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Trip report: Kayaking River Mendoza

Date: Dec 31, 1997
Paddlers: Fred, Mathias, Sean
Craft: Self-support kayaks
River: Mendoza, Argentina

After we returned to Mendoza from the defeat on Aconcagua we had almost a week to spend in this paradise city. So we looked into what kind of actionbased things we could satify our continous adrenalin need with. We found the tourist office and we eventually found ourselves on a bus going back into the Andes up the Mendoza river. We were heading for Argentina Rafting Center (see below) where we had been promised to be able to rent 3 kayaks and get transported up the river and to be picked up afterwards.

Our plan was to jump into each of our kayaks and then with Fred as our super instructor float down the little river. This nice idylic picture was not going to be the reality though. We went six people: Fred, Martin - the leader of the kayking gang and two of his assistents - all of them hardcore kayak-dudes and then Sean and I totally rookies in the world of whitewater. Hmmm, we arrived at the drop-down point and the river suddenly looked a bit bigger and fierce than it had looked from the road. Sean and I looked a each other and thought - what the hell, we'll be fine.

ARGENTINA RAFTING

Tel/fax 062482037 Potrerilllos (5549) - Mendoza

I dropped myself into the river and tried to get a bit of confidence with my RPM dagger. The rest soon followed and Sean went directly into the streamy part and tilted in the first wave - whoops, preasure from the very start. I formed the backtroop together with our man for the day Martin himself. He guided me through the starting crux which Sean had just gone into and I managed - just - to paddle myself through it. But holy smoke this was actionpacked from the very start.

As we progressed down the river I did manage to tip over as well and this was pretty f***ing desperate stuff - wild water all over and just possible to get a breath of air. Nasty! Luckily we where surrounded by our 4 supporters so we could hang on to their kayaks while they paddled us into shore.

According to Fred the river had quite a good flow but was much less technical than his usual Idaho rivers some 20.000 kilometers away. I was very surprised by the speed of this stuff though - you really needed to be on top of things to act quickly and do what people told you to do. Only once it seemed like I was getting in to some really serious trouble as I was approching a great big swirl (Fred and the experts called it a hole which I now realize what is!) and I could just hear Fred and Martin shouting Get the Hell out of there, and I just managed to avoid it.

Our trip ended a couple of hours later, and we finished the day in usual style on a local baby-football table. In the evening we went back into Mendoza and the party carried on. [Read more about Mendoza and our trip on the full trip report in here]


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