Salto y Saltos: Days 2-3 of Chile Adventures

by Kyle Thomas on February 2, 2015

Paddling in Chile started on day 2 at the Siete Tazas section of the Rio Claro.  As discussed in the previous blog, Radal Siete Tazas National Park is a magnificent landscape!  The first day was spent recovering from jet lag, setting up camp, and forming a gameplan for the next day.  On day 2, Tracy, Chris from H2O Dreams, and I were ready to go!

Tracy and I scouting Siete Tazas of the Rio Claro Tracy and I scouting Siete Tazas of the Rio Claro

 

The Siete Tazas section of the Rio Claro is a fine introduction to Chilean whitewater.  Big. Clean. Waterfalls.  First things first, shuttle is simple!  We loaded up our gear at the campsite, drove a little ways down a dirt road, and parked at the entrance to Radal Siete Tazas National Park.  The rest of the journey would be done on foot.  To scout the final two drops of Siete Tazas, we hiked down a few flights of well-crafted staircases to a scenic overlook (see photo above).  After seeing these two clean drops, our group of southeasterners were ready to get our boof on!

To travel to the put-in for Siete Tazas, we needed to backtrack a little ways to a dirt hiking trail hidden behind a fancy wooden walkway snaking through the park.  A brief jaunt over to the put-in trailhead, and the fun truly began!  The put-in trail is very steep and suffering from erosion.  This situation ended up being a wonderful learning opportunity for our group, leading to discussions about gear necessary for safely navigating this trail, methods for rappelling boats, and ways to communicate from a distance without eye contact.

Useful tips:

  • Each person should carry multiple throw ropes and carabiners
  • Know how to properly use rope and carabiners
  • Learn to set up a Munter Hitch
  • Communication should be clear and consistent
  • Rope burn hurts!
  • Bring sturdy gloves (refer to line above)

After an extended period of time, our group and gear finally made it down to the put-in.   A few sips of water and photo opportunities later, we were ready to seal launch in to the Rio Claro.  The put-in for Siete Tazas is breathtaking!  Smooth gorge walls, crystal clear water, and a seal launch directly above the first drop.

Video of Kyle paddling Siete Tazas of the Rio Claro

As you can see in the video above, the first rapid is an excellent way to start the day!  A ski-jump style rapid offering plenty of speed and air time before taking a sharp turn to the left.  Siete Tazas mellows out a bit for the next few rapids and then a series of horizon lines appear with magnificent eddies with overhanging domes of rock to add to the ambiance of the run.  The final two drops offer a perfect training ground for boofing, stomping, or plugging waterfalls.

Product Spotlight for Day 2-3:  Immersion Research Kling-On Empire Sprayskirt (MSRP $220)

Taking a bungee-style sprayskirt to a waterfall section is a crazy idea.  Right?  Before heading down to Chile, I chatted with some of the fine folks at Immersion Research about their most recent sprayskirt designs.  The Royale had been getting a lot of attention, but I was intrigued by the Kling-On Empire.  A high-end bungee-style sprayskirt design.  Immersion Research has long been known for producing implosion-resistant designs, so I decided to test the Kling-On Empire on Chilean stouts.

Preparing for the final waterfall at Siete Tazas

Preparing for the final waterfall at Siete Tazas

Whether I was plugging a 20 footer, stomping it down, or just beating it up on the put-in trail, the IR Kling-On Empire remained tough and trustworthy.  The Kling-On Empire is reinforced with high thread-count Kevlar™ in high wear areas and a protective neoprene apron around the edge.  It did not implode, it kept me safe, and it kept me dry.  Let me remind you, the Kling-On Empire is a bungee-style skirt.  It is easy to attach to the cockpit rim.  It was easy to detach from the cockpit rim when needed.  It holds your cockpit rim like a glove when needed.  I trust it in the locations that I would usually bring a rand-style spray skirt to, and it is much more user-friendly than comparable rand-style designs.

Interested in a more thorough write-up about the Immersion Research Kling-On Empire?  Check out the full review.

Video, photos, and words by Kyle Thomas, Effort Inc.

Kyle Thomas

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