SierraRios Marañon trip: Jun4 launch details

Marañon Jun4 trip details (last update 30Jun2014)

We had a great trip that launched Jun4 with some notable events, including a film crew from Cuarto Poder joining for 4 days past Balsas. Their segment aired on national Peruvian TV on Jun29: see link to view the 15-minute report online. We had hot days and cool nights down to Balsas and then pretty warm nights. There were a few light sprinkles of rain in the main Grand Canyon section but we never had to put the tarp up in camp over the kitchen. The portage at Wasson's took a little over a day - we camped there on the rocks. While lining a raft there just before dark a line broke and the raft got away. Due to the darkness it could not be chased. It was found 3 days later 30 km downstream, with some parts damaged and all contents strewn about and beers drunk. On the entire trip we only had one raft flip (in Shingate rapid just past Tupén Grande). Due to recent publicity about killing folks to get organs for transplantations, there is more suspicion against white folks, so it was not wise to venture farther past Montenegro in the Jungle Pongos section, so the trip ended a day early.

Below is more info that has yet to be updated on the trip (generally pre-trip info):

The main rendezvous was in Huaraz on Jun3. You can see trip summaries and some photos from the latest two trips (Sep28-Oct27, and Jan16-Feb12) at: SEP28, and JAN16. There are links on the main MARAÑON webpage as well. Note that in the last few days I updated the Marañon webpage to clearly discuss the different sections of the river as well as the dangers and difficulties of the Inner Gorge section with the class Vs. Be sure to explore all links that are available from the webpage. Note that although we met suspicious residents in Mendán and Yupicusa on the SEP28 trip, we received warm welcomes on the JAN16 trip, and we should be warmly welcomed this time as well. We continue to have the correct permissions from the Awajún to Imacita.  
Most information you need to know about the trip can be found on the main Marañon webpage. In general, everyone will be helping out on the trip with chores. A list of items you should plan to pack can be found at the WHAT TO PACK page (also found as a link on the left column of the main webpage) - basically your own camping gear and some or all of your own personal paddling gear (PFD, jacket, helmet, skirt, throw-bag).  Many items are available to rent (see list at end of this page) if you'd like to minimize what you travel with. Just let me know if you'rd like to reserve some of those items. [Note that a kayak and paddle can be reserved by anyone kayaking; this is included in the contribution.]   

If you have any particular medical problems, food restrictions, or other requests that I and trip leaders/food planners should be aware of, please let me know.  Please also indicate if you're a coffee drinker and what canned beverages you prefer (beer, Coke, Sprite, etc). You can see the typical foods we bring on the trip at the Foods/Alcohol/Water page.   For most of the trip we'll provide 1 can of beverage per day. We will resupply these at Chagual and Balsas, so just let me know your general selection and I'll pick up. We can bring more than 1 can/day/person on this trip even from the start, but note that we'll be resupplying at Chagual/Vijus (~day 10) at which point you can pick up extra beer for yourself, for instance.  

Before the trip and when I'm in Peru I will still be accessing email regularly, so you can contact me that way. You also can contact me by phone - when I'm in Peru it's best to call me on my Peruvian cell phone. I will be doing kayak descents from May15-May31 in Peru (Colca, Cotahuasi, and maybe Pampas) so there might be a few days lapse before a reply. I also put Julio's cell number below. We will have a satellite phone on the trip. It is possible for folks to send text messages to you/us at the satellite phone number below:

Rocky cell (Peru): 971 625 179  
Rocky cell (USA):  206-484-5820
Rocky satellite phone (anywhere): 011-870-76 820


This trip is in June, which is well into the dry season. There is a slight dip in temperatures Jun-Sep due to the austral winter. Expect warm to hot days and cool evenings on the Upper section: avg. hi 30oC; avg low 12oC (or 86oF/54oF), and hot days and warm evenings on the Middle and Lower sections: avg hi 32oC; avg low 20oF (or 90oF/68oF). The water temp will generally be cool initially 18oC (65oF) but warming farther down 22oC (72oF). I find that a drytop is nice for kayaking. Rafters do not get very wet but a paddle jacket is still a good idea for cooler temperatures. I have some extras that you may consider renting. Always consider that you're near the equator and should protect yourself from sun.

In June, the water levels in the Marañon are generally stable and dropping. Averages at Balsas in early June are ~300 cms (10000 cfs) but by late June they are ~180 cms (6000 cfs). These are ideal manageble lower levels. The water will generally be clear as there is little rain during this time, but some tributaries can still sully it a bit. Although there may be some rain sprinkles or a shower, in general this will be a very dry trip until the jungle pongos. The slightly higher water levels in June (compared to July to September) should make the two toughest rapids  [Wasson's Landslide; class V; and Llamara; class V-] easier to get through.    

If someone is not feeling comfortable on the river in the Upper section in the first ~7 days, it is possible to skip the Inner Gorge section by getting a ride up from Huchus to Chagual. You'd miss ~3 days on the river, but have a different kind of experience. It is possible on any trip that the trip leader mandate a person to skip this section depending on their performance and comfort level. However, we can usually accommodate even some class III kayakers on the rafts. Although taking a ride from Huchus (km 127) to Chagual (km 206) is preferred way to skip the Inner Gorge, you can also get a ride at  Puente Jitaraxan  (km 102) or by hiking up out of canyon just before Wasson's (km 154) to Chilia where buses regularly depart to Chagual. The Middle and Lower sections from Chagual down are considerably easier than the Inner Gorge with nothing over class IV. 

