Belizean 1st D
Yesterday Califorian Greg Schwendinger and I completed what we belive is a first descent of lower Privassion Crk. from below 5 Sisters Falls to the Macal Gorge.It's possible that Cully Erdman and the Slickrock crew have done it,but until we find out otherwise wer'e claiming it.At any rate we ran it in 1st d style ,minimal beta except having gone to the Ministry of Land Resources and studying some outdated topos,locals telling us we were nuts,and that there was a 75 ft.falls just above the confluence with the Macal.Even though I am not a class 5 boater it was one of my goals in life to bag some 1st D's.It was very exciting to proceed down a river into terra incognita knowing there were challenging rapids and likely difficult portages,it more than lived up to that.
The creek was full of technical 3-4 bouler gardens and had 2 world class portages of huge falls that would make Tao Berman or Ed Lucero salivate ,or perhaps soil themselves.The first major portage we dubbed the 4 mothers was apx 200ft drop consisting of 4 big falls ,2 of which might be runnable by the elite.We had to bushwhack through dense snake infested jungle on a steep slippery slope using slings and two guys carrying one boat at a time after first scouting out the portage.The second was the 2 Brothers apx 80 ft. + some drops above them,when we arrived at the lip I thought we were in deep doodoo as the bush on the side didn't look doable and the rock formations were steep and divided by channels dropping into sieves and massive drops.Scouting proved we could climb down the rock outcrop almost to the bottom ,luckily it was a pool at the base instead of strong current.It was a rush to carry a boat,step on a small rock in mid channel just above class 7 sluice one false step was certain death.
The geology is granite the first part of the run was Privassion ,then a section on Rio On,and finally the Macal Gorge.I was relieved when we finally reached the Macal ,a known commodity,until it became evident it was running high IV-V,full of powerful hydraulics and squirrely big water crosscurrents,not my kind of boating.We had some portages of really gnarly stuff / burly holes. I was exhausted and kind of fell apart at the end getting spanked on relatively easy drops,but Greg never had to save me or my boat,just my paddle once.One flip was precariously close to the lip of Vaca Falls 5+,I WAS DAMN GLAD WHEN WE REACHED THE TAKEOUT.
We also did the Moho in southern Belize,a travertine river chock full of falls ranging from 6 to 18ft..It is the epitome of pool drop ,was a bit low so on the less constricted drops you couldn't get up much speed or purchase on your strokes and kind of pencilled into the aeriated holes completely at the mercy of the river ,which was amazingly forgiving and really fun 3 th easy 4,f'ing awesome.Have a lot of pic's will post some later.