|Stretch:||Vergletto to Fontane|
|Gradient:||233 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Either upstream or downstream of the footbridge upstream of Vergletto|
|Take-out:||At the bridge over the river.|
|Shuttle:||2 miles (5 minutes)|
|Season:||Spring from rain/snowmelt|
|Featured in Video A Wet State #91|
Piemonte / Ticino 2014: Day 8
The Ribo is famous for its 40-50 foot waterfall. I will always remember it as the place I proposed to Diane… though that was at the waterfall, so perhaps I will still think of the waterfall as well.
Information on the rest of the run is hard to come by. In every video it seems, all you see is a glory shot of the falls and then it cuts to a new river. That along with the guidebook saying there was an unrunnable gorge upriver made me always think it was a park and huck… with maybe a little class IV downstream. It turns out the run is actually quite fun. Boofs and holes leading up to and below the falls. I have seen pictures of the run lower… and although the falls goes, I would think that the run itself can’t go too much lower without causing boat damage. As it was for us, the run felt like a very nice low flow. At no point did the rapids seem like they got too punchy. But with that said there is one hole above the falls that swam one in our group and caused several other near misses… inspiring a portage for several. But when the river pinches to a boat width wide and then drops into a pothole what do you expect to happen?
Keep an eye out for a sizable rapid just below (but just upstream) of the bridge. This is a portage that leads to the falls itself. The rapid is runnable but it is stout and at the lip of the falls. Climb quickly up to the bridge to get your first look at the falls, and then climb down to scout or portage around it. Downstream the river has 2 more rapids that could cause problems, the first being on a blind left corner that has a pocket hole on the far left where the water pushes you. The other is a boulder garden with a zig zag in it. Below things mellow out and simplify to fun boogie.
The drive up the Ribo takes you up the Isona canyon… which if it has water is a fantastic looking bedrock run with a bunch of slides. The catch on that one is that there is an easy 30 minute hike to put in but a South Branch-esque 800 foot climb out of the canyon. For us it was too low, and I will admit I am not that bummed as the hike would have killed me.
In total though, this run is a classic. Even if just for the falls… but the rest of the run was still fun and certainly worthwhile. However if you are uninterested in the falls… it becomes more borderline on if it is worth visiting when there is so much else to do nearby that has better rapids and better scenery.
- Big One (V). Below put in you have some low angle slides that lead to a big drop with a tricky hole. Folks who started left and stayed left seemed to have the best luck. Alternately, you can put in just downstream of this if you don’t like the look of it.
- Alternate Put-in (IV). Just downstream of the alternate put in is a 4 foot ledge that was best run boofing down the middle.
Boof (IV). Downstream not far was another boof run down the left of center.
- Left Turn (IV). On a 90 degree left turn is a series of rapids. The first we scouted and ran the left channel but far right.
Zig Zag (IV to IV+). The hazard is that you are landing in a pocket that looks a little sievy. Below is a zig zag rapid, drive far left in the middle to avoid the pinch and then exit boofing far left again.
Possible Portage (IV+). An easy rapid to get to the bottom… but the bottom has a funky pothole that swam one in our group and gave others plenty of trouble. Some of us walked on the right. Below, go to the lip of the next big rapid and get out on the left.
- Pre-Falls (V+). Portage left, the drop is big and runnable but feeds straight over the lip of the falls.
Falls (V). As easy as a 45 foot falls can be. Go right of center but not too far right. Below is a small ledge that is best run right.
- Blind Drop (IV+). A blind drop where most of the water headed to the right and then over a cascade into a hole below. The line was to drive hard right on the cascade as the hole at the bottom had a pocket on the left wall.
Slide (IV). A cool slide that was fun moving right to stay off the left wall.
Gorge (IV). A cool gorge, I vaguely remember being on the right at the top. We exited on the left at the bottom. Below the river went into fun class III to IV boogie. There was a tree down in this area though.
- S-Turn (IV). A tricky rapid that was an s-turn right then left. On the top part there was a strong curler that pushed people back hard to the left, some flippe don the wall.
Below was some fun boogie all the way to take-out.
Directions: Use the GPS locations to get yourself to put-in and take-out… below is just the extra little info you may need
Take-out: As you drive up the valley, you come to a cool bridge/fork/river-confluence. Stay right to continue up the Ribo instead of the Isona. Within a km or so you will cross the Ribo, park on the far side. Parking is limited.
Put-in: Continue driving up the river, in about 2 miles you come to a small village that had an open parking area on the far side. We parked here. There was a small path down to a bridge over the river here. Look at the drop below the falls and decide if you want to park a few hundred yards further upriver and run the drop (park at a turnout) or park here and find the trail just downriver on river left from the bridge down to the river below the exit gorgy rapid.
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