 We will be going through the toughest and most notorious rapid on the raftable section of the Marañon, a class V (or V+) rapid called Wasson's Landslide. This rapid of ~300 m length provides a serious challenge with the steep drops around a boulder garden and then a severe danger at the end since >1/2 the river goes into a sieve. This danger has prompted me on the previous two trips to request participants to portage some bags through while I and the other guides (and those who are comfortable helping) portage/line the rafts through. I have run kayaks through most or all of the rapid, as it's easier to stay far RR in the lower part.  I expect at the June flows we'll have that the rapid is a bit easier to get the rafts through.  We will have a plan that I'll go over the night before we get to Wasson's, but basically it will probably involve getting going very early to the rapid, stopping to portage bags while everyone scouts the section, kayakers portaging part/all, and then Julio and/or I running the rafts through an upper part and Julio, I and others lining the other parts. I may ask some of the better kayakers to be in the water for safety if and when we run some rafts in parts.  We then will line the rafts down the lower part, which may involve about 3 stations of people to pass it off and get it down past the final big boulder (with sieve) at the end.  After the lining, there are two more class IVs just past it and then more action farther down in the Inner Gorge.  We can expect to take most of the day getting through Wasson's, though I hope it will be a shorter length of time. PLEASE BE FOREWARNED. This is a difficult section of river.  If you do not think you will be comfortable walking over the boulders around this rapid and possibly portaging your kayak, you will have the option to catch rides around the Inner Gorge section. Also note that after Wasson's there is another easy class V rapid (Llamara) about 10 km downstream, which we'll get to the following day, but this one I expect to be runnable in the rafts (and kayaks, though some of you may choose to portage).

The official trip rendezvous point will be Huaraz, a charming colonial city high in the Andes with lots to offer the adventurous traveller. Huaraz is a major destination of the Andes for trekkers and climbers, as it lies just below the highest tropical mountains in the world, including Huascarán. It also has Río Santa running through it, a fun class III-IV river. You could easily spend several days doing some short hikes, a trek, or kayaking Ríos Santa or Puchka. Kayaking Ríos Santa or Puchka have the benefit that you'll see how the kayak and everything fits you before the long expedition (so have the opportunity to possibly select something more appropriate).  

Although you can arrive as early as you wish, everyone joining the expedition from the start should be in Huaraz on June 3, while those of you helping pack/arrange food and gear should be there June 2. Currently nearly all the equipment is based in Huaraz, so kayaks will be available to use on Río Santa. At the end of this June trip, however, the gear will be sent to Trujillo (to be used for a group in September planning to launch at Chagual).  You might consider doing several days trekking before the trip, such as up to the Cordillera Huayhuash (one of the principal sources of the Amazon), and kayaking Ríos Santa/Puchka (class III-IV).

To get to Huaraz from Lima, you can fly (1 hr) or take a bus (8 hr).  Flights are only operated by LCPeru and generally depart early in the morning (e.g., 5:30am and 7:00am, but on June3 it is at 8:25 am) and cost a total of ~$121.  There are two primary bus companies servicing Huaraz with ~8 hr rides ($11-32). Price differences reflect the seat type: regular economico seats, semi-reclining semi-cama seats, and sometimes full-reclining cama seats. Note that many buses have mixed economico and semi-cama seats; others may have all cama seats. Click the links below to see schedules:

Movil Tours (Paseo de la República 749, La Victoria; tel: 332-0004) has departures throughout day: e.g., 8:00am, 9:40am, 10:10am, 10:30am; 1:00pm, 9:40pm, 10:30pm; [40NS for economico seat; 60NS-80NS VIP semi-cama o cama; not all buses have all types of seats - be sure to check each seat type for the departure times available]. The above address is their central station; however, if planning to go to the station directly from the airport, the taxi driver might suggest that you go to their peripheral station in Lima that is a stop enroute to Huaraz - and a bit closer to the airport (near Tomás Valle and the Panamericana).
Cruz del Sur (Javier Prado & Arriola) has departures usually 11:00am and 10:30pm from Javier Prado; $11-32 depending on seat type 

If you're going by bus, you generally can buy your ticket at the bus stations, which are close to the center of Lima. It's best to arrive >1 hr prior to departure. It's possible to purchase your ticket and reserve your seat online, but sometimes the online sites won't process foreign credit cards well. If you are going from the airport to the bus terminal, it should cost about a 40NS taxi ride ($15) taxi ride. All taxi drivers know these streets and bus terminals.  

In Huaraz, our main rendezvous hostel will be at Mi Casa ("My House") run by Patty Ames, located at Avenida 27 de noviembre 773, a few blocks from the plaza and 1.1 km from the Movil Tours bus stop (see map) [tel: 051-43-423375; email:]. The gear is stored there, and this is where the guides will be staying and organizing some gear/food. If you'd like to stay there, double rooms with two beds cost 80NS ($29) with breakfast, or 70NS ($25) without breakfast. Mi Casa has 13 beds, most in double rooms (two beds in a room). Since some of you may be arriving earlier than others and some of you may decide to stay elsewhere, you should send Patty an email to reserve your room - or if you're solo but would like to share a room with someone, let me know and I'll get you together with someone else from our group. Each person is responsible for paying Patty for their room. There are other accommodation options - see list here. If you stay somewhere else, just know that we will be departing from Mi Casa at 7:00 am on June 4, so if be at Mi Casa then.

Before we depart for the river, you can leave a bag (such as a suitcase) to be sent to Lima to be waiting for you after the expedition - or alternatively sent to Bagua where you can pick up when you get off the river. There is a small fee for this transport of a package (encomienda), which you pay when you pick up.

