Peru, the Rio Marañon. Day 9, Wasson’s Landslide Rapid


Wasson’s Landslide Rapid! I’m starting this post with all the movie footage I shot of our  run through Wasson’s Landslide Rapid (excepting the sections we lined, where I shot none of the action). Then, I’ll present Wasson’s in more detailed fashion:

Rocky Contos named Wasson’s Landslide Rapid for John Wasson, who led an exploratory team of boaters down the Rio Marañon, paddling 790 km with 3 kayaks and a 12′ raft, from Rondos to Imacita (Nazareth), in July and August of 1977. I first met John in June of 1971, on a Grand Canyon trip put together by John and friends, most of whom worked for a summer adventure camp called Ashcrofters. This camp was  based in Ashcroft, an outlier of Aspen, and run by Dave Farny. Dave was my boss at the Aspen Highlands Ski School at the time, and gave me an intro to his staff.  Myself and girl friend Marguerite, also a ski instructor at Highlands, were invited along. This trip was my introduction to rivers, and changed my life completely.

John Wasson, at House Rock Rapid, Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

On the left, John Wasson at House Rock Rapid, Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, June, 1971. He’s signaling  to the approaching raft.

Later, John and I did a hair-ball kayak run through Westwater Canyon, Utah, at 25,000 cfs and a self-supported kayak high-water run of the Yampa River, in Dinosaur National Monument.

John Wasson, looking at Teepee Hole, on the Yampa River, Dinosaur National Monument, Spring 1975

John Wasson, looking at Teepee Hole, on the Yampa River, Dinosaur National Monument, Spring 1975

Back to the Rio Marañon. We left camp a little after 6:30 AM, wanting to maximize daylight. Prior trips that had run into trouble at Wasson’s had had to make uncomfortable bivouacs. We caught the eddy upstream from the rapid a few minutes later.

1. Wall&TrailAboveWasson'sOct062015_9205

On the way to Wasson’s, we noticed a well-constructed trail switchbacking down the hillside to the east (center top). This trail descended from a newly constructed road (not visible from this position) that traversed the mountainside in an upstream direction.

2. TopOfWasson'sOct062015_9478

From the scout eddy. The gorge bottle-necked at the high-speed Class IV entry to Wasson’s.

From this eddy we began a long scout of the 800 meter rapid, which consisted of a Class V-VI  section sandwiched between two Class IV sections. The middle section is considered un-runnable for rafts, and we lined around it.

3. Wasson'sRock Oct062015_9479

A patterned gneiss (?) rock, seen on the scout

4. ScoutingWasson'sOct062015_9480

Scouting the Class IV initial section of Wasson’s, with (left to right) CJ, Nate and Britt

7. UnrunnableStretchWasson's Oct062015_9485

Looking down at the Class V-VI section, not yet run by rafts. The telephoto lens “stacks” the features seen, compressing the rapid and making it look shorter (and more congested) than it actually is.

15. PedroInCJ'sBoat Oct062015_9498

Pedro enters Wasson’s in CJ’s boat, as Nate stands by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pedro continues, as Barba stands by on the far shore

passing to the right of a hole

He passes to river right of a hole …

Pedro continues

and continues to the left of a mid-stream boulder. He will eddy-out around the corner.

Britt, in the top of Wasson's

Britt, in the top of Wasson’s

Movie of the section above:

Britt, in our boat at the same spot as above photo

Britt takes our boat through the second part of the initial Class IV section (that precedes the lining section).

and continues over the last drop of this section. Seen ahead is a big boulder, just one of a group of nested boulders separated from the right shore by mini-channels.

The last drop of this section. Seen ahead is a big boulder – one of a group of nested boulders that are separated from the right shore by mini-channels. Going left of this boulder would spell doom! One must eddy-out to the right of the boulder.

Movie of the section above:

The boats are collected along the river right shoreline, to the side of the group of boulders mentioned above

The beginning of the Class V-VI section, which Rocky calls the Junkpile. The boats are collected along the river right shoreline, to the inside of the group of boulders mentioned above. The two yellow boats have already been man-handled through the mini-channels.

The cataraft, seen here in the same position as in the above photo, awaits attention

The cataraft, seen here in the same position as in the above photo, waits its turn to be jockeyed through the rocks (Kathy Miller photo)

From the Class V section, looking back to the entry of Wasson's, marked with a red

Looking back upstream to the entry of Wasson’s, marked with a red “X” …

and looking downstream from the same position, towards the so-called Sieve Rock, marked with a red

and looking downstream from the same position, towards the so-called Sieve Rock, marked with a red “X”. We lined to just above the Sieve Rock.

