After a snowy winter in Switzerland, and a great time in the Caribbean teaching kayaking, I was once again back in my paradise on the shores of the Futaleufu river in Chile.

We spent two weeks paddling, horsebackriding, building, making furniture for the cabin etc, and was blessed with sunshine all around. It was an amazing time with good friends, and the place is looking better and better every year. Ron´s carpentry skills definitely come in handy, even if he swears over chilean tools and ways once in a while!

Three days of driving has put us in Villa O´higgins, at the end of the Carretera Austral. Ron and myself will today paddle into Lago Christie, hike over a pass and drop into Lago Alegre. This was our put-in during the first descent of the rio Bravo in 2006, when we used a floatplane to get in. At the confluence with the Bravo we will shoulder our boats and walk upstream, to see what lies in the headwaters of the river. Depending on what we find, we should be back out in civilization in a weeks time.


See you all then, enjoy the photos from the past two weeks!






After a great, snowy winter practising my sking in Switzerland, getting a little bit of a break from the kayaking, I headed to the Caribbean two weeks ago. I love the contrasts of my life!

I am lucky enough to work for www.studyaway.no and the school Høgskolen i Finnmark each spring and fall sememster, teaching kyaking and spanish to norwegian students in the Dominican Republic. Kayaking is only one of the activities they get to try out, there is also surfing, swimming, kiting etc, along with an important amount of community work.

It is really a great experience, which gathers a fine group of people every semester.




It seems like 3-4 students pick up the kayaking very quickly every semester, and it is so nice to be able to introduce more people to this amazing sport. We do two pool-sessions, then one day on the river, and one day in the ocean. In addition, I will throw in some extra roll practises here and there if the students are keen.

When not out in the water with the students, I have been able to go surfing in Playa Encuentro, one of the best surfspots to learn this art form! I have made the step onto the smaller boards, and can even stand up for a few seconds now. 🙂 I have a great deal of respect for the ocean already, stemming from a lot of surfkayaking, but it is great to experience a new way of playing with the elements.

In addition, I have enjoyed yoga classes in the evenings. This is actually my first time getting proper yoga lessons, and it definitely makes a lot of difference, and I am able to balance poses I never thought I could two weeks ago. 

Both activities have been very fulfilling, as I have watched many sunrises from my surfboard and many sunsets from the lofty rooftop while practising new poses. Both have given me peace of mind and a strong sense of simply being in the moment, appreciating my life, my friends, my surroundings and myself.



I now feel re-vitalized and ready for adventures in Patagonia, starting next week.. Can not wait to paddle, see new rivers, and enjoy the Chilean wilderness once more.. And we have an adventure or two up our sleeves as well.




Winter Wonderland


Ever since I got to know Ron he has claimed that 2011/2012 would be the best year ever for snow in Switzerland. I never believed him of course, based on the past two years of hardly any snow in the Alps, and my own general bad luck with the fluffy powder. (It never snows when I am around..) It looked like I was right for a long time, and we were paddling well into december and darker days. 




The Roffla is a comitting, tight, technical and COLD creek that cuts through the eastern swiss mountains like a knife, with sheer granite walls and deep canyons. It also normally does not have water, as it is dammed like so many of the swiss rivers. Kindlly enough the hydrocompany had to do some repairs in december, so the Swiss Ninja-warriors gathered their troops to rally this little, hidden gem. And of course I tagged along. 





It was a cold and steep day, with a few bad lines from yours truly, resulting in some fancy scars on my knuckles. I also realised that the big Remix is not the boat for me in such tight lines, ( I should have known that since I took Shane´s boat down the Ravensfork in North Carolina last year.. ) and that I really do not follow the flow when I am worried about every icy splash of water I get in the face. Nevertheless, I smiled (most of) the entire day, and was stoked to see a hidden corner of the well-known Switzerland. And yeah, the paddling was not class three either. 






But then the snow finally arrived, and it has not stopped snowing since. It seems like I spend half my time shoveling away snow from my old trusty van, or digging out the front door, and the other half of the day buried deep in my medieval books of latin and old scandi-languages. (yeah, trying to finish up a master thesis in history..) We can hardly see out of the kitchen window because of the snow, and the amount of powder we have been shredding the past month is just ridiculous.


Not that I am a good skier. I have done two or three half seasons since I stopped snowboarding 13 years ago, and some random days here and there. But it seems like I get motivated by the snow just like the water, it is fun to charge! Hence I try and follow the boys in the backcountry, with horrendous style, but a lot of willpower to go fast and take chances.

I always knew Ron was a good snowboarder, not at least since he has been on the Swiss national team for Boardercross until he broke his back one time too many, but I actually did not think he was this good. Shredding steep lines at huge speed, flying off cliffs and pillows, and then even being a good skier. Seeing him getting more and more confident on his board this past month has only inspired me to get better on my two skiis as well, as there is no way I am gonna have him and Lukas complaining about having to wait for me! 🙂 Cheers to the guys for helping me see the lines in the backcountry, I am definitely a class three skier still.. 

Enjoy some random photos of the fall and winter season here in Snowy Swiss Wonderland! 