All folks will be flying into Lima and you might want to spend a day there checking it out. You can find general info about Lima on the Lonely Planet website (scroll lower on this site for links to essential info like money, getting around, etc). You can get money in ATMs - The currency of Peru is the nuevo sol (NS) with a current exchange rate of ~2.7 NS/dollar. There are ATMs in the airport (~2.7 NS/dollar but a fee to use) as well as money changers (usually ~2.6 NS/dollar or 5% surcharge). You'll be leaving the airport for somewhere like a hotel in Miraflores, the centro, or the bus to Huaraz. It's usually a 50NS ($20USD) taxi ride to Miraflores, but can be $15USD if you walk outside the airport lot and catch a taxi on the street. It's a bit less ($15USD) to the centro (downtown). Miraflores is a bit far from the airport but one of the nicer parts of town to stay in and not too far from the central bus stations to Huaraz.  Nice things to do in Miraflores are to run/walk near the beach or on the cliffs above (maybe paraglide), walk around the center parks, and visit Huaca Pucllana ruins (pre-Inca). You can also consider a visit to the centro with its cathedrals, catecombs, and remains of Pizarro.  Most things there are within walking distance - or taxis can be hired.  You'll have to book your own accommodations in Lima/Miraflores. I put some options below:  

There are various options of hotels/hostels in Miraflores.  You can check out various MIRAFLORES HOTELS/HOSTELS with private rooms. A reasonably priced one is Friend's House (email them at friends ). Other links to check: ; HOSTEL.COM ; LonelyPlanet Hitchhiker's Hostel  ; Albergue Miraflores 

Jun3 rendezvous in Huaraz
Jun4 Day1 ride toward put-in (private bus); maybe visit ruins at Chavin de Huantar; start rigging; camp at put-in
Jun5 Day2 finish rigging; launch; paddle appx. 10 km
Jun6 Day3 Yesojirca Narrows; to ~km 40
Jun7 Day4 Pauca; Sanachgán; to ~km 70
Jun8 Day5 layover
Jun9 Day6 Shapalmonte; then Puente Jitaraxan; to km 108
Jun10 Day7 Aguas Termales; to km 135
Jun11 Day8 Inner Gorge: Cajas; Mayas; Ihuano; to staging playa camp; km 164
Jun12 Day9 Wasson's Landslide; to ~km 175
Jun13 Day10 through Llamara; to ~km 190
Jun14 Day11 Chagual; camp near Vijus; 15
Jun15 Day12 Vijus resupply; to Sinichban(?); 50
Jun16 Day13 layover
Jun17 Day14 Calemar (lunch); to Muro Poso; 75
Jun18 Day15 Llanten; 102
Jun19 Day16 Samosierra; 135
Jun20 Day17 arrive Balsas; leave rafts and head up to Celendín; shop for food for Lower GC trip; hotel
Jun21 Day18 Exchange day layover; meet group arriving at Cajamarca; ride back to Celendín; hotel
Jun22 Day19 taxis back to Balsas; repack food; rerig; launch on rio; 10 km
Jun23 Day20 hilltop ruins; El Choclón
Jun24 Day21 visit Mendán; Tupén Grande; camp downstream
Jun25 Day22 Playa El Inca; to Magdalena
Jun26 Day23 layover
Jun27 Day24 Linlín; to Sauce
Jun28 Day25 Q.Agua Blanca charcos; Palaguas; to Amazon Cavern or Playa Limón camp
Jun29 Day26 Puerto Malleta; Bagua Valley; arrive/camp by Rentema
Jun30 Day27 Bagua Valley; arrive/camp by Rentema
Jul1 Day28 jungle pongos; pass El Muyo; enter Awajún area; Nahém camp or Durucachi playa camp
Jul2 Day29 visit Yupicusa (Awajún area); camp on isla after Chiriaco
Jul3 Day30 arrive Imacita in morning; ride back to Bagua (3 hr)

 We will be making our way to the put-in on Jun4, or possibly the evening of Jun3.  The transport will be a private bus for us and a truck for the gear. It's ~2.5 hr to Chavin de Huantar, where we may stop ~1 hr to visit the pre-Incan ruins there.  It's then another ~4 hr further to the put-in, located 6 km downstream of Puente Copuma at a large gravel bar which is also a good place to camp.  We'll arrive late in the afternoon, unload everything, and start inflating rafts and rigging. There are no-see-um bugs at this spot and on much of the trip, so put on some repellent when you arrive and/or cover up!  We will camp at the put-in spot and finish rigging in the morning. To get an idea of this and other access points, see the OVERVIEW MAP

There are possible access points at Puente Jitaraxan, Chagual, Balsas and Puerto Malleta. Folks can depart or join the expedition at these points. From Balsas it is a 1.7 hr drive to Celendin and then another ~3 hr drive to Cajamarca, where there are regular buses and flights to/from Lima.   When the main rafting group arrives at Balsas, folks can plan to hang out in Balsas at the hostel there (no hot water) or take the ride up to Celendín which is a bigger city with nice hotel to stay at (wifi/hot water). Several of us will be occupied in the food resupply shopping and the passenger exchange the day of the passenger exchange.  Celendín has no specific tourist attractions, but there are a bunch of things to see/do in and around Cajamarca, such as the hot springs at Baños del Inca and various Incan ruins.

Those of you departing from the trip at Balsas/Cajamarca will want to book your flights out of Cajamarca the afternoon of Jun21 or thereafter.  There are flights to Lima on LAN (1 hr; $178) and on LCPeru (1 hr; $120).  A much more economical option is to take a bus back (~14 hr; $20-50). 

Your contribution does not cover the ride, hotel or food on the midway excursion up to Celendín/Cajamarca (or Chachapoyas). The ride up and back costs ~70NS (~$30).  In Celendin, we generally stay in the Hotel Villa Madrid, which is ~70NS($25)/night for a double with wifi and hot water. There will be 2 nights to spend up there if you wish (but you always can hang at the river and camp).  If you're not involved in the food shopping, you might consider going on a little day-trip to some hot springs near Celendín or coming out to Cajamarca with the food shoppers (though it's a 3 hr drive each way to Cajamarca). Some of you might prefer to go up to Chachapoyas - if you prefer this option, let me know. 

