Peru in the Andes at an altitude of 9500ft. It's around midnight, the roaring of the Rio Maranon next to me is deafening. We portaged our fully loaded kayaks for the last seven hours because of a big syphone where the whole river disappears for about one mile.

Now we lay outside under a small ledge. Flo and Pirmin are lying next to me, I'm really exhausted and my feet hurt.

The half cooked rice topped with canned tuna was not a delicacy. We have no idea what we can expect the next day, but that's what a first descent somewhere in a canyon far from any civilization is all about. Eventually, I fell a sleep.

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A few weeks earlier Flo, Sepp, Pirmin and I had traveled to Cusco, Peru to get used to the altitude  After a month of paddling we were ready and made. With the help of our Local, Alonso, we started out 900 mile long journey with an old rented car to the source lake of the biggest river on earth - the Amazon.

We have faulty, poor quality maps to guide us on our journey. After a three day drive with 21 police checks we finally arrive at the source lake. We were close to giving up several times, as the car has just little clearance - it was definitely not good for off-road driving. Somehow, we still managed to get to the source lake - the Laguna Lauricocha. The weather is perfect.

In the upper parts, the Rio Lauricocha emerges as a small whitewater creek in the 3rd to 4th difficulty. But lurking everywhere are siphons. Two days of travelling across awesome landscape and whitewater we reached the confluence of the Rio Lauricocha and Rio Nupe, the Rio Maranon (more downstream called Rio Amazon).

After resting for a day where we got some food from the village 5km away, we head to the last unpaddled stage of the upper Amazon. The Rio Maranon has become a wider and larger high volume river. We had optimum water level.

just as things were going great, suddenly the entire creek disappears into a slot and we are forced to portage as already described above. After this exhausting action, we got the next day of perfect whitewater in the 5th difficulty. After 55km we arrived at dawn at the exit. Exhausted but happy we make our return to Cusco in order to continue to make more first descents.

Peru has a lot more high quality creeks to offer and many first descents are left.

On whitewater like that, it's good when you can trust your gear, like the Level Six drysuits.

Thanks for the support L6.
Nils Dippon

More information about the trip and kayaking in Peru at: www.kayak-peru.bloggspot.com and www.peruwhitewater.com

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