ioCrew Member Chris Baer travels the world searching for the most exciting kayaking adventures he can find. His sport of choice has most recently taken him to South America which, as he explains, is known for its difficult kayaking and amazing scenery. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to catch up with us and fill us in on what he’s been up to. It’s been an adventurous couple of months to say the least, but not without its challenges of course!Chris jumped on a plane from Atlanta, Georgia to Santiago, Chile almost three months ago for what was his third trip to South America. Now having arrived back home in the USA, Chris looks back on this trip knowing he spent three amazing months chasing what he loves most – extreme kayaking.
Spending a lot of time in the Patagonia region of Chile, Chris said the weather was really temperamental, so naturally, he was glad to have packed some of his favourite ioMerino gear. He says, “I wouldn’t go on a three month trip without my ioMerino”.
“I wear the Boxers and Altitude Zip on the water every day. They’re the perfect layering system under my gore-tex. Lightweight, breathable, warm enough to protect me from the glacial waters, but not so hot that I’m dripping in sweat. It’s amazing how well the wool does at climate control.
“I also brought my Summit Hoodie. It’s so nice to crawl into after working on water all day. I’m consistently amazed at how much abuse I put the wool layers through and how they are just as comfy and warm after these punishing trips”.
Chris says he’s been traveling the world looking for places to kayak for a long time, but he’s always wanted to go back to South America. Not only are the landscapes completely spectacular, he’s so far had plenty of ‘steep creeking’ opportunities, which he explains is one of his favourite parts of the sport.Not sure what steep creeking is? Well, to be completely truthful, neither were we to begin with. Chris so kindly put it into words a non-kayaking enthusiast could relate to. “I think about steep creeking being any time the river looks marginally floatable and the gradient looks way too steep for boating, it’s my favourite,’ he says.
Still don’t get it? This video might help…
As exciting as it all is for Chris, he also understands it’s not for the faint hearted and comes with some seriously dangerous consequences. During one of his recent runs, he and his professional kayaker friends – Mark and Aeon – got word about a relatively new section of water that people were starting to paddle, La Cocina.
La Cocina started with a twisting three stage drop, which was where Chris got back-ended by Aeon. Chris’s paddle got blown out of his hand and before he knew it he found himself with one leg in and one leg out of his kayak directly above a six foot ledge. He decided completely jumping out of the kayak was the best strategy, so he went head first down the vertically-walled hallway. He eventually pulled himself up onto a small ledge where Mark and Aeon would attempt to pull him out of the canyon with a belay system.
After numerous failed attempts, they decided the current belay system wasn’t working, so eventually settled on a two-to-one system where Chris was able to help pull himself out of the canyon. Thanks to the group being prepared and well experienced, everyone went home safe and uninjured that day.
Be sure to keep up with the rest of Chris’s adventures here.