Mundaca is the high point of any run down the Bridge-to-Bridge section of the Futaleufu. On the Lower Futaleufu, Mundaca is third in intensity and difficulty behind Casa de Piedra and Mas o Menos. The boulders in this rapid have tumbled down from one of the two side creeks that enter the rapid on river-left and on river-right. The rapid is named after the local landowner who owns the property on river-right. In addition to being a great whitewater run Mundaca is one of the few rapids on this section of the river that is easily accessible to spectators from the Futaleufu Valley Road.
Low and High Water
This rapid, at high-flows, offers a one of a kind big water experience. Everything gets larger except the actual Mundaca Wave-Hole will start to wash-out. In low water the rapid gets more manageable but the actual Mundaca Wave-hole becomes more defined and more retentive. At extreme low water (once in twenty years, 1997) the Mundaca Wave-hole becomes an ugly, pour-over keeper that needs to be completely avoided.
There are two options here. Boat scout the rapid from the high eddy on river-left or paddle down further on river-right and scout from shore. If you do scout on the right, it is more challenging to get over to the center route if you decide to run that line.
In the Approach: On the approach to Mundaca there are two, retentive, offset ledge-holes, in the center channel; these need to be skirted to river-right. There is another ledge-hole on river-right that also needs to be avoided. The approach on river-left is a wide shallow area studded with rocks that is best avoided altogether. In the rapid itself there are many ledges, holes and rocks on the river-left side but these hazards are easily avoided by running through the center.
In the Rapid: At river-center, after the first v-tongue, there are a number of wave-holes that are best skirted to the left unless you want the roll practice before the Mundaca Wave itself. The first and biggest is Mini-Mundaca. The final hazard of this rapid is the massive Mundaca Wave-hole. There is little chance of being retained by this feature, however, the impact with the hole can be powerful and abrupt. Over the years the force has been great enough to break a paddle or two, blow a spray skirt and even inflict a mild concussion. However Mundaca is most often run head-on with no consequence. If you flip before Mundaca Wave-hole it is best to go through upside-down rather than risk rolling up in the trough and the colliding with the face. (Ostrich Technique)
For the most part Mundaca is a very forgiving rapid. If you have a good roll and the determination to stay in your boat, running this rapid should not be a problem.
The two ledge-holes on the approach at river-center are playable for paddlers with the skill, especially for retentive vertical moves. Catch them on-the-fly - if you dare! The Mundaca Wave-hole is also surf-able and serviced by great eddies.
Where to Swim
Swim left if you are running the center or left-lines. Swim right if you are running the right-line.
Where to Rescue
Optimum is to have a rescue kayaker on each side of the Mundaca Wave-hole. If only one safety kayaker is available the left eddy is preferable. Swimmers and gear can be collected in the river-right eddy after peeling-out from the river-left eddy and offering a grab loop.
Where to Portage
You can take-out on river-right and portage on the rocks around the main drop.
Running the Rapid
There are three initial approach options for running this rapid that all recombine in the main channel.
Center Route from River-Left
Eddy-out on river-left far above the rapid. From this eddy you will be able to spot (boat scout) the two central ledge-holes that need to be skirted to river-right. (Staying or approaching from river-left is full of hazards.) After passing the second ledge-hole, cut in behind the slack water from the hole to position yourself in the central v-tongue. Get ready to move river-left to avoid the first wave-hole called Mini-Mundaca.
Center Route from River-Right
Approach Mundaca by moving along the river right shore and eddy-out above the Crown of Rocks. From here you can get out of your kayak and scout the entire rapid from the right shoreline. Exit this scout eddy by paddling upstream and ferrying out to the center of the river avoiding the river-right ledge-hole. Don’t go too far river-left so as to encounter the two offset ledge holes on river-left. After passing the right ledge-hole, head down the central v-tongue and look out for the first wave-hole called Mini-Mundaca.
Back Together on River Center
Proceed down the first v-tongue with a slight right-to-left boat angle so as to avoid Mini-Mundaca at river center - skirting it on river-left. Stay left-of-center for the rest of the run avoiding the two other central wave-holes. When you see the left diagonal develop in front of you and to the left, charge the weakest part of it that you can find, and keep paddling after you have punched it. If you do this you can guarantee missing the Mundaca Wave-hole.
The more adventurous paddler will probably want to challenge the Mundaca Wave-hole directly. Prepare to be back-endered and roll up in the wavetrain behind the Mundaca Wave-hole. Eddy-out on river-right and paddle back upstream.
From the scout eddy enter the river below the ledge-hole at river-right. This will put you on a river-right v-tongue above The Crown of Rocks. You will join the main flow with a right-to-left momentum that will allow you to penetrate the river-left shoulder of Mini-Mundaca. Once past Mini-Mundaca stay river-left to avoid the other wave-holes and power into the left side eddy next to the Mundaca Wave-hole.
Paddlers coming down the river-right side may opt to cut river-right, above Mini-Mundaca, and eddy-out behind The Crown of Rocks.
- Running Mundaca going river-river right of the Mini-Mundaca wave-hole. Eddying-out behind The Crown of Rocks. Video
- Some perfect and not so perfect runs of Mundaca going river-left of the Mini-Mundaca wave-hole. Video
Disclaimer: Under no circumstances should paddlers substitute the information and diagrams in this guidebook for their own sound judgment on the river and their collective experience running rivers. This guidebook is based on Expediciones Chile's twenty years of experience running the Futaleufu River. However, the diagrams and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get here. They are not to scale and nor are they completely accurate. Water levels change, rocks move around, landslide debris can enter the river at any time making the diagrams obsolete. Expediciones Chile also reserves the right to update these diagrams and descriptions at any time as we find better ways to illustrate and discuss the rapids. Use this guidebook at your own risk.Read More: Disclaimer