and lower. We finally got hungry and found ourselves a trail to scout some biggens below Tablazo bridge, ohh they looked good so we got some rest, our climbing gear gathered, and our huevos ready to go big. Photos by Ian and Lj!

Later E.G.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Upper Alsaseca

After a magical day on the B.B. run we took a day off to chill and see what Mexico had to offer and be lazy kids. Anyway back to kayaking. We had gone upstream last week to go scout the upper drops and ended up only running from a small bridge down, only seeing a drop named "The Pooper". Muy Feo walked that one. This time the water was high and we hiked up from km 5 instead of doing what the NBNer's did driving from Altatonga. It was kind of a crapy walk but we made it in under an hour to the big 3 falls.

Ian on the Rib with a good view of the stack up.

#1: an unrunnable 70-80 cascade into a wall.

#2: "The Rib" a 40 footer with a rock at the bottom one would bounce off.

#3: "Auto BOOF" a big slide that send you airborne off a 15 footer.

Ian, Todd, and Charlie ran the rib making it look pretty dam good to go. It was so cold that I was not feeling it at the time.

Todd with the cleanest line off the Rib. He nailed it like a carpenter hitting a 2by4 with a waffel head hammer.The slide was magic and bigger than expected.

Me gaining speed ready to air the thing out. It was kind of hit or miss with this one most of the group just plugged it.

After that we boogied down to the Pooper. No takers this day either, the uglyest drop I have seen on the river, but it goes. The rest of the run was cool, with some good moves and ending with the fun 20 footer at the putin of Roadside section. We were cold and done for the day. It was epic, 3 bigger drops and some really fun boogie rapids. Checked off our list for this trip, money in the bag. Hoping for the wawa to drop we went to bed dreaming for sun in the morn.

Later E.G.

Big Banana Canyon

The Big Banana run is basicly the last 8-9km of the middle Alsaseca gorge. I had the opertunity to do this run last year with some good friends Joel, Kaite, Scott, Erin, and Raffa so I knew what to expect. When we finished the hike into the gorge and checked out the massive Big Banana fallls I reilized that there was much more water than my previous decent.

Big Banana Falls, Raffa in foreground, monsterous.

Well I thought, "I guess it should be good I don't remeber any big hole you can't walk." So on we went. The charater of rapids at the start is different from the rest of the river. Mank blouder drops similar to the Texolo, but fun and pretty nonetheless. As the gorge came into view we dropped right on in there. That place is as committing and scenic as any canyon I have ever been to. The walls are 10 feet apart and vertical for a long way above your head. Boggie water lead us to the nice 20 footer.

Raffa on the clean 20 footer, bad light, oh well you get the point.

Wam Bam thank you ma we were out of there 40 feet lower after two 20's.

Next come the most scenic place on the river in my opinion. A long class III gorge that has no end to it when you look up. It keeps going and going. That spits you out at the 40 from Burning Time that Grace got to know rather well. We walked. Then Raffa and I fired up a tripple set that is truly amazing. A few more big holes at this level put us at the Meatlocker.

We looked for our takeout eddy we used last time, because the next drop is death, it wasen't there. We almost walked it, but Raffa decided to anchor some ropes to a tree and put someone in the last chance slack water above the death hole. That way they could rope the boater in and get them out on the cliff. We fired it off one by one. Simpley one of the sweetest drops in the world. Boof-a-matic baby!!

If you hit the top boof this is what happens. You lanch the biggest boof ever, if you don't you plug like mad.

Raffa on the Meatlocker, boofing for the next boof.

After that came Pezma, a great section with some excelent drops. With more water it was more entertaining fo sho. Then we made it to Puente Tomata (Tomata Bridge) for our take out. A long and very worthy day. Raffa and I went down and scouted Second Tomata run years ago by Grace, Carrol, and Hale. Raffa wants that drop crazy kid is one fired up hommie.

Later E.G.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cascada Tomata

With the water holding at a high flow we were talked in to checking out Tomata Falls again by Charlie who had never seen the drop in person. I knew that this probably meant that I was going to huck it. It's kind of a bad deal to get to the actual falls because you have to pay two different people who own land on the road to park and walk down to the drop. Even thought it is only 10 peso a person, a total of 2 bucks to see that 65 foot tall beast. After a short scout of the drop and to see if this time we could hike out at the lip for second Tomata, which is a no, Charlie and I geared up and gave her some hell.

Charlie at the lip, he went for the back strokes at the top method, going very slow off the falls.

Part way down looking good still...

Charlie almost ready for impact a little out of wack.

Chuck went a bit over the bars and his skirt imploded but he was all good, soft hit, pretty dam good line, and got into the eddy and on the rock ready for me to come. I went for a different approach

Taking off of it with some good speed.

Sitting up, spotting the landing, waiting to lock it up.

If you in large this photo you can see me almost plugging totally tucked with a sick angle of entry.

I had a soft hit with no problems, I came out paddling hard and didn't even flip. Stoked on that fo-sho!!