The current plan is to end the trip at Imacita on Jul3. Again, it's a good idea to get an idea the locations of access points in the OVERVIEW MAP.  We have permission to pass by the Awajún villages to that point, so it should be a good cultural experience. From Imacita we will contract a ride back to Bagua (3 hr) to take us and the gear there. In Bagua the gear will be left at Transportes Linea, to be cleaned, dried, and organized the following day, and then sent back to Trujillo or Huaraz. You should definitely consider continuing downriver on Río Marañon from Imacita on motorboats to Nieva (regular departures; ~3-5 hr ride), then through the Pongo de Manseriche to Sarameriza (charter boat), and from Sarameriza on passenger or cargo boats to San Lorenzo, Lagunas, and Iquitos (regular departures). You might also consider some additional boating based out of Bagua or Jaén, such as on Río Chinchipe, Río Utcubamba, or Río Huancabamba-Chamaya (see C&K article).

Bagua ("Bagua Chica") is the primary end rendezvous point for most folks where we'll stay in a hotel. From Bagua, you can get back to Lima either via the coastal route through Chiclayo (6-7 hr ride from Bagua), or via the jungle at Tarapoto (7-9 hr ride from Bagua), each of which has airports with regular flights back to Lima. There are morning and afternoon buses departing from Bagua to Chiclayo and Tarapoto (~40NS or $14). It is possible to also contract a taxi, which if full costs roughly double what a bus ride costs (~$30/pp), but reduces the time to arrive 20-30% (~5 hr to Chiclayo or ~7 hr to Tarapoto).  From Chiclayo, you can get to Lima either by flight (CIX-LIM; 1 hr; $151-156 LAN or TACA) or bus (10 hr; $15-30).  Buses can be quite comfortable and often overnight.  If going to Tarapoto, you should only consider getting back to Lima by flight (TPP-LIM; 1.5 hr; $102-$110; STAR or LAN or PeruvianAIR).  Going to Tarapoto has the benefit of being able to take 1-2 extra days to visit Kuelap and the Catarata de Gocta (near Chachapoyas). You might be able to arrange it so you just fly to Lima and then out of Peru without leaving the airport.  For those of you continuing downriver to Iquitos, you can return to Lima from there on cheap domestic flights (2 hr; ~$80-120).

Note that in the jungle areas we will pass into the Awajún territory. They are a tribe of ~50,000 who were never conquered by the Inca, and not really subjugated by the Spaniards. They are wary of outsiders, and have been known to be hostile, attack and even kill tourists.  Tensions are higher now with the Curva del Diablo massacre a few years ago - when Awajún were protesting foreign petrol development in their areas without adequate compensation to them. On our first trip we were fortunate to have met some friendly folks (the Piedra family) just before entering the Awajún area, two of whom (Noe and Marco) accompanied us on the raft, and allowed us to make contacts with several friendly Awajún - namely Eusebio Chumpi and his son Manasés - who accompanied us through the final section of class III rapids to Imacita.  Without them along, we would have been detained, possibly robbed, and forced to leave.  On the Sep-Oct (2013) trip, we had official Awajún permission and were accompanied by four Awajún. Although Segundo Valera (an Awajún friend of mine who accompanied us) and Luciano Troyes (an environmentalist from Jaén who runs  Gotas de Agua) secured permission from the official Awajun body (ORPIAN-P) for us to pass, we were still stopped at Yupicusa, where a tribunal made clear to us that official permission should be obtained from them and another governing body in the future. On the subsequent trip, I gained this official permission directly from the apu of Yupicusa, and we were warmly received. They will be expecting us to stop and visit on this and future trips. Expect to buy a few artisan items they have to sell - and also buy lunch. Downstream of Yupicusa on the Jan-Feb (2014) trip we encountered some agitated villagers who did not know us or our intentions, but they were calmed when we explained things to some of them who intercepted us on their canoes [see article]. You need to be aware that there is always a danger passing into these areas from unfriendly folks. We do as much as possible to minimize any risks to us and our group, but something awry can happen. If you are not comfortable with this possibility, it is best to depart the trip at El Muyo or Montenegro (just before the Awajún areas in the jungle - and where there is still easy access to the road back to Bagua).

On the last trips I had requests from folks living along the river (Awajún primarily) for more toys, clothing, camping gear, and even old laptops to be donated.  Please consider donating such items if you can - it will be greatly appreciated.  I can send these items down to Cajamarca or Bagua/Jaén for us to pick up later so we don't have to carry them on most of the trip.

If anyone is interested in visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu, just know they are accessed from Cusco which is in the southern Peru - the other side of the country from the Marañon. You could do so before the trip, or after the trip (budget ~4 days).  There are relatively inexpensive flights LIM-CUZ (2 hr; ~$100-180 each way: STAR or LAN or PeruvianAIR). Buses take >20 hr from Lima.   If you're planning to a tour there, let me know if you'd like to hook up with others from the trip and I'll put it down in the next email update.

Below you will find some information on health issues. The first thing to know is that several folks on the trip, including me, are trained in wilderness first aid, and we can provide medical attention to injuries.  On this trip Heidi will be our most experienced medic. We will have at least one major first aid kit and one minor kit.  You may want to get some of your own medication if you think you might be suffering from something in particluar on the trip.  Our first aid kit will have some pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen, immodium, Tums, antibiotics, anti-allergy pills, an epi pen. You might consider a visit the doctor before your journey to Peru to prepare for the following.

Immunizations/Malaria: It is recommended by the CDC that folks traveling to Peru be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and possibly Typhoid.  If you're entering the jungle areas, you might also consider getting Yellow Fever and Rabies immunizations and taking anti-Malaria medicine.  In general, the main Grand Canyon of the Amazon section down to near Bagua is in drier desert-type terrain with few mosquitos, where the CDC puts little risk of Malaria, which probably goes for Yellow Fever as well. [see this Malaria MAP from the CDC]. If you are planning to visit a doctor before the trip and get some immunizations, you should also request some additional prescriptions to treat/prevent Traveller's Diarrhea and/or Altitude Sickness (below). 

