Posted by: adamharmer | June 11, 2009

FIRST DESCENT RIO CONCEBIDAYOC

Wow, these days its very rare to find a new river. However when you find a new river how often is it sheer WORLD CLASS. Yesterday we arrived back in Cusco, after completing the first descent of the Rio Concebidayoc in the Quillabamba region.

As we had hoped the river was as perfect levels and with plenty of hardwork and careful planning from Paul Cripps of Amazonas Explorer we set off into the jungle last friday. On the way we safety kayaked the Urubamba from Santa Teresa to Santa Maria (big water class 5 in yet another deep inescapable gorge, something that became the norm for the trip). As part of a recce trip for Amazonas Explorer, so if you fancy a one day HARD rafting trip contact them.

Rafting and Safety kayaking the Santa Teresa section

Rafting and Safety kayaking the Santa Teresa section

The journey continued late into the night arriving 6 hours later at Keteni. Keteni is the nearest town to the end of the river, where the Concebidayoc joins the Urubamba and heads into the jungle towards the Amazon and Brasil.

After a quick look at the take out in the dark we declared the river suitable to run and proceeeded up the dirt road to the road head at Azul Mayo. With a few glimpses of the river below we prepared and loaded the mules for the trek further up river towards Espiritus Pampa and the hamlet of Concebidayoc.

The trek up river was knocked off slightly faster than most groups with us arriving at Espiritus Pampa by lunchtime. Espiritus Pampa is a very special place. Known as the last settlement of the Inca regime, not Machu Picchu as originally beleived by Hiram Bingham. The ruins are still being discovered and explored since Vincent Lee and Gene Savoy declared the site as the Incas final resting place.

This is where Paul discovered the river last year whilst running one of his treks to the area, so it was amazing to see only two hundred visitors had been to the ruins since Pauls last visit. Since 2002 Espiritus Pampa has only seen 1200 visitors, thats equivalent to what Machu Picchu receives in a day.

Mules trekking in

Mules trekking in

The next stage of the the journey saw us retrace some of the Inca footsteps over some amazing steps and paths to where we found our home for a night, an old school hall. Early the following morning we continued our journey upstream to a put in with a cable over the river, approximately 50 kilometres upstream from our get out point in Keteni. The put in was idyllic, with torquoise water, gentle grade 3 rapids and the sun beating down on us in the canyon floor.

After the ‘faff’ of packing and loading our kayaks with food and provisions for four days we set off downstream just before lunch on Saturday.

We were instantly in heaven, flowing moves, catching eddies and paddling the finest whitewater ever. We paddled about 750m of this until we encountered our first steep section. River wide boulder garden we opted to bank inspect before running a nice set of lines. We continued with similar water, becoming consistently harder as we moved downstream.

The rapids continued to steepen, with must make moves and lines as trees and siphons started to appear with regular occurrence. Moving slowly as inspections were nearly always mandatory we inched down the canyon.

Adam flairing into an eddy to avoid the toaster slot below

Adam flairing into an eddy to avoid the toaster slot below

With sunlight leaving and the canyon walls closing in we came across our first portage, technical with steep walls and slippery rocks we entered into our first set of must run rapids.

Shortly after tension started to grow as again we faced further portages and steepening walls. A small hamlet was spotted high on the right bank, just above a blind class 5-6 rapid. It was time to camp.

That evening discussion soon turned to who would run the rapid at first light and whether if entering, escape would be impossible. Lengthy debate was had and we all agreed a remote, dense jungle gorge was not the environment to lose a close friend in a wreckless decision.

Further inspection was needed although almost impossible we elected to portage with the idea of the ever increasing canyon walls encasing us within an un-runnable fall and without outside help being able to assist.

The job to portage was no small effort. Paul speaking spanish set off with bare essentials 5 km back upstream where we started the day before, meanwhile Pete, Spike and I hauled the boats from the canyon up towards the path whilst cutting through deep undergrowth. This was the start of a potential epic and major portage through the jungle.

