und wenn du kurz davor bist,
kurz vor dem fall.
und wenn du denkst:
fuck it all!
und wenn du nicht weißt,
wie soll es weiter geh’n -
kapitulatio – o – o – n,
kapitulatio – o – o – n
kapitulatio – o – o – n,
kapitulatio – o – o – o – o – n.
(slightly modified; originally by tocotronic: kapitulation, 2007)
surely, accompanied by the proper soundtrack surrender is easier. nevertheless there was a hard track to follow. blue sky, blue waters, i found myself in the exactly same eddy than about nine eight years ago. with exactly the same mission to do – complete surrender.
ticino, rovana creek, june 21st at the entrance of the gorge of niva. in the eddy my beloved polish boys arbuz, topik and kozi, and me. the highly motivated as long travelled guys did the ribo in the morning. low water, but sky is sunny and the fall nevertheless a source of overwhleming adrenaline. i proposed to them to go to rovana as all the rivers in the area seemed rather scrapy, so rovana is always a good bet. it was a bit hard to find the correct put-in near the village of piano, but finally we managed and warmed huge glasses of pre-cooked gulash from tesco poland. while we were eating a group of swiss-german paddlers came and secured us in having chosen the right starting point. at about 4 o’clock we shouldered the kayaks to hike the trail to a small mountain pasture with idyllic cottages. from this place the guidebook told us to scramble down to catch the last slides of the unrunnable upper gorge. finding no trail we forced our way through coniferous forest. quite exhausted we reached the banks, finding ourselves between steep boulder cataracts. the flow might have been around 15 cumecs which means about more than the recommanded amount of 5-10. but it’s a spilker guidebook, i reassured myself. if we add 50 % to the gauge it will be fine.
after a short break to recover we got in the boats and did the first two rapids by read and run. the current was quick and the eddys small. soon a higher drop approached and arbuz decided (in lack of other options) to give it a blind boof. three of us catched the last eddy before the lip and were relieved to see arbuz paddle showing us his ok. the boof into the right eddy turned out to be an easy game. if the eddy is not blocked by paddlers…
kozi landed smoothly next to arbuz while topik was sucked back to the – we can say without exaggeration – nasty hole. the fight was short and fierce, paddler and boat left hole seperately.
luckily we managed to catch all swimming items before the next cataract.
i decided to better have a look before shooting blind like the others did.
till the confluence with small flumanga creek steep, boulderous class five keeps us attentive. the slide immediately above the confluence gave us a portage and the idea of what might come in the canyons below.
approaching the entrance of the niva canyon we did the next two rapids by eddy hopping. meeting in the last eddy on river left above the entrance drop we discussed the situation.
topik still impressed by his dive ‘n’ swim in the upper drop, kozi paddling in the alps only his third time, arbuz and me realised that a bitter escape might be the best option for the group.
ironically it wasn’t my first time on this river. nearly ten years ago when we were young and wild, i had my first attempt with max jöst and klemmer. in the same eddy we decided to back out because of to much water.
yeah, what more to say? entering the gorge is a hard climb. but doing the same way back including ferry-gliding twice and haggling with the bushes weighs a lot more on your shoulders. typing this it reminds me on my upper-san-giovanni-experience with klemmer and sebbi. with continous rain and far to much water we walked all the way in the valley to the put-in. after klemmer had a close call swimming in the first slide channel we decided to climb out back to the village.
anyway, my polish friends came not only for one day driving 1400 km (one way!!!). we also had some glorious adventures on medelser rhein (medelsbach) in grisons and on legendary verzasca.
starting our run on small cristallina affluent, magnificient slides lead to the confluence with medelsbach.
powerful holes on lower medelsbach inviting us to getting played.
probably the first polish paddlers in ticino we couldn’t miss famous verzasca.
great weekend, fantastic crew, see you again!