Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mexico New Year

Greetings Whitewater World!

I just got back from an incredible trip to the country of Mexico... the place has an unbelievable amount of whitewater and some very very large waterfalls. Mexico is an awesome place to go for paddlers of all levels, but carries a special attraction for class V paddlers looking to step it up and start freefalling long distances.

Scouting in Mexico...

Pat Keller, myself and Jake Greenbaum rode down in Pat's truck, and met up with Austin Rathmann, Ian McClaren, Jon Meyers, and Lawrance Simpson in Valles, Mexico.


The reward after 35 hours of driving!

Filming at the lip of the first drop of Day 1, the Micos. 2 ran, the rest did a sick rappel off the side.

Micos waterfall from below... about 75 feet of total drop and 55 feet of freefall... Lawrance knocked out the First D of the left side on this trip, sick!

After Pat and Lawrance ran the Micos, we did the beautiful travertine waterfall run-out below and packed up to go to the second huck of our trip, Cascada El Salto. This waterfall has to be one of the coolest looking drops ever, dropping about 100 feet over three tiers. I've always wanted to run this beast, but my head just didn't feel right to do one of the biggest hucks of my life, so I opted out.

Two bad lines on El Salto...

Unfortunately day 1 took Jon Meyers out for the trip. He flipped on the 70 foot second drop of El Salto and fractured his left elbow. McClaren flipped too and although he didn't break anything, his elbow wasn't quite the same after that... the big drops will get ya!

Getting hassled by the fuzz. They had big guns.

Another 6 hours south and the next day we found ourselves in the final destination for our trip, Tlapacoyan in the state of Veracruz. This is where the Rio Alseseca makes its 30 mile plunge from the mountains onto the coastal plan flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. Other than the Middle Kings, I have never seen any other river with sustained sick, (marginally) runnable whitewater for so long. The thing just keeps falling and falling, and unlike the Kings, this river is formed by volcanic basalt, and its jungles hide a tonne of huge waterfalls. Several different sections of the Alseseca were our focus for the remainder of our trip in Mexico, and I can't wait to get back and explore more.

The jungle here just makes you want to run everything. "Looks a little low but the portage is horrible, I'm gonna run it!"

Austin on Rapid 1, roadside Alseseca.

Lawrance styling one of the coolest rapids in existence, S-Turn.

The author enjoying the tropics.

Great drop on the Pezma section.

Pat Keller doing what he does best... plug in first and probe that shit for us!

The trip came to an end somewhat abruptly due to pending school responsibilities and some sickness in the group, but I know that we'll be back. If you are planning your own trip to Mexico in the future, I would advise the following precautions:
1) Wear long pants to avoid poison ivy/bug bites.
2) Don't carry anything illegal in the car... you don't want to go to jail there.
3) Take the toll roads, they are very worth it.
4) Bring tonnes of climbing gear... ascenders, two big climbing ropes and rappel gear
5) Take a vehicle with big clearance, the speed bumps are killers.
6) Bring your A game, you can go as big as you want!!

The boys satisfied after an awesome trip. We're pretty tough in case you can't tell.

Until next time...
Chris Gragtmans

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