Southern Alps due14 - Part Tre - Ending the Trip

Mister Daniel Brasuell ready for some more boating                 pic.: Jürgen Maier
Swizz way of shuttling ;)             pic.: Jürgen Maier
After beginning our stay in Ticino with running the rivergod Verzasca (if u haven`t already, read the last trip report...) it was time for the Ribo. For these next runs we were joined by Thomas Dimke, Sebastian Betz and Jonas Grünewald to add some german flavor to the group. The alps are not very famous for its higher waterfalls and slides but the Ribo Falls are the exception to the rule. It is a clean slide and pretty easy to run at every level but still kind of intimidating if you are not used to run drops that have this kind of size.
Emme having a sweet line           pic.: Harald Glanz
GlanzBros. doing the same, same            pic.: Jürgen Maier & Harald Glanz
Don`t forget that the Ribo doesn`t only consist of these falls but is a very good run as a whole. The little walled in gorge right at Vergletto is a place to take care and you shouldn't miss the takeout after the road bridge since the section down to the Isorno is more Lämmler style, so probably not that interesting for people that don`t like boat-supported canyoning tours ;)
The next day we made our way up into the Rovana valley. The Rovana river is famous for a short stretch called "California Section" but also the rest of the river is pretty nice. At put in you can carry your boats up to the top of the entry gorge which adds some nice whitewater to start the day.

Sebastian & Jonas enjoy the last gorge of Rovana          pic.: Reiner Glanz
After the normal put-in (right at the waterfall that plunges in from the right) you should take a little care, as there is a small whole which is sometimes overseen (and not so "small" at higher levels) and can be reason for some carnage ;)

Yoshi just before the California Section   pic.: Harald Glanz

Jonas charging hard through California           pic.: Harald Glanz
There are two take-outs possible. The first one is right after the first must-run at the first road bridge. If you keep going you will have to run a second must-run gorge (first Rovana picture with Sebastian and Jonas). It is possible to portage the entrance at some levels but this second gorge is classic class V so if you're not sure you can scout at an old roman bridge before putting on the river. Make sure to walk out on river right about 150m after this gorge. Don`t miss the takeout as you can see the reason from the road bridge below ;)

Emme just before the first road bridge over the Rovana           pic.: Reiner Glanz
Levels were dropping so we figured that the levels were too low for Bavona and Isorno. We ran a short class IV stretch on the Moesa and did some more laps on lower Verzasca, before starting to make our way south and finally home. While having two more days to spend, we went up the Melezza valley to run the upper Melezza gorge and do a little park and huck at the Loana waterfalls. The Melezza is a really beautiful Class IV to V stretch. Not sure if its true, but after taking out on the lake some fishermen said that it is not allowed to run it so I would be happy for any info...
Wallride in the beautiful upper Melezza gorge          pics.: Yoshi Takahashi & Harald Glanz

The Melezza is kinda special because she carves her way through limestone and then granite in one stretch. If you have higher levels and run the upper Waterfall at Re (walk down at the little cemetery at the eastern side of Re) you would actually add some conglomerate to the list. You should probably take care at the beginning of the granite gorge at high levels because portaging could get very difficult (possible to scout a little right at a road tunnel high above the river).

David and Reiner in the first drops of upper Melezza           pics.: Jürgen Maier

The Cascada de Loana  marks the end of the Loana whitewater stretch that can be run at higher levels. Its a really nice 6m waterfall followed by an ugly slot and ended with the usually run high slide. Our level was really low but since we were there Daniel Yoshi and myself decided we might as well do something stupid and stone it...

Reiner, Daniel and Yoshi on a low water Loana experience           pics.: Jürgen Maier

The last river of our trip was the lower Cannobino. We had a very low level and three guys knew the gorge so it was a very fun and low stress experience. The big pool after you exit this walled-in gorge marked the end of our two week roadtrip through the southern Alps. Even though we were a very big group with different interests, paddling skills and mindsets I was really surprised how well this worked. Can`t wait to see ya guys again ;)
Americans eating           pic.: Harald Glanz

Yoshi and Kevin enjoying the last evening           pic.: Jürgen Maier
As allways I want to thank Liquidlogic Kayaks, Alpin Action and Hf Paddlesports for their support!!

Southern Alps due14 - Part Due - Verzasca

Camping on the river            pic.: Jürgen Maier

What better place to start a kayaking trip to Ticino than the mighty Verzasca River. We arrived at the camp in Sonogno late at night and the next morning the group started at the put in of middle Verzasca. We were a big international group again and few of us knew the river so we took our time and enjoyed a beautiful day on the river.

warm and cosy...         pic.: Harald Glanz
We didn`t take any pictures on middle Verzasca since most of it is class 3-4 boulder gardens so scouting is not that necessary.  The first bigger bedrock-slide marks the end of that middle stretch and difficulties raise with  Lucifers Slide which follows after about 500m.
Daniel, Emme and Evans enjoying the first bigger slide that marks the end of Middle Verzasca          
pics.: Reiner Glanz
Reiner & Lorenz scouting Lucifers Slide   pic.: Jürgen Maier
Lucifers is a fun drop and its hard to paddle it the same way more than once. Most of us ran it in the main channel, but Harald decided to run it on the right and showed that this is probably the more controlled and elegant line ;)  
David Maurier on the main line      pic.: Reiner Glanz
Lorenz & Diane "Action Jackson" on Lucifers   pics.: Jürgen Maier and Harald Glanz
Joshi having a perfect line and Daniel bleeding on my beauty after having a not so perfect one ;) 
pics.: Jürgen Maier & Reiner Glanz
After Lucifers follows the waterfall which has been run at different levels and gets run more regularly lately, There is a big cave behind the falls and another pocket one on the right so if you decide to run it make sure to set good safety in case things go wrong. We all decided to portage without much discussion ;)

Still missing the big one - maybe next time    pic.: Reiner Glanz

Right after the waterfall the classic corkscrew rapid marks the beginning of the lower Verzasca and is probably one of the most photographed kayaking images in the alps.
On this lower section we did multiple evening runs which explains some of the different exposure on the images.