Traveler's diarrhea: One of the most common ailments among tourists in Peru is traveler's diarrhea (gastrointestinal problems), also referred to sometimes as Montezuma's Revenge.  You should try to minimize chances of getting it by avoiding potentially dirty foods before the trip. During the trip we'll do what we can to prevent it by strictly adhering to NPS Sanitation Guidelines: basically minimizing the microbe exposure through liberal use of sanitizing solutions (bleach in water at about 100 ppm) for hand-washing, dish-washing, table-wiping, and cleaning veggies/fruits. There will be a hand-wash station at camp that you should always use after bathroom use and before handling food/plates. See the FOOD/WATER section for more details. Despite these measures, and perhaps because there is contact with river water and other microbe-containing surfaces, invariably many foreigners still get traveller's diarrhea on a river trip. It almost never afflicts Peruvians or folks who spend a lot of time there and are used to the microbes. When it strikes you, the symptoms are upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, lack of appetite, general fatigue and sometimes vomiting. It usually lasts 1-3 days but sometimes lasts longer (especially the loose stools). You can treat some symptoms with immodium and anti-nausea pills, but if you want to eliminate the problem completely, you should start a course of antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) immediately and take for 3 days or until symptoms subside. We will have some ciprofloxacin on the trip, but it might not be enough. If you can get some to bring along, please do so (and let Rocky know).

Altitude Sickness: Folks who will be starting on the Upper GC section will base out of Huaraz, which is at 3000 m elevation (10000 ft). This high altitude, with associated drives over passes at >4400 m (14000 ft), and possibly some hikes before the trip, may lead to altitude sickness - also called soroche in Peru. Symptoms are light-headedness, headache, nausea, and fatigue.   If you're acclimatized to the altitude for several days, it probably will not affect you.  If you're not acclimatized, you might suffer. You can prevent altitude sickness with acetazolamide (also known by trade name Diamox), a prescription medicine that increases bicarbonate excretion in urine and therefore lowers the pH of your blood (higher blood pH is one of the primary causes of altitude sickness).  Folks who take acetazolamide starting 1/2-1 day before getting to high elevation often can go up to above >16000 ft for several days without adverse effects.  If you're going to the doctor to get immunizations and/or antibiotics, you might also mention that you'll also be at high altitude and request a dose of acetazolamide. It's surprisingly hard to find in Peru. The common "anti-soroche" pills they sell down there are simply aspirin or tylenol, which do little for most of the symptoms. 

Evacuations/Traveler's Insurance:
In general, on this river we'll never be very far from trails/roads out, so in the event of an injury, the plan will be to raft the person to the nearest point out and arrange a ride to the nearest city/hospital or possibly (possibly requiring a carriage to carry the person to a road). If you are concerned about this issue, you might consider getting some traveller's insurance, which often covers emergency evacuations by helicopter. An added benefit of such a policy is that it will cover other problems that might arise during travel such as theft and injury/medical charges. One such insurance agent that you might consider purchasing a policy through is Squaremouth.

Safety/Repair Items:  There will be two spare kayak paddles, raft patch kits and material, duct tape/Gorilla tape, and 1-2 spare oars for each raft.  Each raft will have a 100' bow line.  There will be at least one Z-drag setup (bring one if you have it) which might be employed in the event a raft gets stuck somewhere and/or during Wasson's lining.

Electronics: It is possible to recharge electronics possibly at Chagual (~day 11) and certainly at Balsas/Celendin (~day 18) and possibly with a GoalZero solar charger/inverter we might bring along on the trip.

Satellite Phone: For communication we will have a Inmarsat satellite phone on the expedition.  You can make calls anywhere for $1.50/min.  The signal was always very good everywhere checked on the last trips.  Also, some areas on the river have cell phone coverage.  

SPOT: In case of emergency - and also so others can follow our progress - we'll have a SPOT device along to send out "OK" messages with GPS locations, as well as "HELP/SOS" signals if necessary.  Anyone can follow the progress of our party at the following webpage:

SPOT TRACKING: anyone can see where we are located (quick link on main webpage below schematic map):

All of you wil be asked to sign a liability waiver before the trip starts. You can see the current format of it at Liability Waiver. If you have any issues with this, now is the time to bring up. 

All maps of the river are marked with rapids and available online (i.e. a "guide") to members of SierraRios with an acknowledgement from you that the access codes or map copies will not be given out to anybody - rather, you have to agree to direct others interested in the maps to the SierraRios website or Rocky.  The links to the maps, various artcles, the film, petition, and trip info are:


You can read/see more about the river and area, and Peru in general at the following (I'll have a lot of these books along on the trip):

Articles about the Marañon:
American Whitewater: Grand Canyon of the Amazon; by Contos
International Rivers: R ío Marañon; by Contos
Canoe & Kayak: Grand Canyon of the Amazon; by Contos

Movie: Aguirre, the Wrath of God  : unforgettable imagery and story
Book: Last Days of the Incas : McQuarrie does a great job describing the conquest of the Incas: Pizarro's defeat of Atahualpa at Cajamarca 
Book: Running the Amazon  : Joe Kane and Piotr Chmielinski with others kayak/raft the Apurimac-Amazon 1987
Book: Three Rivers of the Amazon : Tim Biggs kayaks down Marañon, Urubamba, and Apurimac 2008
Book: Two Against the Amazon  : Brown/Snow and the sources of the Amazon (Marañon) 1953
Book: My Amazon Adventure   Sebastian Snow travels down the Marañon-Amazon from the source (1953)
Book: River of Darkness : Orellana's Amazon first descent voyage of 1540
Book: Lonely Planet Peru: great travel guide

Amazon Source News:
True Source of the Amazon (C&K magazine article now online)
Fastest to the Atlantic Wins (Outside magazine article now online)

