Rio Embudo with CKS Squad and Staff Members
Photos by Tim Kelton and Chris Menges.
New Mexico Trip! First Creekboating of the season! Embudo!
During the last weekend of April a group of CKS staff and squad members met up for a couple or runs down New Mexico's Rio Embudo. Our sizable group included local NM paddlers Atom Crawford and Tim Kelton, Ft. Collins Squad member Leif Embertson and Salida, CO CKS staffers Mike Tavares, Nicole Mansfield and Chris Menges. While Atom was celebrating his 205th run on the Embudo, the group contained several first timers who were excited for their first funneling.
Like many high mountain runs, the Embudo's put in offers excellent view of surrounding peaks, pueblos and valleys, as well as a short hike down to the put in. Nicole Mansfield hiking down to put on the Embudo. Tim Kelton sports some of the best creek gear available....sweet! The group getting ready to dust off the winter cobwebs.... ...and stoked to be on the water!
After some quality class 3-4+ boogie water in the initial miles of the run, we arrive at Cheesegrater rapid, a 3 part drop with some fun moves and a great boof at the top.

Leif Embertson styling the top boof on Cheesegrater.

And breezing through the bottom and crux section of the drop.

Mike Tavares (Monrach Mountain's ski/snowboard park director) drops into the lower (crux) part of cheesegrater. Notice the cool pipeline-looking wave by his right hand.

Leif Coming through the bottom part of Cheesegrater.

After more quality and heads up boogie water, paddlers reach MJ falls. While the line here looks relatively straight forward, a mistake would land a paddler in a hole which is backed on river left by an undercut rock. This little piece of the rapid is not a 'happy' place.

Here, Nicole and Atom contemplate a line on MJ and evaluate the risk to reward balance. Notice Atom's set up for creek runs; A rescue PFD with knife, whistle and quick access throw-rope and a 4 season drytop for warmth in variable weather conditions. Nicole was rockin' her new full face FNA helmet. Most of the group decided to portage MJ this time. The short and easy portage gave us an excellent opportunity to appreciate our beautiful desert canyon surroundings. More boogie water after MJ. Great moves, challenging enough to be heads up and exciting, the in between water on the Embudo is a great part of any run. The crux of the run is the Slots of Fun rapid, which contains a 5 tiered lead in rapid after which it is possible to catch an eddy on river right, just at the lip of the main Slots of Fun slot drop. We scouted the lead in rapid on the first run. After the scout, we were all in agreement that we wanted to be "center, center, left , left, right, right" into the eddy above Slots.

Chris Menges and Mike Tavares in the lead in to the eddy above Slots. Chris and Mike heading for the second left boof. 3 moves down, 3 to go. If you don't get the boof all the way on the left, a nasty piton or vertical pin is a possibility.

Chris and Mike after the "center, center, left, left" part, headed towards the two right moves.

Atom Crawford enjoying his new Mega Rocker and getting 'er done. Slots lead in rapid.

Leif Embertson, solid, confident and on line. Mid way through the Slots entry rapid.

Tim Kelton and Nicole Mansfield on the final "right, right" moves of the Slots entry rapid. Our goal was to boof into the eddy behind the 'shark fin' rock on river right.

Safe! TK makes the eddy while Nicole sets her angle and eyes the shark fin rock intently.

The main and crux portion of Slots is a 2 part drop. A small 3 foot ledge feeds you into quickly moving water that takes you towards the lip of the near vertical 10 foot slot drop. The key here is to launch the main part of the drop in the center, thereby avoiding the walls on both the right and left sides of the drop.

Tim Kelton was leading and probing all day. Here TK shows us how to run Slots.

Mike Tavares used what he learned while watching TK's line to fire off this perfect Slots line with a boof of the center rock fin.

Nicole Mansfield runs Slots of Fun. View from the bottom.

Leif Embertson demonstrates a smooth Slots technique, viewed here from the top....

...as well as from the bottom of the drop.

Chris Menges takes a stroke and pulls his knees up. This will keep the bow of the boat elevated when landing. Center line boof. Photo courtesy of TK's sweet $200 camera!

Atom Crawford in the bottom Slots eddy, making sure everyone comes through. Atom has paddled this run more than 200 times and definitely knows where to be.
Thanks to the CKS New Mexico crew for a great weekend on the Embudo! As a final note, one of the definite highlights of our days on the Embudo was the fresh green chile breakfast burritos at the Pilar Yacht club. Yum!

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