Jürgen and Kevin on the Verzasca classic shot     pics.: Harald Glanz and Jürgen Maier
Pay attention in the little gorge after the corkscrew since there is some dangerous spots in the manky rapid before you reach the Lavertezzo bridge. After the river bends to the right there is a series of slides following. You can run the first one through the eddy all on the left (sneakline) or on the right (scout!). The second slide has a dangerous spot on the right end so make sure you end up in the middle or left. 
Jürgen on the second slide after Lavertezzo         pic.: Reiner Glanz

After that a series of drops and cataracts lead up to the biggest drop of lower Verzasca, the Husarenritt. For myself this rapid is very special because I wanted to run it for a very long time and finally did on this trip. The line is actually pretty easy but it looks really consequential if you blow it.

Evening run on lower Verzasca before the big one        pic.: Jürgen Maier
Scouting Husarenritt         pic.: Jürgen Meier
Reiner and Jürgen finally firing it up on the same drop           pics.: Harald Glanz

So after the high footbridge there are two longer rapids (the second one is worth a scout if you`re not sure) that lead into the last drops. Take care of the first left eddy in the entrance of the very last rapid. At some waterlevels you might end up in there and can`t get out without some help from the shore. Thanks Jonas ;)

Jürgen, Harald and Reiner on the last drops of lower Verzasca   pics.: Jürgen Maier and Reiner Glanz

 Daniel Brasuell made a very nice video of this Verzasca run:

This is the link to the waterlevels of the river in Lavertezzo, our pictures show a level between 17 and 25 cumecs...
So this was only our first day of Swizz paddling. We spent our next week in this area so wait for the next writeup on the Ribo, Rovana, Melezza and Cannobino rivers.
We are also working on our video right now, so maybe it will be done soon ;)
As always big thanks to: Liquidlogic Kayaks, Alpin Action in Trnovo/Slovenia, HF Paddlesports

Southern Alps due14 - Part uno

The beautiful village of Fondo, Piemonte, Italy   pic.:Jürgen Maier
Emme, Daniel, Thomas, Reiner, Jürgen, Kevin, Harald, Hannah & Moritz,
Sebastian, Yoshi, David, Diane
After our Trip to California last year the idea came up, that Diane Gaydos and Daniel Brasuell, who gave us a warm welcome in their home, would join us for some kayaking in the Italian and Swiss alps this year. And, since the snowpack in California reached historic lows this year they really came over.

They were joined by David Maurier, Lara Farrell, Yoshihiro Takahashi, Kevin Smith and Emme King. Together with Lorenz Holzer, Jürgen Maier, Lukas Seitner, Harald Glanz and myself and occasionally joining German friends Jonas Grünewald, Sebastian Betz, Thomas Dimke and Klaus Krupka, so we built up to a really huge group.

We started our trip off in the beautiful valley of the Sesia river where we ran the Lower Sermenza, the Egua, Gronda/Sorba and Sesia.

So first up was the Egua River, you might call it a skatepark for kayaking...

Luki on the first Falls  pic.: Jürgen Maier

Lukas, Reiner & Daniel Brasuell on the same drop  pics.: Jürgen Maier

Sweet Boof,  pic.: Jürgen Maier

Harald before and after the Bridge, pics.: Jürgen Maier & Yoshi Takahashi


Reiner & Harald just before the takeout                                      pics.: Yoshi Takahashi & Jürgen Maier

Lorenz Holzer, Reiner and Jürgen taking on the last drop of the Egua    pics.: Jürgen Maier, Lukas Seitner

 After the Egua we stopped for a quick run on Gronda, which was very low, and had some fun running the "triple combo" on the Sorba.

Reiner, Lorenz and Harald enjoy low water creeking on Gronda     pic.: Jürgen Maier


Having fun on the triple Combo on the Sorba         pics.: Jürgen Maier

Our next stop was the area around Ivrea. This Mountains Feature some of the best whitewater south of the alps. Rivers like the Chiusella, Soana, Stura di Ala and Ayasse are as good as it gets. Unfortunatly the weather wasn`t so good so we didn`t take as many pictures.

Lukas Seitner and Lorenz on the last boof on the Chiusella   pic.: Jürgen Maier
(there is a really nice section after that drop if the water is high)

Lorenz and Reiner enjoy the bouldergardens of the Soana            pic.: Harald Glanz

The Ayasse was too high for the classic sections too, so Lorenz and Reiner decided to run a short strech above Pontboset that Harald and Reiner ran a few years back. Turned out that this little stretch was really pushy too, sometimes guessing on waterlevels can be scetchy ;) So we ran some stuff at the start and had to portage some of the middle section and all bigger features...

Lorenz and Reiner on the last section of the upper Ayasse   pic.: Jürgen Maier

After this first few days we decided to change our base to Ticino and spend some time in beautiful southern Switzerland where rivers are green and everything is expensive as hell ;).

As always a big THANK YOU to: Liquidlogic Kayaks, Alpin Action - Trnovo/Slovenia, Hf Safety, Franz Puckl - Kanuschule Kitzalp