Wall Shot is essentially a huge, straight ramp directed into a large pool, where the current starts to buck, decelerate and subduct before it runs into a wall. At the wall, two thirds of the river takes a ninety-degree right turn where the river finally calms down. One third of the river is pushed into a big re-circulating Whirlpool Eddy on the left. To depart this eddy without getting pushed back into the wall is a challenge. This entire de-acceleration pool is full of vertical explosion waves, folding subductions, upwellings, aeration zones and whirlpools. It is impressive stimuli for any kayaker. At the bottom on river-right there is a big regroup eddy.
High and Low Water
At low water the rapid tends to become less pushy and there is more time to maneuver before the main current runs into the wall. At high water the rapid becomes even larger and more explosive with stronger currents slamming into the wall.
Boat-scout from river-center above the main tongue or from the eddy on river left above the rapid. There is also a risky eddy on river-right just above the main v-tongue that can serve as a scouting point at certain water levels. Using the river-right eddy is not recommended as exiting it sometimes requires running the rapid from right-to-left and into the Whirlpool Eddy at the bottom.
The wall and its subduction zone are the greatest hazards in this drop. The next greatest concern is the sizable and difficult to depart Whirlpool Eddy on river-left. It is best to avoid the whole mess by heading river-right. This rapid is a definite Class V at higher water levels.
Mystery moves are an option on some of the whirlpools on river-right. Surfing diagonally at the top of the Whirlpool Eddy is also a possibility. This was done numerous times by Team Timex in the filming of PaddleQuest. This is true class V+ playing.
Where to Swim
This is not a rapid to swim in. The subduction zone along the wall could take a swimmer down longer than they could hold their breath. The deceleration zone above the wall could exhaust a swimmer. Under no circumstances should a swimmer from The Gates of Infierno be allowed to enter this rapid. Should this frightening scenario happen, there is a small last stop, emergency eddy on river-left just above the rapid.
Where to Rescue
Rescue kayakers can wait on the river-right eddy at the bottom of the rapid and be prepared to make the move out into the chaos and offer a grab loop or flotation to a swimmer. An expert kayaker who has practiced balancing with a swimmer on the grab loop is the only person who should attempt rescues along the wall. Otherwise you may have two people in trouble in a very hazardous place. It is possible to walk up and out of the river left Whirlpool Eddy to a dirt road / horse trail carved in the canyon wall above. This is the only spot in the entire Infierno Canyon where this type of exit is reasonably possible for someone without significant climbing experience.
Where to Portage
A portage is possible, though not advisable, down to the pool below. It takes more skill to get out of the Whirlpool Eddy and to cross the river in front of the wall than it does to run the drop itself and avoiding the Whirlpool Eddy altogether.
Running the Rapid
From mid-river, paddle down the center tongue aiming river-right. You will want to charge the wave where there is less water reversing on itself. At most water levels there will be weak spots or “hidden passes” in the wave-holes that follow the center tongue. These weak spots move around. However, if you find them there is an excellent chance of not flipping before the wall. If you get back-endered and flip, roll quickly and move to river-right. Finish the rapid in the eddy on the right around the corner. If you find yourself heading for the wall you can charge the left Whirlpool Eddy instead of hitting the wall. This will buy you time to rest and the chance to ferry across the crazy subductions and upwellings to get to the Promised Land of the river-right eddy. If you get up on the wall you can surf the ribbon along the entire length of the wall. It is possible to tilt the kayak’s upstream edge skyward so it is not affected by the subduction zone along the wall. Support this tilt while you low brace on the ribbon of pillowed water against the wall. Do not flip over trying this however.
- Corran Addison playing on the Wall Shot pillow. PaddleQuest 1996 Video
Copyrights: (Copyright © 2006, Expediciones Chile) All photos, maps, diagrams, text and computer code is the copyrighted property of Expediciones Chile with all rights reserved.
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