Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Rio Gol Gol - Chile

Caught in a summer snow near the summit between Chile and Argentina just upstream of the Rio Gol Gol, Chile. Posted by Hello

The Rio GolGol is another Chilean waterfall classic that majestically drains the valleys lying between Volcan Puyehue and Volcan Casa Blanca in Chile's Region de Los Lagos. This part of Chile receives an astounding amount of rain which means this section of the GolGol can often be too high. Navigable levels usually come in by January, but the water is sometimes low enough in December. This river has easy access as it follows the main international highway which connects Osorno Chile with Bariloche Argentina. If you are driving down to Futaleufu via the Argentinean route (as opposed to taking ferry in Puerto Montt) make sure you indulge in a paved shuttle road for a change and check this one out.

Starting off on the Rio GolGol Posted by Hello

From Osorno drive east on route 215 about 75 km until you cross the 1st GolGol bridge (possible camp spot) and then continue less than 5km more until the 2nd bridge. The 2nd bridge marks the takeout and the final waterfall on this section (Salto del Indio) thunders just upstream but out of view. From the 2nd bridge, drive another 10km uphill until the river is again visible. Here you will find a pullout for the Salto de los Novios waterfall and the Chilean border station is only a few kilometeres up the road. Salto de Los Novios is the first runnable waterfall and marks the beginning of the run.

Trip Jennings goes for the huck off Salto de los Novios. Posted by Hello

From the put-in the GolGol descends quickly through a typical Chilean lava basin in a class III-IV torrent until a broken ledge signals the next waterfall, a clean spouting 20' curtain. Below this you will come upon a nastier slide type drop that is separated by an island. The left side of the island is the cleaner line, but the right channel takes you to an easier portage. Continue on to drop #4, an easy slide boof that can be checked out on the right shore. Once you have cleared this drop there comes a grand-finale. Downstream lies the 30 foot GolGol classic that has a tricky lead in on river right with some serious undercuts on the river left shore. This 5th waterfall is hard to set up safety so scout carefully.

Good to go on salto number 5 Posted by Hello

Once you fly off this big bird for home the adventure still isn't over. A little more class III puts you at the brink of 40' Salto del Indio, now famous for being the highest waterfall ran successfully in a raft by Ben Stookesberry and Eric Seymour (see Chasing the White Demon). If you have had plenty of action for one day, Salto del Indio is easiliy portaged on river left and you can paddle the last bit of flatwater until the bridge.