Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chile! Rio Claro and Pucon

Well I have made it to chile after lots and lots of traveling. I cant express how much i love it down here. It is an incredibly beautiful country and has of course some of the best kayaking in the world. We arrived after 10 hours of flying, then spent ALL DAY sitting at a bus station in santiago awaiting a bus down to pucon.
Gypsy Life!!
We caught our bus and 10 more hours later we arrived. Ian picked us up and we headed to the rio turbio.
After a day and a half of rest we got our kayaks and loaded up for an amazing trip north to the Rio Claro! The claro is an incredible river in a very unique basalt gorge. Its one of the most amazing places I've ever been.

A rediculous stout at the claro.

In the deep incredible gorges of the claro.
The Garganta del diablo "throat of the devil".

Nicole Firing down the stout.
Fusilli doing the same.

A still from my helmet cam. This is one of the most unique rapids i have ever run. Its incredible in the deep gorge of the claro, at some spots it will be flat water but only 2 feet wide. Very Cool.

After the garganta, you drop into gorges that are incredibly narrow, and a couple rapids are super narrow slides.

Thinhrum running the second one.

Here is my view of the same rapid.

After spending 4 days at the Claro, I must say it is easily one of my favorite rivers. Its warm, the drops are very clean and the canyon is one of the coolest places in the world. Me encanta este rio.
Here is the video I made from our trip down to chile, and the days we spent at the rio claro.

Rio Claro, Chile W/Demshitz from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

We then headed back down south to Pucon. After some deliberation, we headed to the middle palguin.

Flying down the stout!

Here is a sweet video from our first middle palguin run. Big thanks to Immersion Research for making a sprayskirt that i dont worry about imploding.

Middle Palguin w/ Immersion Research from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

We paddled a lot of the pucon goods for the next few days, the nevado, the upper palguin,the carhuello. We then decided to pack up our stuff and head south. Stay tuned for more from chile!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fear Canyon of the Elaho

This is the final installment of Evan, Candace, and myself's trip to BC this summer. We headed for an evening run on the classic big water run in the upper squamish river valley drainage. As we bombed through some sweet rapids without scouting( Evan had done the run 3 years prior) Evan got stuck in a nasty hole and had an intense beatdown. I'll let the video tell the rest of the story.

Here is a photo of me running the last rapid on a later trip this summer. Photo by steve arns.

Fear Canyon Of the Elaho from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

Thanks to my Watershed drybag, and a great amount of pure luck, my beloved Canon 7D was returned.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tatlow Creek, BC

Tatlow is one of those creeks that i've been hearing of for a while, and although I never really knew exactly what is was like, I knew it was good. My assumptions were confirmed this summer when Evan Garcia, Candace Sanders, Steve Rogers and myself hiked for hours just to reach this beautiful place. And when I say beautiful, I mean it. Tatlow is a creek coming out of the high mountains near squamish, BC. If you know much about BC, you know its one of the wildest places around. Going up into the mountains in BC gives you that real "im out in the wilderness feeling". After hiking about 5 miles or so, on which I happened to forget water like a true unprepared gypsy, we made it to the river and drank a few CFS of water to fuel us. We were then greeted by some of the best rapids and waterfalls to be found. It was a great time even though I thought I might pass out from dehydration. Candace and Steve hiked into the creek right at the best stack of waterfalls with a great 40 ft slide in it. It was another great day on the river.

Check out this sweet Video Evan and I created from our day on the river.

Tatlow Creek, BC from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

Evan after a couple miles of flat... about to tackle the steep hike up. Which proved to be very hard without water and in the summer BC heat.

Typical abandoned BC logging roads when hiking to the creek.

Me paddling below the infamous "wall drug" rapid.

The money shot, Evan and I dropping over the 40 ft slide.

Sliding down rocks is fun.

Another amazing photo by Candace!

BC mountain wilderness at it's finest.

All shots by Candace Sanders.

This summer's BC tour was one of the most fun kayak trips ive been on. We had a great time hiking around in the mountains and doing some really quality kayaking.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ashlu Box Canyon and Browtin Lions

Its a good feeling when a very large mountain lion right outside your tent leaves. This is how I felt on one of the nights me evan, and candace spent in BC. After an intense game of go fish, we finally settled down to sleep at our campsot near mamquam falls. I awoke in the night due to my gypsy therma-rest deflating. I lay awake listening to the BC wilderness outside. After laying for sometime I noticed very faint footsteps just a few feet away. My mind ran.... Bear, no the footsteps are too soft(but still sounded prominent). It only could be one thing really; most our worst fears of being out in the wilderness is the danger of mountain lions or cougars as we call them up here in the northwest. I lay frozen to the ground. After concluding that yes there was indeed a cougar right outside my tent. I decided to simply wait it out and hope that it wouldn't attack me. After laying there still with adrenaline pumping through my veins in that oh so primitive survival mode that we all get when in danger, I waited and after several instances where i could literally here the cougar sniff my tent feet from my head the cougar had seemed to leave. I no longer heard and soft cat-like steps outside my tent. I then fell back asleep and woke with the sun shining through my tent. I got up, unzipped my tent and greeted the day. The nagging thought that a cougar was very close to my tent was confirmed when just outside my tent, and all around the camp there were very large catlike footprints. We arose, cooked some breakfast and I asked Evan and Candace if they had heard the footsteps outside our tents, they both had slept through it. It was further confirmed when Candace walked down the road, and with the sides of the road being heavily wooded and lush heard something following her. She called us and we came and threw some rocks into the woods to possibly scare it. We got back to camp, packed up our gear as fast as possible and peaced out. Close call. We then proceeded to the Squamish Adventure Center and checked flows on the internet. Candace searched cougar instances in Squamish, and found that a couple had a stand-off with a full grown cougar right exactly where we were camped. Here is the article
After escaping narrowly with our lives(exaggeration) we headed up to the Ashlu Box Canyon, one of the best kayak runs in the world in my opinion and had a great day.
All photos by Candace Sanders... some of the sickest shots eva!

