Quite an international crew met up at the El Dorado Airport, in Bogotá, this fall. Kiwis Pet Lodge and Sam Rickets, and Canadian Dan Dunn headed north to enjoy the classics around San Guil: the Mogoticos and its beautiful slides and the Suarez and it’s monster waves. Meanwhile, Frenchies Morgan Arnaud and Jules Domine teamed up with Aussie Lachie Carrcher on an exploratory mission of the remote steep creeks of the upper Magdalena watershed.
Everyone reunited for a full run of the Suarez and what should have taken three days took six due to super high water. The full team also opened up the steep but clean boof paradise of the Cuisiana, in the Sogamoso area. Splitting again, the two Frenchies took off on a 15-day trip exploring the mountain valleys around Sogamoso. There they encountered beautiful multi-days with powerful rivers flowing through dark canyons and steep jungle until a run-in with Dengue fever sent the team running back to civilization.
Lastly, the crew headed to the Samara Valley in the newly-accessible Medellin area. They started on the Corona, a typical Colombian run with many steep drops. The Corona then became the Caldera, which was an extremely exciting but stressful first D with 50 cumecs rushing through an amazing succession of pool-drop slides and falls. Forty kilometers downstream of all that action, the Caldera becomes the Samana, with incredibly powerful, clean whitewater cutting straight through the mountains.
Most of the Samana is class 4, but the bottom five kilometers steepens up to become class 5, in some ways like a shorter and warmer Stikine! This valley has long been know to have good whitewater, but only this year did the area became safe enough to explore. Colombia is a multi-day paradise, where the country, the weather and the people create a unique atmosphere for living and boating!