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mjpowhound 10-11-2012 09:03 AM

Small World Adventures beta?
A couple friends and I are thinking of taking a trip with SWA this winter and I wanted to get some feedback from folks who have gone on their trips. Specifically, we can't decide which trip to take and would like to hear about the different trips, especially the Intro to Creeking IV-, Winter Whitewater IV-, and the Torrents. We're all class IV Colorado boaters and spend a lot of time on Clear Creek (minus BR), the Ark (usually portage PC rapid, putting in for 3 sisters), Steven's down Poudre, etc. We've paddled Bailey (3 portages) and that was the upper limit for us; we were a little gripped. Big Thompson below the gnar, portaging the IV+, that type of stuff.

We took a class IV trip to Costa Rica a few years ago with another company and spent a week paddling mostly III- type stuff with maybe 3 class IV rapids the whole trip. We want to avoid that but also don't want to get in over our heads. I've heard great things about SWA and their website is awesome, but first hand accounts are golden.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Pilgrim O. 10-11-2012 10:04 AM

First off -- and everyone will say the same thing -- Small World is top notch and have Ecuador totally dialed in. It sounds like we are right around the same level of boater so here is my.02 cents.
As far as what trip to do your best bet is to talk to Darcy tell her what you run, what you like and she will get you sorted to the best trip. I have gone 6 times now and think I've done most of the rivers on Torrents and Mucho aqua trips. The Quijos which is the river the Lodge is on, has a bigish water feel and is mostly class III+/IV+ depending on the water level ( think numbers with plenty of water in it ) from the lodge down. It steps up above the lodge. The Cosanga which runs in to the Quijos is more "Clear creeky" but that depends on the water as well. On the other side of the hill down in Tena the water is warmer and the rivers run the gambit from very small and creeky to proper big water runs that are wide open with huge waves. Ecuador is really rain dependent in that, given it's the rain forest a storm can really change the dynamics of the river. The great thing about Small World is they've been down there so long that if the water changes they’ve always got a plan to get you on something rad.

Some of my favorite runs While down there are

Cosanga (at medium high flow) Full on from start to finish big waves mildly continuous with some great scenery

Quijos (El toro and Bon Bon section) Really fun clas IV run with fun rapids that challenge but all can be done in a play boat. Always feels like my welcome back to Ecuador run when I'm down there smile from ear to ear every time

Piatua Booftastic class IV nice warm water

Lower Misahualli Big water amazing scenery crazy portage in the middle of it. Bar at the take out

Jondachi Crystal clear water in a low volume creeky river that with some sweet boofs

Here's their link to the rivers
Ecuador kayak whitewater river rafting adventure trips January and February Small World Adventures information about ecuador

Seems Like I've talked allot and not given you as much info as I should. Like I said talk to Darcy She's great and very straight forward can totally get you where you want to be planning the trip and on the water. I think you'll have one of the best boating vacations you've ever had.

darcyg 10-11-2012 10:25 AM

Hey mjpowhound,

Darcy writing here from Small World.

I know you are looking for feedback from people OTHER than me, but while you are waiting for that to come in, here are some thoughts for you--I will just give you a run down of the 3 trips you've asked about and then that might help you decide.

One thing about Ecuador is that when a river is rated a Class IV, you can expect a full day of Class IV rapids; not mostly Class II and III with a few IV's thrown in. The rivers tend to be pretty continuous too--even the pool drop runs have very short pools and lots of rapids! So, it's just some really awesome paddling!

Winter Whitewater IV-: We run awesome rivers on this trip, but it will be a lot of III+ and easy IV. Let's say, lots of runs like the Fractions at medium to high water, Numbers at low water, Brown's Canyon. It will be probably 50% creeking and 50% bigger water runs. Just from your paddling resume, this trip probably won't push you too much.

