Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Christmas in Mexico... No snow, but plenty of warm water. So what else would a bunch of class 5 kayakers do on christmas day. Head to the Micos, grab the inflatable innertube, and jump off the travertine waterfalls. We left the cameras behind and had a blast swimming, flipping, and tubing down the Rio Micos. It's amazing we were able to tube down a 400 foot per mile river and not get hurt. Even managed to get worked in the last hole on Bad Boy. Super fun Feliz Navidad that i'll never forget.

Hope everyone back home is enjoying there Christmas as well. Just got back in Cuidad Valles last night, and leaving for San Diego tomorrow for New Years. From there I'll make my way up to Tahoe to play in the snow, its been a few years since i last went snowboarding. Should be fun!

Mary Christmas everyone,

John McConville

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rio Alseseca... As Real As It Gets

Continuing on with my Mexico adventures, I find myself at Adventurec in Tlapacoyan. When we first arrived here about a week ago we had heard of a section of the Rio Alsecesa called the BIG BANANA. The rumor was that a crew the week before found a way in without having to repel the 120 foot waterfall. After talking with a few locals, and a bit of luck, Lance Reif, Chris Baer, Jake Greenbaum, Davis Grove, and myself found a trail to the base of the 120 foot Big Banana waterfall.

photo by Chris Baer

Day 1,
After a great breakfast and a late start we were off to the river. The hike in took about 2 hrs, up and down ridge lines and even down a creek bed that would eventually take us to the base of the waterfall of the Big Banana. (since then we've found a much shorter and well defined path to the river, aprox 1 hr less hiking, great parking at a church on river left) The run starts off with a few bolder garden style rapids, one of which claimed two swimmers due to a log just under the surface. I think it was like the 5th rapid in, last slot on the right wall, big walled in pool just after.

photo by Chris Baer

Heading down from there are a few more bolder gardens until the first big horizon line, which is a 20 foot waterfall. Super fun and good to go, scout right. Directly after is a mandatory hallway, slide, drop thing with a big hole at the bottom. Looks scary but good to go right down the middle. I broke my paddle first time down, and stuck the line a few days later on the return trip. After pulling out the breakdown, it was time to get back to business and push on.

Another beautiful walled in gorge, and then a 35/40 foot waterfall. Easy scout on the right along with a great trail to portage down to a 15 foot seal launch. Due to time constancies, everyone walked and did the seal launch. Directly down stream from there are 3 very unique drops, good scout on the river left. 1st one feels weird but is really fun, 2nd could defiantly beat you down, and 3rd one boof down the middle.

photo by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

Working down from there are a few more smaller fun rapids until arriving at the Meat Locker. SCOUT RIGHT AND DON'T RUN UNTIL YOU'VE FOUND A WAY OUT OF THE "LOCKER"!!! The DEATH HOLE is the next ledge! By the time we got to this point it was dark, and after a group decision we decided to leave our gear and hike out. Being that i was the only one with a headlamp, i lead the group up and out through the banana fields on river right. After about a 2 mile hike we found a farmer and got a ride back to town.

photo by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

Day 2,
After a much needed night of rest and "early" breakfast we we're back off to the river. Arriving back at the meat locker we quickly set safety, and made sure there was no way someone could float over the DEATH LEDGE. Extremely good lines were had by all, super fun way to start off a new day. :)

photo by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

Directly after that is a section of the river called Pezma. About 5 main drops, one of which we officially started calling 80 / 20 after the way EJ described it in No Big Names. 80% boof 20% plug. Really fun section and a short paddle to the take out at Tomata falls.

phot by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

photo by Chris Baer

Round 2, Return to the Big Banana,
Heading back a few days later our run down went really well. Jake and I ran the 35/40 footer with great results and we even made the take out by 4pm. The Big Banana is defiantly AS REAL AS IT GETS. Beautiful steep walled in canyons that barley let any light in, super clear water, and a handful of amazing drops. No other place in the world like it, and i'm thankful to be one of the few that have been ably to experience it.