AREA: Correct Placement of the Most Distant Source of the Amazon in the Mantaro River Drainage : [scientific article]
La Republica article: (national news of Peru)
National Geographic article (blurb about new source but dissing it somewhat)
Fox News article
Geography Directions post (something I wrote about the discovery)

Most folks on the trip are guides or experienced rafters or kayakers:

Upper: Jun4-Jun15 Central: Jun16-Jun21 Lower: Jun21-Jun30 Pongos: Jun30-Jul3 --
Rocky Contos (guide; kayak) Rocky Contos (guide; kayak) Rocky Contos (guide; raft4)
2 Pedro Peña (guide; kayak) Pedro Peña (guide; raft2) Pedro Peña (guide; raft2) Pedro Peña (guide; raft2) full-trip
3 Lorenzo Bergamin (guide; kayak) Lorenzo Bergamin (kayak) Lorenzo Bergamin (kayak) Lorenzo Bergamin (raft4) full-trip
4 Doug Leapley (kayak) Doug Leapley (kayak) Doug Leapley (raft3) Doug Leapley (raft3) full-trip
Quay Hunter (kayak) Quay Hunter (kayak) Quay Hunter (kayak) Quay Hunter (kayak) full-trip
6 Ricky Blizzard (kayak) Ricky Blizzard (kayak) Ricky Blizzard (kayak) Ricky Blizzard (kayak) full-trip
7 Heidi Domeisen (raft1) Heidi Domeisen (raft1) Heidi Domeisen (raft1) Heidi Domeisen (raft1) full-trip
8 Ben Webb (kayak) Ben Webb (kayak) Ben Webb (kayak) Ben Webb (kayak) full-trip
9 Kelly O'Hagan (kayak) Kelly O'Hagan (kayak) Kelly O'Hagan (kayak) Kelly O'Hagan (kayak) full-trip
10 Laura Stampa (kayak/raft) Laura Stampa (kayak/raft) Laura Stampa (kayak/raft) Laura Stampa (kayak/raft) full-trip
11 Ben Nuber (kayak) Ben Nuber (kayak) Ben Nuber (kayak) Ben Nuber (kayak) full-trip
12 Mike Connolly (raft2) Mike Connolly (raft6) Mike Connolly (raft6) full-trip
13 Mike Braskich (raft3) Mike Braskich (raft3) full-trip
14 Lacey Anderson (raft5) Lacey Anderson (raft5) Lacey Anderson (raft5) full-trip
-- -------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------- --
15   Justin King (raft4) Justin King (raft4) Luciano Troyes (passenger1) partial-trip
16 Lezlie Jenkinson (passenger1) Jesús/Ester Quiroz y/o MiltonS Jesús/Ester Quiroz y/o MiltonS Manases Chumpi (passenger2) partial-trip
17 José Serra (passenger2) Valerie Velasco (Cuatro Poder) Brenilda Piedra (passenger3) partial-trip
18 Ana Teresa Gordillo (passenger3) Roberto ?? (Cuatro Poder) partial-trip
19 Oakley (raft6) partial-trip

June4 Marañon Trip:
The group committed so far on the June 4 trip are mostly Americans and Australians but also from other areas like Germany.  There will be several Peruvian Peruvians along with us at times, including possibly a television crew from Cuatro Poder (a popular 60-minutes-type news program watched by millions of Peruvians). Below are brief descriptions of each participant. 

Rocky Contos (San Diego, CA) will be the trip leader initially. You can read more about me at BIO. I've done the whole river 3X and organized all trips.
Pedro Peña (Lunahuana, Peru) is a bilingual class V kayaker/raft guide with extensive experience guiding the Cañete, Apurimac, Urubamba, Trancura, Fualeufu, and LowerGC Marañon section (and has guided the UpperGC section 1X and Jungle section 2X).
Doug Leapley (Pittsboro, NC) is a class IV-V kayaker for 15+ years and has done long trips like on the GCC (Grand Canyon Colorado) 
Quay Hunter (NC) is a friend of Doug's and also a class IV-V kayaker for 15+ years and has done long trips like on the GCC (Grand Canyon Colorado) 
Ricky Blizzard (Mt. Airy, NC) is a friend of Doug's and also a class IV-V kayaker for 15+ years and has done long trips like on the GCC
Heidi Domeisen (Marshall, NC) is a friend of Doug's and a class IV rafter for 15+ years and has guided many multi-day trips including many commercially through GCC; she is trained in swiftwater rescue and an EMT; Heidi will be helping organize/prepare the food and also medical issues
Ben Webb (Australia) is an avid young class V kayaker, currently in Chile, and has instigated a mission "Paddle with Purpose"; the main trip PWP trip will likely be Jan2015
L. Oakley (Australia) overstated her ability level (as class IV when actually it was class III) and was very uncomfortable in the Upper+InnerGorge sections, so departed in Chagual
Laura Stampa (Australia) is a class III (maybe IV) kayaker and raft guide from Queensland, AU who works as Outdoor and Environmental Education Teacher; SWR & WFR
Kelly O'Hagan (Australia) is class III (maybe IV) kayaker from Brisbane; has recently completed swiftwater rescue training
Ben Nuber (Germany) is a class IV kayaker from Germany active in anti-dam movements; has paddled in Colombia/Europe; is doing a master's in Geography of Global Change
Mike Connolly (AZ) is class IV oarsman who's rowed GCC + other multi-days in the West; job is service/sales medical related; married w/2 kids; certified class III raft guide; WFR
Mike Braskich (Ft. Collins, CO) is a class IV oarsman (former kayaker but shoulder problems) who's rowed the GCC many times as well as other rivers in the West; he owned and operated Ft Collins Kayak School for 3 years in the 1990s; currently owns/operates a property management firm;
Lacey Anderson (Joshua Tree, CA) is a class IV catarafter who did the whole Marañon trip Sep28-Oct27 last year [see Duct Tape Diaries]; she has been a raft guide many seasons (American River, MF Salmon/Salmon, Green-Colorado) even when a middle school teacher; she's great with food organization/prep - especially without coolers - check out her cookbooks and webpage "No Coolers!"; she rowed a 15' cataraft and organized much of the food on the Lower section of the trip
Justin King (Portland, OR) is a class IV oarsman/guide who has been a raft guide in Moab for many years but is now pursuing a Physical Therapy Assistant degree in Oregon; he's rowed GCC 1X but many other multi day trips in the West (esp. Cataract Canyon) many times; he joined to Balsas and captained a 6th raft
Lezlie Jenkinson (Australia) is Laura Stampa's aunt who is living in Huaraz for ~8 months and helping publicize the dam threat; she's a keen kayaker, teacher and wilderness therapist with first aid certifications; she would likely be on a raft helping paddle/row but may be in a kayak at times
José Serra (Lima, Peru) is an anti-dam activist who has done the most of probably any Peruvian against the dams on the Marañon; he wrote a study criticizing the economics of the Chadin2 dam, has written an article for ActualidadAmbiental, and wrote an article that appeared in El Comercio (HERE); he was on the Jan16 trip from Chagual to Imacita; this time he will be doing the section he missed last time from the Puchka put-in to Chagual
Ana Teresa Gordillo (Lima, Peru) is a forest engineer who works at Colectivo Amazonía e Hidroelectricas and is in charge of El Observatorio making a hydroelectric projects database
Valerie Vazquez (Lima, Peru) is a TV-news program journalist for the popular program Cuatro Poder and joined the trip 4 days from Balsas to ElParaiso (Chipche) and with Roberto filmed and aired a segment for Cuarto Poder about the Marañón river, its proposed hydroelectric dams, and the impacts: see CUARTO PODER SEGMENT

