Source Descent: June 22 – July 14

This 19 day journey will be completed as a recreational, self supported group of kayakers. We will each cover our own transport, food and gear costs (which should be quite modest).

There are many points to enter or leave the in case of emergency, either by road or donkey trail. We will have many opportunities to stock up on food at villages that we go past. The longest self-supported stretch will be 6 days, but there may be a chance to buy bananas & potatoes or other veg from some very small farms near the canyon, if we are lucky to bump into the farmer.

There will be two points at which you can join this trip, depending on your time availability / skill level:

  1. At the beginning & complete the full 18 days – June 22 (Class V Kayakers Only)
  2. On day 12 at Puente Copuma – July 7 (Suitable for Class IV Kayakers)

In theory it would be possible to join at other points (such as Rondos on day 4), but this is logistically difficult, and you would need a good map and decent Spanish get yourself there solo.

Description of Sections:

Rendezvous in Queropalca and Acclimatisation (June 23-25):

Depending on the groups need to acclimatise to higher elevations, we might arrive a few days early into Queropalca (Start point) and do some hiking / Scouting of the river. Even without the need to acclimatise, its a beautiful area to explore. From Queropalca, we will probably find some donkeys to carry the kayaks the final 10km up to Laguna Carhuacocha.

Source: Laguna Carhuacocha – Rondos (June 25 – 29)

Launching at Laguna Carhuacocha (Elevation 4100m) This section is mostly super low volume, class 2-3. There is the possibility of some harder rapids in one gorge which we should scout before entering. Most of the section is roadside and we can stock up with food in villages fairly regularly.

Upper Upper Marañon: Rondos – Chiquibamba (June 30 – July 2)

This section has one, large portage (Half a day). For the rest it is class 4 and 5, with  other portages. See this video from 14:00 mins onward for an idea of the upper sections of the Marañon. These guys took out at before Chiquibamba.

Chiquibamba – Puente Copuma (July 3 – July 7)

After Chiquibamba, it will be a committing class V section, and we will be travelling with fully loaded boats, the is no longer road access. You can read this account written by Kurt Casey in 2000, describing what would be our days 7-12. Everyone wanting to come on this section must be completely confident and competent to run class V with a loaded boat. It will be physically and mentally demanding with numerous portages and some sections of canyon.

Upper Grand Canyon: Puente Copuma – Chagual (July 7 – 14)

This section is mostly drop pool with many class III & IV, with a couple class V rapids which are all portageable. There are a few long, flat sections too. The most challenging part will be a half day portage around Wasson’s landslide (much easier with kayaks only, rafts generally take 1.5 days to do the portage). We will stop along the way to enjoy some natural riverside hot springs and hikes up some of the side canyons. We may take one or two small rafts on this section.

For anyone participating in the July 18 Paddling with Purpose journey, we will have a few days to get back to Trujillo, organise gear, finalise supplies and logistics and hopefully relax on a beach somewhere too.

Itinerary – How it all fits together.

The distances and speeds I have worked out are reasonably conservative. If we are feeling pressed/ have difficulties, there are a number of rest days which will help absorb this so that we can take a slower pace. There is a good chance we will be moving at a faster pace than this, in which case we can either finish earlier, or spend more time exploring/enjoying these places as we go down.

Date  What / Where Destination km Day
June 22 Go to Queropalca
June 23 Hike/ Scout/ Acclimatise (Optional)
June 24 Hike/ Scout/ Acclimatise (Optional)
June 25 Donkeys to Caruachocha – Paddle Carhuacocha- Queropalca (10km Paddle) 10 1
June 26 Queropalca – Santa Rosa (12km) (Maybe need to pre-scout gorge section. 23 2
June 27 Santa Rosa – Termales(Banos) 16km (Get food in Banos to last until Chuiquibamba) 38 3
June 28 Termales- Big Portage (15km Paddle, 1km-6hrs Portage) 50/ 0 4
June 29 Rest Day / Extra Day 0 5
June 30 Portage-Obras (Camp 3) (29km) 36 6
July 1 Obras-Morca (32km) 68 7
July 2 Morca – Chuquibamba (Restock Food) (Half Day & Rest) 78 8
July 3 Camp before Big Mama (3 hr Portage) Or if feeling good proceed to camp after. 95 9
July 4 Camp before narrows 105 10
July 5 Camp 125 125 11
July 6 Rest Day/ Restock/ Meet up with others in town near Puchka 0 12
July 7 Or Arrive Putchka if slower than expected. Camp near hike? 48/58 13
July 8 Paddle/hike 110 14
July 9 Short Day: Do hike @ 117 Camp & Rest Afternoon in Termales 134 15
July 10 Paddle, Do Wassons Portage, Camp After 162 16
July 11 Extra day, Rest day or use to make other days shorter/ slow pace 17
July 12 Camp 190, Options for hikes through day 190 18
July 13 Chagual (Short day, or spend time resting earlier on) 207 19
July 14 In Transit – Chagual to Trujillo

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