Pete and Adam hauling the kayaks

Pete and Adam hauling the kayaks

Monday saw us return to the river in a much more suitable place with flowing rapids, continuous class 4 interspersed with the occasional class 5. Our pace quickened as we were able to again read and run most of the rapids. The walls did close in for a short while as we came close to Azul Mayo (the roadhead), giving us this amazing canyon feel in a friendlier setting, with help and access not to far away if we needed it. One of the rapids we named as ‘Fairy Glen South’, so similar to the Welsh classic with warm water and the sun beating down on us once again.

Paul hucking the boof

Paul hucking the boof

As the rapids began to ease we started to search out a campsite, looking for flat sand, trees to hang hammocks from and plenty of firewood, enabling us to cook up a feast and dry our wet kit after what had been the best day of remote kayaking ever.

Pete focused on his line

Pete focused on his line

Tuesday was now the final day and with gravel bed rapids becoming the norm progress was moving fast and we were eating the remaining 27 km easily until one slightly bigger rapid hit us hard, on the limit of read and run we got a real shake up and we finished in the pool smiling and giggling at an awesome class 4+ drop.Our mood again relaxed and we continued around the corner. Bad idea, we encountered a huge double tiered drop, easily class 5. Running the entry fall was ok but we opted for a slight chicken line to finish, looking towards a house eating pourover we were happy with our decision.

Spike on the final hard rapid

Spike on the final hard rapid

We made our way through the final rapids as the bridge we had spotted 5 days previously came into shot. Ending a truly amazing first descent with amazing quality grade 4-5(+) white water. To find out more stay turned to the blog to find out more about upcoming articles and lectures on our return to the UK.
The Team (L-R) Jon 'Spike' Green, Pete Catterall, Paul Cripps and Adam Harmer

The Team (L-R) Jon 'Spike' Green, Pete Catterall, Paul Cripps and Adam Harmer

Posted by: adamharmer | June 1, 2009

News from deep and darkest Peru

Hi Folks,

We have just completed an amazing trip down arguably the worlds deepest canyon, The Rio Cotahuasi.

With amazing logistics courtesy of Amazonas Explorer we completed the trip in 3 and half days, with a suitably early season high water level.

The journey started with a long jeep journey from Arequipa to the village of Cotahuasi. After picking up suppiles in Arequipa, the roads picked their way across the Atacama (the worlds driest desert) and over 4000m to arrive late on Monday 25th.

Petraglyphs and Atacama Desert

Petraglyphs and Atacama Desert

An early start saw us walking into the Gorge via the un-runnable Sipia Falls, with mule support organised by team member Paul Cripps of Amazonas Explorer. The planned 8 hour hike was knocked off in just 5hrs , so as a team we elected to get started on the river and loaded our kayaks, two Everests, a large Burn and medium Burn courtesy of Pyranha Kayaks.

IMG_5567

We set off for about an hours travel with heavily laden kayaks. Cautiously we ran the first hard rapid ‘Broken Neck’ with good style.

Camp was then set up just before the sun left the scorched canyon around 2 o’clock and we got down to the essentials of cooking and exploring the ancient inca ruins and terraces.

Wednesday saw us prepare for a long, hard and comitting day, on the water for 8.30 we cruised through continous rapids, running class 4-4+ onsight. In fact continuous is an understatement, with no flat pools to rest in we keep it together encountering Marlpas Mile and Jasons Hole, both solid class 5, with quick inspections and only minimal portages from Adam, the team pressed onto the campsite again for around 2.30 pm.

Thursday was yet another full on day with considrable rapids like Canyon del Metro, Orange Juice I, Orange Juice II and Orange Juice III, (confused, then come along to our lecture tour on our return), and Canyon del Centrimetro.

Continuous Rapids

Adam, Paul and Spike on a 'flat' section!!

Mentally drained we elected to camp above ‘Hyside for your life’, the final class 5, preferring  to eat it for breakfast on the final morning.
Pete running Hyside for your life

Pete running Hyside for your life

The final day, Friday started yet again with an early start and clean lines on ‘Hyside for your life’, before the grade eased back to class 3-4, with the only exception being ‘S bend’. A sneaky twisting series of off-set holes. More gentle cruising followed until the confluence of the Rio Maran.

Friday was slightly overcast unlike the previous days so a quick and swifty exit was made down the gravel beds with a distance of about 50km being covered to the town of Iquipi, before retiring to a hostel with chicken and chips and copious amounts of beer.