Then we got Chuck on the rope we had already set and got him ascending up it. The video of him trying to get up the 80ish feet is priceless, so funny, but he got up with minor scrapes and tried arms. Then the set a Z-drag and lifted me out quickly. Much easier than last time with Tyler's big arse on the other end of the rope. I was stoked to finally huck this one because I had been to the drop many times before this and was either unable to run it, WCKA policy, or it was too dam high. This has got to be one of the hardest drops to stick because the lip is hard to read and the falls is very vertical hard to get that good angle but possible. I was scared I would fall over the bars but ended up greasing it like Velveeta, ewweooo!!

We then drove up the hill and rallied out a roadside run at a sick high level for s-turn and everything else. I had to run the 5km shuttle because no one would pick a half naked gringo up. Long good day filled with kayaking and beauty, cervezas for everyone back at adventurec.

Later E.G.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Alsaseca con Mucho Jugo

We woke up after it had been raining all night to find that it was true. The river was once again high as hell. Scary for sure. We tried to run the Roadside section and got pretty much worked over by most the drops. It was fun but too scary to really relax. Charlie tried to run the huge double hole, that is big even at low flows and hurt his shoulder, taking him out for a few days. Ian tried S-turn and got ropped out of an eddy. We got out above the lower part of roadside and drove back to town feeling defeated. No pics of that day but video.

We partied hard that night all over town on a Tuesday night. Had the PoPo called on us because they were confused why Gringos were running around at 2am. The next day we got back on it. Looking for a possible first D we tried to drive up a tributary above Tomata Falls and found out that there is some shiz to be done but it's extremley hard to get to. So Roadside again.

Lj on the Putin falls.

Todd on a sweet triple set.

Monkey Styler on the 20foot

Tood on the same ramp drop.ramp.

It was better and we mad it down the whole run this time. No one gave S-turn but it was there, just ballsy. We found some new sick lines on the run so I was pretty excited about that. QAnother good day on the Seca kayaking Mecca.

Later E.G.

Adventura del Xico

El Xico... This run is a classic short run that parallels the city. It starts out with some mank but opens up into some fun drops. Two of the rapids are bigger than the rest and keep you on your toes for sure. We had some more water this time compared to last year, which made the drop cleaner and more enjoyable. Some photos of the main events of the run are here...

Lj on the slot 20 footer.

Me on the enterance of the hardest drop of the run.

Todd on the same drop shot from below.

After this run we looked at Texolo Falls. A nasty 40 to a huge shallow 90 footer and returned to Talapacoyan. On the way down the pass we ran into another huge rai storm we were sure to be faced with high water the next day.

Later E.G.

Texolo with the Crew

We drove a few hours over the almost 10,000 foot pass to Xalapa V.C. and met up with LJ and Todd who had been hanging out for a few waiting to hop on the Suburban train. Charlie caught a taxi from Vera Cruz the city and got to our hostel at midnight, the scene was set for a huckfest. 9 kayakers putting on the Texolo is kind of a scary thought but everyone was solid and I had the lines imprinted in my head from the year before. I lead and we mad bombed through tons of fun class IV rapids with sick scenery, because everyone know it's all about the scenery, Then we arrived at the box canyon and a huge horizon line.

Brooks Baldwin Running the mandatory 40-50 foot falls half way through the run.

Lj on the same drop giving the water his paddle.

After everyone bombed off the waterfall blind we regrouped with one broken paddle by Todd, got the breakdown out, and continued down stream. The next part of the canyon contains most of the steep rapids of the run. There is a sick set of boofs and a rock duck, a portage around a nasty hole, and then Jorge's rapid. We all portaged the rapid knowing what kind of cave is below the walls and to show our respect for a good friend we lost almost a year ago. There is now a memorial at the rapid with his name. Once we made it around that drop. The perfect drop came next.

This is a shot of me from last year on the perfect drop. I love it!!

This year was the same incredible for most, but if you miss your boof you plug the hell out of it and go deep. Brooks plugged and lost his paddle swimming against the wall at the bottom. Ian plugged and broke his paddle. Ok now a little boggie to the big drop.

Tyler scouting the beast from the top. I can't show any of the picture of him running it yet because magazines are interested in buying them from my brother. So they will come later.

Tyler Bradt had been talking about this waterfall since the last time he did this run over two years ago. We all arrived to the beast and scouted for awhile. It didn't take long before most of us were out and Tyler was fired up on running it. The waterfall is arouind 90 to 100 feet in hight with a truly tricky, misleading enterance. T-Bradt did a rough measerment with his 87 foot throw bag that didn't touch the pool and was not level with the lip. Huge but no one know the exact hight. We all got the video set up and saftey ready for him as he waited calmey.

Once we were all in place he came, greased the enterance and flew off the lip. I mean came mocking off a 100 footer. Kept it in control, tucked 20 feet from the pool and stomped it. His deck imploded and he lost his paddle but he rolled up high on life. It was the single burlyest, biggest, and sickest thing I have evr seen run. After some celebration we had to do the hike out of the canyon. 2km up a massive hill out of the canyon.

It hurt but everyone made it and we ate taco's at the top. Ahhh!!! got to love Mexico. The crew split Raffa, Rush, and Brooks headed to Mexico city for a TV mission and we hung out in Xico a beautiful city in the mountains ready for the next creek. Later E.G.