Looking downstream at 50/50... one of the hardest rapids to style that ive run.

EG doing his thing and making a frothing stout look easy. As usual

Evan with one of the sickest lines i've ever seen. Its a rare occasion that 50/50 gives you a line you can really stomp out and be proud of. EG hit this one perfecto and did a massive flying boof.

A pre-stout brown keeps everyone happy and regular.

Me dropping into the froth only to be rejected and plug deep.Out of the 5 times I have run this rapid, twice I have had great lines and three times I have gotten beasted... im thinking next time i have a high chance of styling it if it were to live up to its 50/50 nature.

Finally it happened, that moment where it all went the way you could hope. The brief instance in time that makes me so happy to where I can officially say I want to be a kayaker till the day I die. I finally hit a really sweet line. Here I am leaning it over, only to bring it back and boof it out.

Airing it out- probably the best feeling around.

The next day we headed back to the Box and met up with Bryan Smith, Tim Loubier and Kevin who brought something special for us to play with.

Oh yea! the Phantom HD gold. up to 1,000 frames per second in crystal clear HD. Be sure to check out the footage once Bryan gets done color grading and editing. here is a small teaser.

Reel Water Phantom Tease from Bryan Smith on Vimeo.

We then did some Laps on 50/50 and the small drop just above the Bridge. It was a rad day here are some sweet pics.

EG with the back-boof.


Shane Robinson droppin into 50/50.

Greg bustin a fat freewheel like its his job.

Here is a Sweet Video Evan and I put together from some footage we collected on our GoPro's and my 7D.

Ashlu Box Canyon from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crystal Gorge 2010

A few weeks ago after being in Salt Lake City for the outdoor retailer show, Evan Garcia, Candace Sanders and myself made the drive back to my hometown of Carbondale, CO. The saying home is where the heart is is true, being home was great, and Evan and I were stoked to find that Crystal Gorge, one of the best kayaking runs in CO was in fact running. We loaded up the flatbed ranch truck and drove up into the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Marble,CO has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here are some amazing photos that Candace shot of another great day in the good old CO.

Looking down into the town of Marble,CO.

Evan and I above the lower gorge.

Me on Zute Chute.

EG steezin out a nice boof stomp.

Evan and I chillin in the Gorge. This is one of my favorite places of all time. The inner crystal gorge is a magical place, its very narrow and incredibly beautiful down there.

Clearly Evan feels the same way.

After Eg ran, I proceeded to gloriously catch an edge and eat shit. Made for a great photo!

Evan looking onto MIller Falls, a set of stacked frothing stout waterfalls just below the inner gorge, they have yet to be fired up.

On the drive back home we were lucky enough to hit Penny hot springs, a nice natural hot springs right on the river. Check out this sweet video from the day.

Crystal Gorge 2010 W/LiquidLogic from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Callaghan Creek Festival 2010

A few weeks ago was the Calaghan creek festival near Whistler,BC. Calaghan creek is a beautiful classic BC creek with sick rapids and beautiful scenery. The festival was to raise awareness about the fact that like most creeks in BC, the Calaghan has a hydropower license on it, and could be dammed soon. Being one of the most beautiful and fun creeks in BC, it would be a terrible thing to lose this river. Some of our most precious creeks are already lost to damming projects, like the Ashlu. We need to fight the damming of rivers like this. The festival itself was a great time. We camped right at the Calaghan takeout. The race was a huge success. There were 18 people in the race altogether and about 10 people paddled the creek that day running safety and enjoying the sunshine. There were about 20 spectators that hiked in to watch the race at the biggest waterfall. I was surprised to find out that Kurt and I won the race because there was some competition for sure. And just like any event it wouldn't be complete without a little carnage, a few swims were had and only a few kayaks were broken. Here are the final race results.

Fred Norquist - Kurt Braunlich - 16:55

Matt Kompass - Ben Hawthorne - 17:09

Mark Basso - Benjamin Hjørt - 17:23

Greg Dashper - Mikael Aubin - 17:29

Jakub Drnec - Matt Mackinnon - 18:17

Jordie Mackenzie - Bryce Shaw - 18:31

Spencer Cox - Sean Allen - 20:05

Ali Marshall - Steve Arns - 23:40

Jonas Grünewald - Leif Embertson - DNF

Cold river cooled beers were had at the takeout followed by a short awards ceremony and then talk from Jakub Drnec of the BC Creek Protection Society. We then started the party up by watching huckin huge's new flick, Haymaker. A good time was had by all, and it was all in the name of saving the calaghan. Steve Rogers shot some incredible photos of the event, check them out.

Steve Arns talking about how the race works.

The scene before the start.

Kurt and Leif chillin pre-race.

Me chillin before the start of the race.

Layin treats on the top 15 footer.

Spectators watching just a regular old spectator sport?

Jakub and Matt coming through a sweet curly rapid just below the first waterfall.

Ali and Jonas chatting about something.

Me in front with Kurt right on my tail. We were running close.

A crumpled nose. Calaghan is not super nice to vacant kayaks.

Observing the damage.

3rd place- Mark Basso and Benny Hjort

Ben Hawthorne and Matt Kompass taking second. Nice work guys.

Me and Kurt taking the victory south of the border to Bham.

Max getting his party on!

Overall the event was a great success. Everyone had fun, and i'm excited for next year. Calaghan truly is a beautiful run!