Rio Nevado (Upper)
|Stretch:||Slide to the Demshits Drop|
|Difficulty:||Class V to V+|
|Flows:||small, check at kayakpucon and see what Rodrigo says about it being in|
|Shuttle:||0 miles, 15 minutes walking|
|Featured in Video #35, Chile 2010 Episode Three|
The Upper Nevado is among the most famous runs near Pucon, perhaps second only to the Palguin. The river has everything that a class IV-V steep creek can to insure a great day. From slides, to must-run waterfalls, to sections containing back to back moves not to mention the gorged out canyon to provide you that nice cozy feeling of being completely locked into a river, this creek has it all.
We got a little lucky getting on this run so late in December. If it weren't for some rain that came through the week before we arrived, we likely would have missed the window on this section of river. As it were, we had bare minimum (in my mind) flow for the run. The main drops were all still good to go, however the in between stuff was marginally obnoxious. Also, the first slide was a bit of a kick to the back if you ended up hitting the kicker... which we all did.
Still, this run even at the low water was very worth it and certainly one of the highlights of our trip. If we were there for a longer period of time, this run would have been at the top of the list for a second trip to.
Depending on who you are with, if you scout, or if you film, your first lap can take anywhere from twenty minutes to 2 hours. I think we were near the 2 hour mark. We all ran a few laps on the slide, and all took turns one at a time running the rest of the drops in order to get plenty of video of the river. Surprisingly, at the low flow at least, although it would have been adrenaline filled, the whole river would be runnable off of beta as most of the drops are one move affairs where if you enter in the right place and take the boof stroke, it is all good.
One final note, the guide books talk about putting in higher up, we opted to put-in directly above the slide by hiking in from river left. I am not sure what's above the slide.
Thanks to Rodrigo of KayakPucon for his contribution of photos.
- California Slide (IV+ to V). The put-in drop has two distinct parts. The first is a steep 15 foot slide. We ran this down the center. There is then a short pool before the main event. A long medium angle slide that is best run right. In the middle there is a kicker that will land you on the rock ridge behind it. At low flows it is very hard to get to the right of the kicker. You can hike up river right to run laps on this drop. Just downstream is a small exit drop that is class III.
Wall Drop (IV+). After the exit drop of the slide, enter to the far left of the next mank fest. After the first little bit, it cleans up, you can eddy out left and scout the final falls, or just route it. Whatever you do, don't go down the right slide of the falls as it falls into a seam with a cave behind the falls on the right. That would be a bad place to be, rescue would be difficult. Instead, just drive left and drop the 18 or so feet to the bottom. We all tried our best to plug as the low water created a green landing zone. There is a rock shoal on the right you can set safety from below.
Gorge Rapid (IV to V-). In 2010, there was a log across the entry of the drop. With one person standing on the log you were able to boat up and over it with some help. The last person had to seal launch in from the right, which of course resulted in me pitoning. From there, go down the right channel, punch the meaty hole and then boof the exit on the right.
Must Run (V- to V). After a hundred yards of class II mank, you will notice a large canyon and horizon line looming downstream. Hope out on the right to scout. The line is obvious and not that hard. Just boat over the tree just under the surface, go through the pinch, and try to boof. It is intimidating but so much fun. From below you can bask in the beauty that is the Nevado Canyon. Also, portaging really is not an option, nor is a throw and go, it is a must run falls.
Triple Combo (V). The next hundred yards is the hardest section of river in the run. The exit of the pool below the must run, is a small hole into another very small pool. From here, drive center left and boof into the eddy on the left. This falls is about 8 feet tall. Don't go right as it is a messier falls and a messy landing. The left will autoboof you. From the eddy, ferry back out at the base of the falls (even at low water this is hard, at high water folks sometimes are forced onto dry land to portage around the second set due to not being able to enter it). The next set has a small boof over a good size hole followed by a ramp that can get a mean hole at higher flows. At this point there is a small eddy on the right for a few boats. The third part, isn't too hard, but a bit blind. The river banks off the river left rock and slams into the right wall, occasionally corkscrewing people. Therefore, you try to get up on the left rock so you fade off into the seam instead of the right wall.
Exit (III+). The next horizon is a small drop that is tough to clean. Go right, try to stay off the wall, and keep your boat straight for the hole and pinch below. You can scout on the right. We took out just downstream on the left, look for the steep trail climbing out of the canyon before the next class II lead-in.
Dos Amores (V- to V). We didn't run this drop, we took out above it to keep the group together. This rapid is one of the better ones. All I know for sure is enter and boof the crap out of the right wall and enjoy the some 15 feet of free fall. I know just downstream is a good size hole and then you are at the lip of Demshitz and the start of the Lower Nevado.
Put-in: Head out of Pucon on Camino Internacional, cross the Rio Turbio and the Rio Trancura. About 5.5 km past the Trancura, turn left at the fork onto S-907. Drive towards Huife, past signs for the Tres Saltos. Keep an eye out for signs to Lefincul and a dirt road dropping down to your left towards Lefincul. Take the dirt road, cross over the Rio Liucura (small here) and continue up a km or so to the first clearing (meadow) on the left of the road and continue a few hundred yards further to the next turnout on the left. We parked here, and hiked the 15 minutes up the road to a large meadow on the left with an obvious break in the brush line allowing access through the barbwire. This is all private property, hence we did not park at the hike in point.
Take-out: Your car is already there. Once you hike out
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