A Tribute to Jimmie Angel – The overland route by Ruth Robertson to Angel Falls

Posted on July 13, 2012 · Posted in article

During the week of June 28th to July 5th a group of 13 folks consisting of mainly Americans were led by Karen Angel (Jimmie Angel’s niece) and Angel-Eco / Angel Conservation’s President Paul Stanley to Angel Falls on a special expedition in aid of the Jimmie Angel Historical Project (www.jimmieangel.org).

The JAHP was founded in 1996 with the mission of fostering research, providing accurate information about Jimmie Angel and his colleagues and their era of exploration with an emphasis on Venezuelan exploration during the 1920s – 1940s. The JAHP maintains an archive of photographs and documents for writers, filmmakers, journalists, museum curators, teachers and students. With much needed funds being generated from this trip the JAHP intends to publish a Jimmie Angel photo biography. It also supports the proper conservation of his airplane “El Rio Caroni” which is on display at the Ciudad Bolivar Airport. Karen Angel and Paul Stanley are among the JAHP board members as well as Venezuelan board members Isabel Barton and Jorge Gonzalez.

The trip was 8 days in its entirety starting from Maiquetia airport in Caracas on June 29th before landing on the same landing strip in Uruyén (Kamarata Valley, Canaima National Park), where both Jimmie Angel and Ruth Robertson set up base camps before their respective expeditions to Auyántepui and Angel Falls.

The first few days were spent in the stunning valley of Kamarata overnighting at the Pemón lodges of Uruyén and Kavak. The group enjoyed hiking, trekking, visiting canyons with spectacular waterfalls and swimming beneath them as well as visiting local Pemón indigenous communities along the way.

We were all treated to a wonderful cultural event in Kavak organized by the community of Santa Marta before departing the next morning by curiara (dugout canoe) on a two day trip to Angel Falls by river.

Two nights were spent at a lodge in front of the falls (sleeping in hammocks) giving everyone time to take in the ever changing spectacle across the river. Angel Falls (Churún Vená) is the earth’s tallest waterfall, 15 times higher than Niagara Falls. Its first drop is 2,648 feet; its total 3,212 feet (979 metres). The world’s tallest waterfall is named after American aviator-explorer James “Jimmie” Crawford Angel (1899-1956). Angel first saw the waterfall 18 November 1933 while flying solo in the Churún Canyon (also known as Devil’s Canyon) in the heart of the vast tabletop mesa known as Auyántepui.

For Karen it was as special memory as the ashes of her late uncle were spread over the falls 52 years previously to the day (July 2nd) and she had time to meet the family of Jimmie’s adopted son Manuel Ugarte in Kamarata en route. The family has grown over the years; there are four surviving sons and a daughter plus all of their children. For the rest of us it was just as special being part of this all.

All in all it was a wonderful trip thoroughly enjoyed by all, adventure, culture and nature all rolled into one! We will be repeating this in 2014 all being well.

Durante la semana del 28 junio-5 julio un grupo de 13 personas principalmente americanos fueron dirigidos por Karen Ángel (La sobrina de Jimmie Ángel) y Paul Stanley Director de Angel-Eco y Presidente de Angel Conservación al Salto Ángel en una expedición especial de ayuda al Proyecto Histórico Jimmie Angel (www.jimmieangel.org).

Dicha organización (JAHP) fue fundada en 1996 con el objetivo de apoyar la investigación, proveer información acertada y científica sobre la era donde Jimmie Angel y su equipo exploraron durante los años 1920-1940. JAHP mantiene un amplio archivo de fotografías y documentos de escritores, cineastas, periodistas, conservadores de museos, profesores y estudiantes que ilustran y apoyan dichas exploraciones. Con los fondos recaudados de este viaje auspiciado por JAHP se intenta publicar la biografía en fotografías de Jimmie Angel. También apoya la conservación de la aeronave “El Río Caroní” la cual reposa en el Aeropuerto en Ciudad Bolívar. Karen Angel y Paul Stanley forman parte del cuerpo de directores, de igual manera Isabel Barton y Jorge González en Venezuela.

El viaje fue de 8 días en su totalidad a partir desde el aeropuerto de Maiquetía en Caracas el 29 de junio, antes de aterrizar en la misma en Uruyén (Valle de Kamarata, Parque Nacional Canaima), donde tanto Jimmie Angel como Ruth Robertson establecieron campamentos antes de sus respectivas expediciones al Auyantepuy y el Salto Angel.

