Casa de Piedra Rapid
About Casa de Piedra rapid
As you round the corner the clearly visible “Casa Rock” will come into view. The scout is on the right before the pace starts to quicken. The right shore will give you a good view of the first half of the rapid but is blind to the most important and complex moves. While everything flushes downstream, there are enough holes and boulders to make this an uncomfortable place to swim. The long rapid does eventually finish in a pool.
How to run Casa de Piedra rapid
Scout right. Depending on water level and ability you can approach the entrance to the rapid in several ways. While some kayakers do run left of the boulder, we are going to discuss the easier right side. In the entrance, the further right you are the easier it is. Regardless of how close to the Casa rock or shore you decide to be, all the current converges downstream. There is a boulder on river right below the Casa rock that obstructs the view of the second half of the rapid. This boulder is an excellent marker.
At medium/high water, cut beneath this boulder and drive hard to river right. The current will fight you during the ferry so paddle hard. Making this ferry opens up a more manageable boulder garden. There is a really big hole at the top left as you enter. As you exit the boulder garden, the river turns right past a large boulder on the right shore. There is a large hole/wave to the left of the boulder that can be avoided on the left. If you can’t avoid it, punch it straight on with speed. Even if you surf or flip, boats flush out quickly into the pool below.
At low water, that right line may be deep enough for a kayak, but certainly not a raft. This is when rafters and kayakers start running the “toilet bowl move.” Continue past that marker boulder with right to left momentum. There is a large boulder in the center of the river that you want to go left of. This boulder creates an eddy/hole/lateral wave thing that turns hard to the right. If you are directly to the left of the boulder, you are going to get pounded. Stay three meters or so to the left of the rock and use that feature to spin you right past the eddyhole/wave. After this move there will be a couple easy holes to contend with, but that move was the crux!
Toilet move at low water. Photo by Steve Merrow.
Entrance at low water. Photo by Steve Merrow.