18 二月 2014

The unexplored rivers of Michoacan

Extreme kayaker and Suunto athlete Ciarán Heurteau recently returned from a trip to Mexico where he was paddling unexplored rivers in the Michoacan state. In his own words below, he gives the lowdown on his epic adventure.

"Mexico’s Veracruz state is fast becoming the go-to destination for extreme kayakers — it was time for us to explore new territories in the country.

After four years of research Joel Kowalski from Canada got together some of the best kayakers to open new rivers in the neighboring Michoacan state. The terrain there is similar to Veracruz and so promised to be a new kayaking paradise.

Ciarán, Hoyo Del AireThe rivers took us to some very remote spots. Scouting every section of the Hoyo Del Aire took us two days, but only six hours to descend on the third day.

For Rio Cajones we had to rappel down an 80 ft (24 m) canyon with our kayaks dangling between our legs. At the bottom we were surrounded by vertical cliffs. There was no way to portage around the next four waterfalls. We were fully committed for the next 300 m!

One of the rivers we had planned to paddle was good to go, but the take-out was very uncertain. Locals told us to avoid it because we could stumble upon drug cartels and that wouldn't end up too good for us if they saw us crossing their land. So we had to pull out.

We had rough ideas on the distances we'd have to paddle and what we might run into, but with the Suunto Ambit around my wrist I was able to say when we would face a rapid or waterfall or how long we would have until the take-out.

After each trip I loaded all the data into Movescount and was then able to pin-point exactly where we'd been. I was very happy with the battery. I was using the GPS and heart rate between 8 and 10 hours a day and still had battery left at the end of the day.

It was an amazing feeling to know that we were the first ones to see these places and countless waterfalls and challenging rapids."

Check out Ciarán’s kayaking moves in Mexico:

Rio Cahones
Length: 12,48 km
Vertical drop: 205 m

Upper Hoyo Del Aire
Length: 4,92 km
Vertical drop: 133 m (786-653 m)

Lower Hoyo Del Aire
Length: 5,84 km
Vertical drop: 124 m (634-510 m)

Ciarán, Michoacan


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