Partial First Descents of Rio Division and Savegre with Chris Baer
Todd Wells doing the first descent dance
Ferdinand showed me a you Tube video of a couple of people trying to do the first descent of the Division river. These people were in a raft and a ducky, it looked laughable at best. It turns out the joke was on us. 2 days, 5 hours of hiking and scouting, and we accomplished just a bit better results then the rafters.
So where are we going?
A few minutes later Felipe showed up he was to be our shuttle driver and local beta guru. We hoped into his Toyota Land cruiser and we were off to Santa Eduviges.
Felipe’s 4×4 of fun
Ferdinand, in a warm up drop.
Todd, sending the 20 footeer
We took our time scouting the upcoming canyon and it was one horrendous looking drop after the next. There is no doubt in my mind that without some amazing rope work this canyon will never be ran. We had managed to move 500 meters in 5 hours, something had to change. The beta we had said there was another canyon ahead and it looked as containing if not more from the topographical map. It was time to skip the next canyon or anticipate spending a second night, with few calories somewhere deep in the canyon. After appraising our options, it seemed best to hike 500 vertical feet back up to the road and a half a mile to the town of Santo Thomas. Upon reaching Santo Thomas it was getting cold and dark. We meet a few locals and Ferdinand immediately started negotiating a truck ride down stream around the second canyon. An hour or so later we piled our equipment into a pick up truck and started the drive. As the rain pounded down we arrived at a shed, I was so happy to have a mildly dry place to lay my bivy sack.
Home sweet home
hiking back into the canyon
look close or double click to check out the 200 meeter waterfall
Ferdinand, with another cool rapid
Ferdinand having a little fun
putting some calories back in our bodies, at the Sevegre bridge
Todd, picking up his bow
Todd, sending another first descent
So Felipe’s father lives on a piece of land near the Los Quetzales National Park, and was speaking highly of a back yard run. Ferdinand was more then excited to pick off another first descent, and so was I. Todd, Ferdinand, and I loaded boats onto horses in the morning, and hiked back into the jungle. The horse trail was beat down, deep mud, and deeper ruts the entire 11 kilometers up to Felipe’s house. Once at the house, Felipe’s mother brought us a great hearty lunch. It was already just past noon and we had 11 kilometers, 5 or so of which had never been paddled before to descend. My energy was circling the drain, but I was excited to see some more quality white water. 10 minutes into the run I crested a pour over to see a retentive hole. I cranked out a hand full of strokes aiming for the right side of the hole. I hit the hole got stern stalled and felt the water pulling me back in for a ride. I took a couple good rides, and got on the foam pile, a few strong strokes and I was heading back in for another ride. A few more seconds later, and my low energy had gotten the better of me. I slid my knee out of the thigh brace and popped out of my boat.
It took a couple minutes to recover my gear, and I tried to get my head back in the game. Around the bend was Felipe and the whole family, they were there to watch us run the “big one”. It was an ugly left to right drop that had a odd looking hole at it’s base. Ferdinand fired it up first and got blown hard left into a pin rock. He dug in with a strong brace, and pulled himself around the pin rock and into the pool. Todd caught a lower eddy and made a strong move left to right but got spun out near the lip, and fell into the drop with almost no speed. This resulted in another entertaining run. I peeled out of the top eddy supper low and kept my momentum down the drop, I managed to cut through the nasty first hole, just to get immediately flipped in the compression hole behind it. Our exhaustion was starting to show in our boating.
Ferdinand lining up the “big one”
Ferdinand deep in the crease
In three days we paddled 23 miles, hiked 10 miles, kayaked 5 miles of first descents, and had an amazing time exploring a beautiful corner of Costa Rica.
A cool centipede.
Savegre and Division River, partial First Descent from Chris Baer on Vimeo.
exhausted, beat down, and smiling