The Abyss of the Apurimac


The Apurimac flows hastily from Nevado Mismi (5597 mts) in the region of Arequipa in southern Peru. Hurrying on its way to the jungle, it is the source of the Amazon river, the world´s largest river system. On its way it travels through countless canyons, deeply embedded into the Andes mountains. At times these canyons are twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and as it turned out, I happened to be paddling through those profound realms just a month ago.


There are no crazy waterfalls on the Apurimac, no huge slides to bomb down, nor are there any ”deepest canyon of the world” to pass through. Unless you belive the rafting companies of course. It is not the place where you set up a fancy camera and shoot one rapid for hours on end, and you don´t even do lapses on a rapid even if it was fun as hell. Though, as soon as you  mention to any of the locals that you are going to run the Abissmo de Acombamba their eyes narrow. There are so many stories, rumours and anticipations about this seldom run three-day section of the Apurimac, it gets you wondering.

At put in, we quietly slid into the water at Banos Ccunoc, the popular hot springs resting at the river side a few kilometers below the normal raft section. We were an internattional team, with Ron Fischer (SUI), Julio Vargas (Peru), Julian Schaefer (GER) and myself, alternating conversations in german, spanish and english. . I think we all realized quickly that something special was about to happen. As this section of river is often referred to as simply ”the Abyss”, I was not surprised to see  the arid mountainsides immideately starting to loom over us like sleeping giants. Paddling in the back of the group, I got a hunch of what was to come as I watched the mountainsides pull closer.


While reading the reports from previous trips the weeks prior to this moment, I had been wondering why we even wanted to go in there. Blind rapids, blind and unportagable box-canyons, huge swims and beatings, giant rapids, rockfalls onto the campspots, huge, intimidating thunder storms, problems with narco trafficking guerillja, and it seemd simply full on in every aspect, not just the whitewater.

As it turned out, it was not just a great idea, it was a freakin great idea! 

Day one was easy-going when it came to the whitewater, even if I found my own little personal vendetta in a sneaky, blind class four. My wrong line took me straight into a nasty pocket-hole, where I ended up grinding my head on a rock underwater and finally bailed. We decided that scouting was in order from then on.

The beauty of the Abyss was from another world, and one that the other missons failed to mention. Even if the whitewater was brilliant, it was the sheer beauty of this place that enchanted me for three days and two nights. The first box canyon was as intimidating as it gets. The walls closed in, there were a few blind chutes to chose from, and even if you thought that your pick was the good one, there really was no way of telling until somebody dropped over the horizon line. The hardest part though was to simply focus on the whitewater, the eddies, the strokes and the river, as I could not stop staring up and down the canyon. Deep, deep and narrow, with the whitewater echoing eerily between the canyon walls. It was dark in there, and powerful.  


At the end of day two we dropped into the steepest section of river. Up until then the whitewater had gotten more and more difficult, and many times I found myself at the bottom of the rapids we had scouted and run, shaking my head and swearing that they just did not look that steep from shore. The lines were technical and blocked, though at least always fair. However, the last few rapids before camp had more of a punch to them, and we knew that day two would be a long one as we pulled into the last campspot before the steepness took over. Five minutes after the tents were up the Abissmo gave us another great show. Huddling under a big boulder we watched in awe as lightning crisscrossed the sky and the thunder rumbled through the canyon, it hailed, then it rained. A lot. Landslides were echoing throughout the night, making us feel even smaller.

Day two started out steep, and blocked. The low water made the rapids less pushy, but at the same time we had less options of where to paddle. Most of the lines involved avoiding huge siphons, ferrying back and forth through messy whitewater, and would have made any Oetz-tal boater the happiest ever. Ron was grinning for about four hours straight, I had my game-face on as I have never in my life seen so many siphons!

Passing under a foot bridge, our friend Julio pointed upwards to the sky, telling us about the ruins of  the inca city of Chocquequirao. It had been protected by its remoteness for centuries, and has often been called ”Machu Picchu´s sacred sister”. I could almost feel hidden eyes following us down the river from those ancient ruins, and I decided that the next time I run this river I will allow two days extra to hike up the trail and get a glimpse of an ancient past.

The second day we camped on the most beautiful campspot ever. A huge boulder sheltered the camp from the elements, and a nice little beach welcomed us as we paddled to shore. Amazingness all around. We woke up to the third blue-bird day, and got on with the quest. Downstream laid the unscoutable canyons we had read about in the online reports, and we anticipated hugeness. Passing a big sidecreek called Quebrada Arma, the river dropped  some good gradient, forcing us to get out and try and scout the exit of the rapid. It was kind of scoutable from the middle, where Ron scrambled on top of some rocks and then pointed out a bony line down the middle. The walls were towering over us, and the atmosphere turned eerie. However, as it turned out, also because of the low waterlevel, it was mostly a nice class four/five paddle the rest of the day, through more of the amazingly deep canyons that allow notthing or anybody to escape.

Arriving at Puente Pasajes we did not even wait five minutes before the taxi we had hired from Cusco came cruising down the marginal road. It has taken the driver 12 hours.. Four boats and six people jammed into the little car, and of course there was no roofrack so we strapped everything down the cowboy-way. (lots of throwbags, some carabiners and a lot of faith..) The drive back involved crossing a 3000 meter high pass, and as I peeked back into the canyons of the Abyss from the ridge, I realised just how far away from anything we had been. No big missons of filming, no new crazy first descent, just simply four people out on a little adventure in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.