Intro to Creeking IV-: This trip has a creeking focus (obviously) and we will run slightly more challenging runs than on the Winter Whitewater trip. If you want to learn about creeking, this trip is excellent! We'll do full river runs everyday, and do some drills on the river (like walking back up to repeat a good "practice boof"), some rescue drills, and some boat scouting, leading drills. We then offer optional dry land talks on creeking techniques, river rescue, 1st aid and anything else you are interested in. We'll also do video review and 1 on 1 "constructive criticism" to help with what you, individually, need to work on. A highlight river of the Intro to Creeking trip is the Piatua: Paddling the Piatua, Ecuador - YouTube

Torrents (IV): This is more along the lines of what Pilgrim was talking about in his reply. This will be a week full of Class IV runs with some IV+ as well. For Colorado boaters, I would say you should be comfortable on Slaughterhouse on the Roaring Fork at medium to high levels, Pine Creek and the Numbers at all levels (it's ok if you are walking Pine Creek but running everything else), Bailey with 1-3 portages, and probably Gore Canyon at lower flows with 1-2 portages. We will also run the Piatua on this trip, but it will be in the middle to on the easier end compared with the other runs. It will be 60-70% creeking and 30-40% bigger water runs.

We'll also do the Lower Cosanga and part of the Oyacachi:
Paddling the Rio Cosanga, Ecuador 2010 - YouTube
Kayaking the Rio Oyacachi, Ecuador 2010 - YouTube

On the Cosanga video, the 1st half of the video is the Upper which we might do if the water levels are high (and which we will do on both the Intro to Creeking and Winter Whitewater IV- trips) the Lower Cosanga starts at about minute: 1:25.

So, hopefully this information helps.

I'm happy to discuss this all over the phone if that might be easier on you for your decision-making.
970 309 8913

Hopefully we'll paddle with you in Ecuador this winter!


abron 10-11-2012 12:46 PM

damn I so want to go.
some year soon :/ that IV- creeking trip looks awesome....

darcyg 10-12-2012 05:11 PM

Hope to see you down there soon Abron!

~Bank 10-12-2012 05:44 PM

Darcy and Don are great instrctors. I learned alot about my bad habits and paddle placement from their constructive video analysis. They are experts, when it's comes to Ecuador and kayaking. Tell them exactly what you want and they can probably provide what you are looking for...If you want waterfalls and lots of class V contact Abe at Boof Sessions Ecuador...

hkydef 10-13-2012 09:50 AM

mjpow - Just sign up and go. You'll have a blast. I went on the Class III trip last year and had a great time. There's always a Plan A with plenty of backup plans depending on water levels. The crew down there is very good at matching abilities to rivers.

Ecuador is great. The accommodations are first class. Tena is a great paddling town. It's hard to have a bad time down there.

BTW - This is not a paid commercial endorsement.

Greg Brigham

BryanS. 10-13-2012 10:13 AM

What's the price? Website says $350 deposit but nothing about total price.

JDHOG72 10-13-2012 10:28 AM

SWA is awesome! If you want fun more comfort zone boating take the Intro to Creeking. If you guys feel like stepping it up a bit the Torrents would be a good chance to do that. The rivers there are amazing and Small World has everything dialed in so that you can enjoy and focus on boating. I was there last year and ran 6 different rivers in 7 days. It was amazing and I can't wait to go back! Feel free to give me a call if you want any more details. Highly Recommend! 97o-331-538o

darcyg 10-13-2012 10:39 AM

Hey Bryan,

Our price is $1,675 for the 7 days of boating.

Included in the price of your trip:

--7 days of kayaking

--food and lodging while you are kayaking with us
--kayak rental
--guiding from our awesome team of professionals

--transportation from Quito to our lodge at the beginning of the trip and from our lodge back to Quito at the end of the trip
--DVD with a movie and still photos from your week of paddling (DVDs are given out on all of our regular trips. On private trips you most likely will not get a DVD, since you’ll probably only have 1 guide and they won’t be able to safely guide and take video).


--airfare to Ecuador
--your other paddling gear including the paddle
--1st and last night’s hotel in Quito
--tips, drinks, souvenirs (we provide water, coffee, tea and juice but you are responsible for paying for your own sodas and alcohol)

Let me know if you have anymore questions,


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