Los primeros días los pasamos en el impresionante valle de Kamarata y las noches fueron aún más impresionantes en los refugios Pemón de Uruyen y Kavak. El grupo disfrutó de senderismo, visitar los cañones con cascadas espectaculares y nadar por debajo de ellas, así como visitar las comunidades indígenas Pemón locales  a lo largo del camino.

Nos recibieron con un evento cultural en Kavak organizado por la comunidad de Santa Marta. Luego partimos en la mañana siguiente en un viaje en curiara (canoa) de dos días a El Salto del Ángel río abajo.

Durante dos noches nos alojamos en un hotel frente a las cataratas (en hamacas) dando tiempo a todos de disfrutar del espectáculo siempre cambiante del río. El Salto del Ángel (Churún Vená) es la cascada más alta de la Tierra, 15 veces mayor que las cataratas del Niágara. Su primera caída es 2,648 pies; el total de 3,212 pies (979 metros). La cascada más alta del mundo le debe sul nombre al aviador y explorador Americano James “Jimmie” Crawford Ángel (1899-1956). Angel vio por primera vez la cascada el 18 Noviembre 1933 mientras volaba en solitario sobre el Cañón Churún (también conocido como el Cañón del Diablo) en el corazón de la gran mesa conocida como Auyantepuy.

Karen recordó con especial entusiasmo como las cenizas de su difunto tío se extendieron por las cataratas 52 años atrás (02 de julio). Tuvo la gran oportunidad  de conocer a la familia de Jimmie, hijo adoptivo de Manuel Ugarte en Kamarata. La familia ha crecido a lo largo de los años; hay cuatro hijos sobrevivientes y una hija además de todos sus hijos. Para el resto de nosotros significó tanto como para Karen ser parte de toda esta experiencia.

Definitivamente, fue un viaje maravilloso, disfrutamos de todo lo que vimos, de la aventura, la cultura y la naturaleza, todo concentrado en un solo viaje. ¡Repetiremos esta misma experiencia este año… si todo va bien! ¿Te animas?

 During the week of June 28th to July 5th a group of 13 folks consisting of mainly Americans were led by Karen Angel (Jimmie Angel’s niece) and Angel-Eco / Angel Conservation’s President Paul Stanley to Angel Falls on a special expedition in aid of the Jimmie Angel Historical Project (www.jimmieangel.org).

The JAHP was founded in 1996 with the mission of fostering research, providing accurate information about Jimmie Angel and his colleagues and their era of exploration with an emphasis on Venezuelan exploration during the 1920s – 1940s. The JAHP maintains an archive of photographs and documents for writers, filmmakers, journalists, museum curators, teachers and students. With much needed funds being generated from this trip the JAHP intends to publish a Jimmie Angel photo biography. It also supports the proper conservation of his airplane “El Rio Caroni” which is on display at the Ciudad Bolivar Airport. Karen Angel and Paul Stanley are among the JAHP board members as well as Venezuelan board members Isabel Barton and Jorge Gonzalez.

The trip was 8 days in its entirety starting from Maiquetia airport in Caracas on June 29th before landing on the same landing strip in Uruyén (Kamarata Valley, Canaima National Park), where both Jimmie Angel and Ruth Robertson set up base camps before their respective expeditions to Auyántepui and Angel Falls.

The first few days were spent in the stunning valley of Kamarata overnighting at the Pemón lodges of Uruyén and Kavak. The group enjoyed hiking, trekking, visiting canyons with spectacular waterfalls and swimming beneath them as well as visiting local Pemón indigenous communities along the way.

We were all treated to a wonderful cultural event in Kavak organized by the community of Santa Marta before departing the next morning by curiara (dugout canoe) on a two day trip to Angel Falls by river.

Two nights were spent at a lodge in front of the falls (sleeping in hammocks) giving everyone time to take in the ever changing spectacle across the river. Angel Falls (Churún Vená) is the earth’s tallest waterfall, 15 times higher than Niagara Falls. Its first drop is 2,648 feet; its total 3,212 feet (979 metres). The world’s tallest waterfall is named after American aviator-explorer James “Jimmie” Crawford Angel (1899-1956). Angel first saw the waterfall 18 November 1933 while flying solo in the Churún Canyon (also known as Devil’s Canyon) in the heart of the vast tabletop mesa known as Auyántepui.

For Karen it was as special memory as the ashes of her late uncle were spread over the falls 52 years previously to the day (July 2nd) and she had time to meet the family of Jimmie’s adopted son Manuel Ugarte in Kamarata en route. The family has grown over the years; there are four surviving sons and a daughter plus all of their children. For the rest of us it was just as special being part of this all.

All in all it was a wonderful trip thoroughly enjoyed by all, adventure, culture and nature all rolled into one! We will be repeating this in 2014 all being well.