Getting ready to line

Getting ready to line

Barba, lining

Barba, lining in the first part of this section

Lunch break in the lining section

Lunch break, after the first lining effort is completed (Britt Runyon photo)

Everyone gets into the act, in the second lined stretch

Everyone gets into the act, in the second lining effort

Karl, lining in the second section

Karl, lining in the second section

In Class IV water, Pedro heads downstream towards the Sieve Rock

The lining is complete, and it’s back to Class IV water. Pedro heads downstream towards the Sieve Rock.

Karl, at the Sieve Rock

Karl, looking across at the Sieve Rock. It’s called that because lots of water goes directly under it.

Movie of the section above:

Kathy and I are back in our boat, to run the final Class III-IV rapids of Wasson's

Downstream of Sieve Rock (and a few more Class IV spots that followed). Kathy and I have reclaimed our boat, to run the final Class IV rapids of Wasson’s. To the left of the rock below us is the “Bitch Hole”. We went to the right of the rock. (Britt Runyon photo)

Kathy and I do likewise

The view from the boat, at the same spot as in the above photo, as Kathy pulls to the right. The rapid ends not far beyond the large boulder seen downstream.

The last whitewater of Wasson's Landslide Rapid. We had arrived at Wasson's at 7 AM, and were finished at 2:20 PM

The last whitewater of Wasson’s Landslide Rapid. We had arrived at Wasson’s at 7 AM, and were finished at 2:20 PM, with no incidents.

Movie of the section above:

We had passed through Wasson’s with no incidents, and plenty of daylight left to complete the day. One of the reasons I had come on this trip was to see a Class V-VI gorge up-close and personal. Wasson’s filled the bill.

With Wasson's in our collective rear-view mirror, we delighted in the playful rapids that followed, one after another.

With Wasson’s in our collective rear-view mirror, we enjoyed the Class III rapids that continued, one after another. The scenery wasn’t bad, either.

Britt and Zacarias

Britt and Zacarias

55. DownstreamView Oct062015_9566

Good scenery

55.1 ShiningWallP1000311

Shining wall

Polished rock

Polished rock

An artistic rendering of a nice arrangement of agave plants on a polished riverside boulder

Fun Class III in a beautiful gorge

 Downstream view

Downstream view

An artistic rendering of a nice arrangement of agave plants on a polished riverside boulder

An artistic rendering of an arrangement of agave plants on a polished riverside boulder

Lush orchards

Lush and extensive orchards, with papaya and mango trees, amongst others

61. Oct062015_9582

More fun Class III in a beautiful gorge

Rupaybamba Rapid (Class III-IV) , at K. 160

Rupaybamba Rapid (Class III-IV) , at K. 160

I didn't identify the two Class III-IV rapids below Wasson's, the first of which, Rupaybamba, is located at K. 160. Perhaps this is it?

Chayalo Rapid (Class III-IV) comes close after Rupaybamba

62.2 Oct062015_9590

Another artistic rendering, in Chayalo Rapid

Beautiful granite rocks and cliff

Granite rocks and cliffs

62.5 Oct062015_9594

More granite rocks and cliffs, one minute downstream from the above photo

Farm, with mangoes, bananas and oranges

Farm, with mangoes, bananas and oranges

Downstream view to Matibamba

Downstream view to the village of Matibamba

Fluted rock

Sculpted rock

Hillside farm

Hillside farm, in the village of Matibamba

Reflections

Reflections, below Matibamba

Landslide, on river right

On river right, a recent landslide (in Spanish, it’s a “deruumbe”)

Play wave, beside a big landslide

Play wave, beside the landslide. The kayakers carry their boats back upstream.

The wave

The play wave

Waterfall

Waterfall

Reflections, upstream view

Reflections, upstream view to landslide and Matibamba

Camp #9

Camp #9

That evening we were visited by the gentleman who lived in the downstream hillside farm that can be seen beyond the landslide scar. His use of a powerful headlamp allowed us to watch his approach. He had come down to fish, and, no doubt, to see who we were. Zacarias went fishing with him, but they caught nothing. Then, for the first time on the trip, the cicadas began to “sing” … at a pitch and intensity that was way beyond anything we had ever heard before. It was startlingly loud and insistent. Tomorrow, we would run the Class V- Llamara Rapid, where Kathy and I would have some of our most exciting moments of the trip! Here is the link to the following post:

https://believesteve.org/2015/12/19/peru-the-rio-maranon-day-10-llamara-rapid/

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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5 Responses to Peru, the Rio Marañon. Day 9, Wasson’s Landslide Rapid

  1. Mundo Bravo says:

    likely enjoying this Steve

    Like

  2. Mundo Bravo says:

    really enjoying …lol

    Like

  3. wow! that was some low-water. Wasson’s is a different animal a little higher.

    Like

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