The Rio Maran Confluence

The Rio Maran Confluence

Posted by: adamharmer | April 3, 2009

More sponsors added to the trip

Its been a while since our last post but in that time we have got a few more sponsors on board, have a look at the sponsors page for more details.

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Posted by: adamharmer | March 15, 2009

Big day in Cardiff, Friday 20th March

This friday I have been selected to present our proposal to the Sports Council for Wales. I will be travelling down for the presentation on Friday, in Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens with other like minded explorers, hopefully our amazing planning, cool logistics and a once in a lifetime opportunity will prove considerable enough to gain sponsorship and funding from the WSA.

Then as a mad keen boater i’m hoping to catch a few South Walean runs before my return to North Wales.

Give me call if your free and rivers are up over the weekend

Adam

Posted by: adamharmer | March 15, 2009

Whats new!!

Wow, its all been pretty hectic for us all here in North Wales, but a few additions have been made to the blog.

Firstly we have all agreed to present at the Pyranhafest in September 2009. The two day festival held at Canolfan Tryweryn and the surrounding area gives a chance for all the Pyranha Team paddlers to share ideas and discuss the latest boating scandal to the public.

Last year was a huge success with top coaching clinics, Mikey Abbot and Andy Phillips flew in from Norway for it, The Karnali and Z one were launched and the Fat Cats put on an awesome display in the evening.

This year the Pyranha HQ guarantee its going to be bigger, better and wetter.

Secondly we have decided to run a lecture tour, please see the lecture tour page for more details.

Finally we are all recounting our favourite runs and the best boats for our recent profile pages, check it out!!

Posted by: adamharmer | February 10, 2009

More sponsors join the race

Thanks very much to Palm Equipment and Paul ‘Cheesy’ Robertson, the boys from custard country have agreed to officially sponsor us for our trip.

If you or someone you know might be able to offer us something unique for our trip please get in touch.

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Posted by: adamharmer | January 31, 2009

A few pictures of the boys in training

Not only did ITV News make an appearance on Wednesday but so did the Sun, ‘the yellow warm one not the filthy rag’.

Here are a few pictures of Spike and Pete at Miners Bridge and Pont Cyfyng on the River Llugwy in North Wales.

All pictures are courtesy  of  Oliver Raymond-Barker.

Spike dropping into Miners Bridge

Spike dropping into Miners Bridge

Adams stunt double 'Tom Parker' at Pont Cyfyng's top drop

Adams stunt double 'Tom Parker' at Pont Cyfyng's top drop

Pete committed to the second drop of Pont Cyfyng

Pete committed to the second drop of Pont Cyfyng

Spike on his famous 'Soapbox', with Pete kneeling at his feet 'Yes O Master'

Spike on his famous 'Soapbox', with Pete kneeling at his feet 'Yes O Master'

Posted by: adamharmer | January 30, 2009

Interview with Ian Lang from ITV News Wales

I’ve found a few links on the ITV website, the first is an interview with Spike giving the run down, no visuals but good commentary. The links have a short ITV advert infront of them, please be patient and they pop up then

Link:

http://www.itvlocal.com/wales/news/?player=WAL_News_15&void=281461

The second link is a few shots, unfortunately its not the full quality of the video the team captured

Link:

http://www.itvlocal.com/wales/news/?player=WAL_News_15&void=281474

Enjoy and were post more news soon.

Adam

Posted by: adamharmer | January 29, 2009

Did you see ITV Wales Tonight

This evening ITV Wales aired a short section regarding our trip to Peru in May. The film clip showed Pete and Spike paddling sections of Pont Cyfyng and Miners Bridge on the Llugwy.

Spike and Pete also got to mention our links with Plas Y Brenin, along with the rather obvious logos emblazoned on all the kit.

I will try and upload a link soon

Happy Paddling

Adam

Posted by: adamharmer | January 28, 2009

Flights are booked

Yep yesterday we booked our flights from Manchester to Lima via Amsterdam, The team leave the UK on 23rd May and return three weeks later on 13th June 2009.

Keep an eye on the site as progress moves forward and more sponsors come on board

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