In between Gene17’s trip in Soča and Valsesia, I needed to clean up 22 Trnovo after the recent construction, and get to Milan to collect friends for a weeks Ticino action. Well I turned up a day late, and then we headed for some San Giovanni water fall action. This rain fed run near Verbania is an excellent canyon trip, plus a few years back I did the rarely run upper section. Its all a little narrow granite bedrock creekin’ all within a very green and heavily wooden valley. A very beautiful place for a group of paddlers looking for action. We hit the series of drops that featured in the legendary “Family Mad” topo boating video of the earlier 90’s. Great fun was had, especially for those paddlers looking to get on the steeps after a winter of no boating.
The rain did not stop, all night long, we headed to a wild camping spot with a prefect place to cook, a rough lean-too, and I fired up the stove to produce a wine laden pasta dish. As we enjoyed dinner in the growing darkness, the rain abated, with the moon revealing that the snow line had dropped considerably to some 250 metres above us. It was a cold night. Bluebird sunshine greeted us in the morning, and a fine breakfast in the mountains, the cafe flowed and my new favour Dorset Cereals museli with yogurt and bananas was enjoyed. We head to the Valle Verzasca, and were not disappointed, this superb run was in prime condition.
Highlights of the run are hard to pinpoint, its all pretty world class. The middle section is a boulder garden event, lots of rock spins, grinds and flares to enjoy. With our merry group of 8 paddlers, it turn out to be a race for the best move, all the time we descended the run, more water cascaded in off huge waterfalls. The landscape is more Yosemite than Alpine, with massive magma tower, and wide sweeping bedrock of the smoothes granite a paddler could hope for. As we headed into the Lower section, the sport increased and we upped our game. The New School Grad drop is a favourite of mine, however at the level we had it 30-35cumecs or so, there is a wonderful rock 360 grind slide just above Black Knight, that I really enjoy to nail. Below is a sequence of Dave Carroll enjoying the grind.
That evening I took the night train to Passau to pick up Gene17’s new road warrior, a mid height long wheel based MB Sprinter minibus. With the trip business growing fast, the need for a second car was too much. So I bite the bullet, borrowed from my not so helpful UK bank and brought a silver surfer of the van. This van will be used on the new D4DR WW programme starting next month in Slovenia. The D4DR is our new instructor training programme, based at 22 Trnovo, and will have Deb Pinniger, Leo Hoare and myself delivering this exciting course.
Another Winter clicks on by, and what a Winter it has been, high snow falls, an excellent snow pack across the European Alps and Norway. That was the thoughts that ran across my mine through Early Spring. And up until recently, it has been a been a real red letter Spring. Fine water and sunny days in Soča, a friends trip to Ticino and then great conditions in Valsesia. The day the G17 trips finished in Italy, the rains started and so the great Spring swung to extremely high water conditions. As I type this, its been high action, and then closed rivers in France. The Eastern Alps is finally drying out, yet it has been heavy conditions, and thus what one can expect after such a strong Winter. As they say, be careful what you wish for.