Justin King (Portland, OR) is a class IV oarsman/guide who has been a raft guide in Moab for many years but is now pursuing a Physical Therapy Assistant degree in Oregon; he's rowed GCC 1X but many other multi day trips in the West many times; he will likely join at least part of the trip if not all and captain a 5th raft
Tanit Escalante (Lima, Peru) is intrigued with the river and would like to protect from the dams; she and friends would like to float some of it but is not very experienced;



Boat condition size range --------- Upper Middle Lower Pongos
16' RMR self-bailer (w/NRS frame)  2013 - --------- Heidi Heidi Heidi Heidi
16' SierraRios self-bailer (w/NRS frame) 2014 - --------- LauraO LauraO LauraO LauraO
16' SierraRios self-bailer (w/NRS frame) 2014 - --------- MikeC MikeC MikeC MikeC
16' NRS cataraft (w/NRS frame) 2014 - --------- MikeB MikeB MikeB MikeB
14' NRS cataraft (w/NRS frame) 2014 - --------- Lacey Lacey Lacey Lacey
Liquid Logic Stomper 90 2012 170-270 lb --------- - - - -
Liquid Logic Stomper 80 2013 110-210 lb --------- Doug Doug Doug Doug
Wavesport Diesel 70 (red) 2013 120-190 lb --------- Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky
Wavesport Diesel 70 (ice) 2013 120-190 lb --------- LauraS LauraS LauraS LauraS
Wavesport Stubby 1999 100-220 lb --------- - - - -
Dagger Nomad 8.5 2013 110-190 lb --------- - - - -
Dagger Nomad 8.1 (avail. Sep2014) 2013 110-190 lb --------- - - - -
Dagger Mamba 8.1 2013 150-200 lb --------- Quay Quay Quay Quay
Dagger Mamba 7.5 2010 120-170 lb --------- Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly
Dagger Axiom 8.0 (like an RPM) 2013 90-150 lb --------- - - - -
Pyranha Burn (S) 2012 100-200 lb --------- - - - -
Pyranha Burn (M) 2012 120-220 lb --------- BenN BenN BenN BenN
Fluid Bazooka (L) 2013 175-285 lb --------- - - - -
Prijon Embudo 2008 110-250 lb --------- - - - -
Prijon Rockit 2000 100-200 lb --------- - - - -
own kayak --------- BenW BenW BenW BenW
IK: Tributary Strike II 2013 - --------- - - - -
IK: NRS Bandit II 2012 - --------- - - - -


Item feather length shape Upper Lower
kayak paddle: AT Eddy 30o 200 cm bent - -
kayak paddle: AT Eddy 30o 197 cm bent - -
kayak paddle: AT River Glass 30o 197 cm bent - -
kayak paddle: AT River Glass 30o 200 cm bent - -
kayak paddle: Werner Player 30o 194 cm bent - -
kayak paddle: Werner Powerhouse 30o 197 cm straight BenN BenN
kayak paddle: Werner Powerhouse 30o 197 cm straight - -
kayak paddle: Werner Player 30o 197 cm straight - -
kayak paddle: Werner Player 4-piece 30o 194 cm straight - -
kayak paddle: Werner Dihedral 45o 197 cm straight - -
kayak paddle: Werner Rec 30o 197 cm straight - -
kayak paddle: PTK (red) 45o 200 cm straight - -
IK paddle: PTK (blue) 45o 220 cm straight - -
IK paddle: AquaBound StingRay 30o-45o 220 cm straight - -
IK paddle: AquaBound StingRay 30o-45o 220 cm straight - -
IK paddle: Dunc 30o-45o 220 cm straight - -

