Shapalmonte Rapid (Class IV), at K. 82, was the big event of Day #5, which also included an encounter with a large dam survey operation and our arrival at the road that descends the Rio Huaycrachuco from the east, and then follows the river downstream to the Puente (bridge) Jitaraxan. We camped on river left, opposite the road.
A clear creek enters on river-right
At Shapalmonte Rapid – what appears to be gypsum
same as above
same as above
Shapalmonte Rapid has an upper and lower section. The upper starts with some large holes, and is followed by a longish stretch of scattered boulders that requires a lot of maneuvering. The lower section starts with a sharp drop that is studded with large boulders, followed by a turn to the right as the river runs into a granite cliff. Then, a midstream boulder is followed by two large holes.
Scouting the upper section of Shapalmonte Rapid. Left to right: Luis, Marion, CJ, Pedro, Kathy and Britt. The horizon line seen past Britt’s head is the location of a sharp drop that ends this section of the rapid.
Zacarias (our guide trainee and Awajun tribesman), on the scout, with a bromeliad (?) in his helmet. Later, he surprised us all by trying to swim across the top of the rapid. When he got pulled too far downstream, he climbed onto a boulder, after which Pedro kayaked to near him and used a throw rope to get him across the last channel to shore.
Scouting Shapalmonte from river left, at a point about half-way down the upper section
The drop at the beginning of the lower section, seen from river-right
Pedro shows us the way
Floating towards the head of Shapalmonte Rapid
CJ, in the upper section, passes Nate
CJ, at the drop into the lower section …
followed by a good bounce as she turns the corner
Britt at the drop into the lower section
Luis and Marion back paddle hard, as they make the turn
The last big boulder and drop, which is followed by a pair of large holes
Britt drops into the first big hole after passing the midstream boulder … (Karl Swanson photo)
bounces up and out of that hole … (Kathy Miller photo)
and is now headed into the second hole (Karl Swanson photo)
CJ, in the first hole … (Kathy Miller photo)
and the second hole (Kathy Miller photo)
A waterfall on river-right
Downstream view (enlarge to see Karl in his packraft)
Dam survey site, with a worker on the left, Zacarias on the right and their motorized craft
Camp #5, on river-left, across from the road
Puente Jitaxaran (Jitaraxan bridge) was located just a few minutes float downstream from Camp #5. There, Luis and Marion would, the next morning, leave the trip, and where we would receive a replacement cataraft. But, how was this to be achieved? Earlier, Pedro had called the Sierrarios equipment depot in the coastal city of Trujillo (by cell or satellite phone), and asked that they ship a replacement boat to the town nearest to the river. Then, after an early dinner at Camp #5, he kayaked across the river and hitch-hiked to the designated town, where he spent the night. In the morning, he hired a taxi to both get himself and the boat to the river and return Luis, Marion and the destroyed boat to civilization. Our arrival at the bridge would end the Upper Grand Canyon of the Rio Marañon, and begin the Inner Gorge section. Here is the link to the following post: