|Stretch:||Campo to Santaliestra y San Quilez|
|Difficulty:||Class III (IV-)|
|Flows:||No gauge. 800?-?,000 cfs estimate|
|Gradient:||38 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Confluence of Rialbo and Esera, or 5.3 km downstream|
|Take-out:||Bridge in Santaliestra y San Quilez|
|Shuttle:||12.3 km, 15 minutes one way.|
|Season:||Winter/Spring from snowmelt and rain|
Pyrenees 2018 - Day 7 Afternoon:
So, the plan was that Reiner was going to go bike ride with his wife, and Harry was going to spend the afternoon with his family. I think the prospect of doing a class IV run just wasn’t enticing enough. At this point in the trip, the class IV had been more like class III and really non-descript rapids. So I got it, but I wanted to boat and the Esera was on the way to Ainsa where we were going to home base for a night or two.
The Ventamillo Gorge on the Esera was recommended by Quim, so I knew it must be pretty good. And arriving at the gorge, with the road that goes straight through it, just along the lip of the narrow constriction that holds the water inside a slightly larger but much taller gorge, we knew that this run was in fact classic. The first couple pull outs we took looked good, but then on a corner I caught a glimpse of something and asked Diane to pull over. The high water made what I assume is the normal “bigger drop over a rock ledge in a hard to set safety location” (as the guidebook described) impossible to run as the rock overhand was only 1 foot over the water and the hole was huge and blew into a cave at this flow. To make matters worse, this is when we realized the water was really high as the eddies above the rapid were very few and not super easy to get into, partially due to the complications of the road just above. We figured out a portage plan and then continued road scouting, though 100 yards downstream we found that the river tightened, and the bounced from wall to wall, with walls that were unmistakably limestone and full of undercuts and potentially caves. We decided that it was too high to run safely due to no ability for safety and the length of swims. Actually, Diane was still keen. But I was still ill, dizzy, and lacking confidence in my ability to react and balance in this gorge. So, with reluctance, we move on downstream to look at the class III-IV section downstream.
Arriving at this river we saw that the canyon opened up. We could see some high water class III with some mellow sections spread between. The scenery was still nice, though no longer world class like upstream. But, rather than take the day off, we decided to go ahead and continue with the plan and set shuttle for ourselves. After all, Quim also recommended this as a classic section for the area amongst folks who were looking for class III, so it had to be decent right?
The run went by pretty fast. There were some fun rapids. One approached class IV at this flow, but we were able to read and run it, threading a line center to left between two holes. The scenery was pleasing for sure. Soon, we found ourselves at take-out. Since Diane’s Spanish is much better than mine, she was on the hitching duty. She went up to the road as a couple was heading into a café. When they came out of the café a half hour later they say her still there and offered a ride. Thanks French couple for the help!
That night, we went into Ainsa to get wifi and find out where the Glanz brothers ended up. They ended up camping just 10 km up the road at a campsite along the Ara river so we went to join them for the nice night that included a shower at the campsite.
Previous: Pyrenees 2018 - Day 7 Morning: Noguera Ribagorcana
Next: Pyrenees 2018 - Day 8 Morning: Barrosa
- Boogie (I to I+). Ok… so we didn’t put in all the way up in town. We put in a bit lower because our day was already getting dragged on and I think Diane was frustrated I didn’t want to do the upstream gorge and the prospect of a bunch of class I was unappealing to her. So we found a put downstream as the rapids began.
- Rapids (III). The next km has all the good rapids on the run. The first bit is boogie just read and run and avoid the rocks as they look to be sievy. This then leads to an off angle hole that we ran far right.
- Big One (III+ to IV). This one surprised us. We found a line going right to left and threading the needle between two big holes. I think there was also a line far right the whole way down. Just don’t end up in the middle at the bottom.
Boogie (II). It got mellow below but continued to move.
Take-out: 13.5 km south of Campo on A-139 you get to the village of Santaliestra y San Quilez. Take the right into town and another right. Follow this small road to an open area with a large arch footbridge.
Put-in: To save some flat water, you can put in at the river access 8.0 km up A-139 towards campo. There is a turn out and river access signage. Or you can continue up another 4.3 km and park just before you cross the Rio Rialbo and access the confluence.
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...