Monday, December 27, 2010

Second Descent: Upper Rio Division

Here in Costa Rica I haven't been getting after as much paddling as I had originally hoped. Luckily within the last couple weeks I was able to get on some beautiful rivers with some amazing drops. One of which was the upper section of the Rio Division. Ferdinand Steinvorth, a Tico paddler very interested in exploring the gems here in Costa Rica, called me up and said that himself and Chris Baer were headed to do the second descent of the Upper Rio Division. Of course I said I was all in, and a couple days later met up with Ferdinand in San Jose. From San Jose we woke up early, and drove for a few hours to the put in. Within the first quarter mile there was some fun class IV-V rapids, and one un-run 20ft. falls. The rapid had a technical lead-in, and instead of the falls dropping into a nice pool there was a boil about 20ft. downstream that created a difficult upstream current. Non the less, I saw my line and decided to give her a go. Everything went smoothly, and Chris and Ferdinand followed with similar lines.

Lining up at the lip of Backwash
Just a few hundred feet downstream was the entrance to the first of two un-run canyons. Our original goal was to run both the canyons, but after evaluating the time that we had and looking at the sieved out entrance to the canyon we decided to save that expedition for another day.

Looking into the gorge downstream

With night falling, we made our way up to the closest pueblo to decide what to do next. Eventually we decided to ride in the back of a pick-up to a town below both the first and second canyons of the Upper Division. Cold, tired, and hungry after a long drive we made camp in a generous local's garage and chowed down on some grub before going to sleep. I didn't sleep too well, but by the time the sun was up and I saw the view of the valley a couple thousand feet below where we had camped I was ready to go. 

Our bivy on the Division. You have no idea how happy we were to find a roof to sleep under. 
Hiking down to the river the next morning
Once we arrived at the river we began to make our way downstream, boat scouting almost the entire run. We didn't come across any big drops, but I had an amazing time paddling some of the most continuous class IV-V rapids I had ever seen. Once we got a good feel for the river and the type of rapids we were paddling be began to move faster and paddled about 14km before mid afternoon. 

Ferdinand enjoying the "class fun" Rio Division

Boofing my way down the Division
When we got to the take out we were met by Felipe, the best shuttle driver in the area. We loaded up our boats, headed back to his house and prepared for our following day of paddling on the un-run Upper Rio Sevegre...

Felipe's 4X4 Shuttle Rig

Photos by: Chris Baer