Item condition Upper Middle Lower Lower $$(half trip/both)
SpraySkirt: NRS drylander (M; cockpit L) 2012 Rocky Rocky Rocky Rocky 30/40
SpraySkirt: NRS drylander (M; cockpit L) 2012 -- -- -- -- 30/40
SpraySkirt: NRS drylander (L; cockpit L) 2013 -- -- -- -- 30/40
helmet: Protec (M) blue 2008 -- -- -- -- 15/20
helmet: Protec (M) blue 2008 -- -- -- -- 15/20
helmet: NRS Chaos (S) blue 2013 Lezlie -- -- -- 15/20 avail. January
helmet: NRS Chaos (M) red 2013 -- -- -- -- 15/20
helmet: NRS Chaos (L) yellow 2013 -- -- -- -- 15/20
helmet: Cascade (L) red 2008 -- -- -- -- 15/20 MikeD's former
helmet: Cascade (S/M) blue 2010 -- -- -- -- 15/20 Barb's former
helmet: WSRI (M/L) red 2012 -- -- -- -- 15/20 ErikW's former
PFD:  older (L) red [MikeDoktor] 1996 -- -- -- -- 15/20 MikeDoktor's former
PFD:  Kokatat (L/XL) mango 2013 -- -- -- -- 15/20
PFD:  Kokatat (M) red 2006 José -- film crew Eusebio 15/20 Rocky's
PFD:  NRS  (S/M) orange/black 2013 Ana -- film crew Brenilda 15/20
PFD:  NRS (S/M) orange/black 2013 Lezlie -- film crew Noe 15/20
PFD: Astral (L) orange 2012 -- -- -- -- 15/20 ErikW's former
PFD:  Stohlquist (L) orange 2012 -- -- -- -- 15/20 Skyler's former
PFD:  Lotus (S/M) blue 2013 -- -- -- -- 25/40 Barb's former
PFD: ExtraSport (M) blue 2006 -- -- -- -- 25/40 SteveJ's former
PFD: NRS kid's (S) 2012 -- -- -- -- 15/20
PFD:  NRS kid's (S) 2012 -- -- -- -- 15/20
paddle jacket: NRS (M men's) Stampede 2013 -- -- -- -- 25/40
paddle jacket: NRS (L woman's) red 2013 Lezlie -- -- -- 25/40
drytop: Bomber Gear (M) blue 2013 -- -- -- -- 40/60
drytop: Patagonia (M) mango 2013 -- -- -- -- 40/50
drytop: Patagonia (M) mango 2013 -- -- -- -- 40/50
dry pants: Bomber Gear (M) 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
dry pants: Bomber Gear (L)   2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
drysuit: NRS Aegis (M) 2013 -- -- -- -- 70/90


Item condition Upper Middle Lower Jungle $$(half trip/both)
Paco Pad (1.5") + camp chair 2013 Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky 30/50
Paco Pad (1.5") + camp chair 2013 Quay Quay Quay Quay 30/50
Paco Pad (1.5") + camp chair 2013 Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky 30/50
NRS Pad (1.5") + camp chair 2013 -- -- -- -- 30/50
NRS Pad (1.5") + camp chair 2014 -- -- -- -- 30/50
Therm-a-Rest Chair/pad (72" + Lounger) 2013 Justin Justin -- -- 30/40
Therm-a-Rest Chair/ALPs pad (72" + chair) 2013 -- -- -- -- 30/40
Therm-a-Rest Chair/ALPs pad (72" + chair) 2013 -- -- -- -- 30/40
sleeping bag (0o Suisse mummy) blue 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
sleeping bag (0o Suisse mummy) blue 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
sleeping bag (20o REI down) orange 2006 Rocky Rocky Rocky Rocky 20/30
sleeping bag (35/50o MtnHdwr Flip down) green 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
sleeping bag (35o Ozark down) green 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
chair: Crazy Creek (simple) 2012 -- -- -- -- 10/10
chair: Crazy Creek (simple) 2012 -- -- -- -- 10/10
chair: Crazy Creek (simple) 2012 -- -- -- -- 10/10
chair: Crazy Creek (simple) 2012 -- -- -- -- 10/10
chair: Crazy Creek (simple) 2012 -- -- -- -- 10/10
chair: Crazy Creek (simple) 2012 -- -- -- -- 10/10
tent: Marmot Ajax2 (2-man/3-season) 2013 Lezlie -- -- -- 30/50
tent: Marmot Ajax2 (2-man/3-season) 2013 -- -- -- -- 30/50
tent: MtnHardware Skyledge2.1 (2-man/3-season) 2013 Rocky Rocky Rocky Rocky 30/50
tent: Slumberjack (2-man/3-season) 2013 -- -- -- -- 30/50
tent: MtnHardware (3-man/3-season) 2013 QuayRicky QuayRicky QuayRicky QuayRicky 30/50
tent: Mountain Smith (4-man/3-season) 2013 -- -- film crew Eusebio 30/50 zipper problem
dryBag NRS duffel (L 3800 2012 -- -- -- -- 20/30
dryBag NRS duffel (L 3800 2012 -- -- -- -- 20/30
dryBag Bill's Bag 2.2; (L 3800 2012 Lezlie -- film crew Eusebio 20/30
dryBag Bill's Bag 2.2; (L 3800 2013 -- -- film crew Brenilda 20/30
dryBag Bill's Bag 2.2; (L 3800 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
dryBag Bill's Bag 3.8; (L 6500 2013 Justin -- -- -- 20/30
dryBag Seattle Sports Bag (M 2200 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
dryBag Seattle Sports Bag (M 2200 2013 -- -- -- -- 20/30
dryBag small (various) 2013 -- -- -- -- 10/15


Rocky Contos MEX-LIM AeroMex 10May --- - - -
Ben Webb from Chile bus May - --- - - -
Doug Leapley CLT-NEW-LIM United1095 1Jun 10:25pm --- - - -
Quay Hunter CLT-NEW-LIM United1095 1Jun 10:25pm --- - - -
Ricky Blizzard CLT-NEW-LIM United1095 1Jun 10:25pm --- - - -
Heidi Domeisen - - - - --- - - -
Lacey Anderson MEX-LIM AV961 31May 8:47pm --- - - -
Justin King PDX-LIM United1095 31May 10:20pm --- - - -