Live from Mexico,
John McConville

Monday, December 8, 2008


Hola Me Amego's!!! So here I am, reporting live from the warm warters of Mexico. Where the waterfalls are big and the traverntine is sticky. Curently i'm located in Ciudad Valles at Aventura Huastecae where Lance Reif, Chris Bear, Aaron Koch, and myself have been running some of the local rivers.

Day one started us off on the Mexican classic, the Rio Micos. Unlike anything i've seen, the Micos is made up of whats called Traverntine. Traverntine is formed from water thats high in calcium, it builds up on anything in the water... trees, rocks, lost paddles...exc As a result it makes really sticky pool drop waterfalls and slides that are over hung. interesting and fun...

Day 2 took us to the El Salto. More travertine... weird...

Lance playing the role of "Rodeo Superstar" good ride, cartweels on both sides

Chris Bear

Aaron Koch

John McConville photo by Chris Bear

The 5th Canyon of the Santa Maria

El Toro

Back to to Micos where Chris decided to run the big one, EL TORO (the bull). The bull is a beast, it hits hard and fast. To best explane i suggest checking out the video Chris put together after running the Bull.

El Toro video:

Rio Verde...An orange and a gun.

Today we picked up a mexican with an orange and a gun. He sat down in Aaron's Jeep, shared his orange and showed us the way to the river. Hiking down to the river i had a run in with a "jumping" cactice, it jumped up, scared me, bit me,i swated at it, it bit me again, and i was left with bit marks from the jumping cacti. oh well, down to the river we go.

The first Canyon we came to was amazing. It started with a 40 footer that Chris, Lance, and myself ran. Then went right into a 15 footer followed be another 15 footer. Cruisin down streem we found ourselves at the lip of a 100 foot waterfall called Llovinosa. We lowered the boats over the edge and walked down the class 5 goat path to the side.

The Rio Verde has been my faveroit run we've done so far. But the trip is just getting started, tomorrow we head South to Veracruze in hopes to find good water on the Alseseca...

Live from Mexico,

John McConville

Monday, November 17, 2008

Changing Seasions

Back in WI now... spending some time with the folks before setting off on my next adventure. It's amazing how fast the summer always seems to come and go. Looking back, i find myself getting lost in the wake of the all the good times spent in WV. Worked 67 days on the water this year between the New and Gualey river. I love my job! Thats been the greatest part of my summer, loving my job and all the people i work with. Class VI had a great video staff this year, full of personality. :)

Chillin with the Class VI crew out at long point.

Gauley Season Rocked!! We were lucky enough to have a really warm fall with great fall colors. I learned righty phonix monkies and took 6th in the Animal Race. I also got really good at getting juiced at the bottom of Wood's Farry. Gotta love a good mystery...

Russel Fork...

Lance and I made it out for race weekend on the Russel. This was Lance's first time down and my first time seeing it at 1,000cfs. The race had a huge turnout of 52 competitors. Records were broken, swimmers were swimming, and respect was gained. I ended up with 23rd and a time of 11:30. I really liked the solo timed racing style compared to the Gauley's mass start. It becomes a personal battle with yourself, seeing just how hard you are willing to push yourself. One sec here, one sec there... I know where i lost time and i'm excited to push it harder next year.


This summer i became very involved with climbing. Wild Bill, Curt, and myself (both class VI videographers) spent many afternoons climbing till our fingers bleed or we til we couldn't see anymore. I'll never forget the first time climbing with Curt, we ended up climbing in the dark with our headlamps on. For me climbing has been another great way to stay in shape and push myself mentaly. Its amazing to see how far you are willing to push yourself mentally and physically before saying "let me down". There's nothing worse than being lowerd down after a vicious battle with the rock and losing... Then its back to square one and a rematch another day.

All in all, it's been an awesome year in WV and i miss it already. But like the fall colors, its time to change and move into winter. For me this means heading south of the boarder, Mexico here i come.....