Private Trip Outfitting Service - SierraRios

FOR THE GRAND CANYONS OF THE WORLD

Organize your own group of 4+ boaters for a raft-support Grand Canyon style adventure, and SierraRios will help make the trip happen for you.

Don't let complicated logistics, language barriers, or fear of a foreign country stop you from realizing your dream to paddle the best rivers in world. SierraRios can arrange raft/kayak/equipment use, shuttle, food packs, guide(s), and everything else you need for your adventure. This is meant as a service for experienced boaters who can paddle/row their own rafts and kayaks, take care of their own less experienced team members, and set-up/cook at camps.

SierraRios has sets of boating equipment (rafts, kayaks, IKs, boating gear, kitchen items, etc) in different parts of the world ready to help you enjoy a new destination river. Full service can be provided allowing your group to simply show up at the rendezvous point where a guide with van/bus will meet your group and take you to the put-in. You can select your menu - food will be purchased and packed beforehand. You'll help out in most aspects of the trip and be responsible for what happens to you on the water. Although SierraRios is rapidly expanding, currently you can consider the following destination expeditions:

EXPEDITIONS TO CONSIDER:
Check out several of the rivers that you might consider arranging your expedition on:

RÍo Marañon: Grand Canyon of the Amazon (Upper) ** RÍo Marañon: Grand Canyon of the Amazon (MAIN)
116 miles, class IV(V), 12 days ** 188 miles, class IV, 14 days
--
------------------------------------------------------ ** ------------------------------------------------------
Río Usumacinta: Grand Canyon of the Maya ** Río Lacanjá-Lacantún: Pristine Maya Jungle
88 miles, class II-III, 5-8 days ** 62-112 miles, class III-IV, 4-8 days
--
------------------------------------------------------ ** ------------------------------------------------------
Río SanPedro-Grande: Grand Canyon of Bolivia
** Río Picomayo: Grand Canyon of the Pilcomayo
up to 363 miles, class IV, 8-20 days ** 280 miles, class IV, 16 days
--
------------------------------------------------------ ** ------------------------------------------------------
Río Cotahuasi: Deepest Canyon in South America
** Río Colca: 2nd Deepest Canyon in South America
60-101 miles, class IV(V), 5-8 days ** 45-100 miles, class IV(V), 5-8 days
--
------------------------------------------------------ ** ------------------------------------------------------
Río Mulatos-Aros: Sonora Wilderness
Río Neuquén: Argentina Patagonia
94-144 miles, class III-IV, 7-12 days up to 250 miles, class III-IV or II, 6-16 days

Río Marañón and Río Usumacinta are the most popularly contracted trips (in 2015, 8 trips were run on Río Marañón and 5 trips on Río Usumacinta with about half done through Outfitting Services), you certainly can consider the other rivers listed above as well as ones not listed (but accessible from storehouse locations). Unlisted trips possibly consider are Ríos Urubamba, Pampas, Mantaro, Tehuantepec (1 & 2), Conchos, Piaxtla or Presidio.


GOAL:
SierraRios realizes that many people love to enjoy free-flowing rivers, but these rivers are threatened by dams and pollution. We hope that after you experience what the free-flowing river is like, you will be motivated to take some steps toward its protection. Everyone completing a SierraRios trip must submit an evaluation of the river and trip. These can include comments on the unique qualities of the river and whether it deserves protection against damming. We hope you will help publicize the clean free-flowing river: share photos, write and publish articles, post trip reports on boater forums, host slideshow parties for friends. We also hope you will take some action against planned dams: send letters to government officials, "like" pages such as SAVE THE UPPER AMAZON, sign petitions! Sufficient activity in this regard can lead to discounts on future SierraRios trips. Only by developing appreciation of these rivers and taking some action will they be protected!!!


GUIDES:
Most SierraRios river trips pass through areas with local residents and/or indigenous people who can sometimes be suspicious of rafting and kayaking groups. To promote friendly interactions and explain the motives of your group, it is generally essential to have a person fluent in the local language and familiar with the local residents. These circumstances have prompted SierraRios to usually require that a guide accompany private paddling groups on most rivers. Note that although guides will accompany you on your journey, you will make the decisions of when, where and what you do on your trip. The guide(s) will be there to help you realize your goals, organize/pull food for meals, coordinate logistics, provide information, help out in camp, row or safety kayak, and make sure everything runs smoothly with the folks you encounter along the way. Guides generally will be bilingual (e.g., English-Spanish) and from the country the trip occurs. Your group will be assigned at least one guide. While this is different than what is provided by outfitters such as PRO or REO and does add significantly to the cost of the trip, most groups have found the guides essential for a smoothly running trip, in addition to being friendly, helpful, and knowledgable about the local customs, people, and environment.


COSTS:
The base cost rates are comparable to GC Colorado outfitter rates and are the sum of equipment rental, food pack, shuttle/transport costs, donations to villagers/anti-dam efforts, and guide pay. The base costs for SierraRios trips of various lengths are listed below. For trips >10 days, the base rate is $1000 for the first 10 days and $40/day for each additional day beyond that. Note that the first day is considered the day of driving to the river, which may or may not be the launch day. Costs for different length trips are listed below:

11 days = $1040 21 days = $1440
12 days = $1080 22 days = $1480
3 days = $400 13 days = $1120 23 days = $1520
4 days = $500 14 days = $1160 24 days = $1560
5 days = $600 15 days = $1200 25 days = $1600
6 days = $700 16 days = $1240 26 days = $1640
7 days = $780 17 days = $1280 27 days = $1680
8 days = $860 18 days = $1320 28 days = $1720
9 days = $940 19 days = $1360 29 days = $1760
10 days = $1000 20 days = $1400 30 days = $1800



These rates assume a threshold group size of 16 folks. For group sizes smaller than 16, increase the rate per person according to the following schedule:

05% for a group of 14-15
10% for a group of 12-13
15% for a group of 11
20% for a group of 10
25% for a group of 9
30% for a group of 8
40% for a group of 7
50% for a group of 6
60% for a group of 5

If you have a small group and don't mind joining others, you might be eligible for lower pricing if you join a normally scheduled SierraRios trip. Also, in some countries there will be an additional 10% added on for extra costs associated with importations and excessive shuttle lengths/costs. Discuss with Rocky.

The pricing scheme reflects the sum of equipment rental, shuttle, equipment transport, food, guide, donations to villages for security, maps, and coordination. The cost does not reflect any tip to the guide(s) at the end (please be generous and consider a tip of 5-10% of your total depending on # of guides with you). In general, certain items/services can be deducted or added to the overall cost depending on your specific group's needs. Also, there may be some discounts available. For example:

Boats: Kayaks and rafts can be added or subtracted from your group's total according to the RENTAL rates. This applies for other gear as well.
Guide: In some cases, it may not be necessary to have a guide accompany your group on the river. In such circumstances, the group must have someone fluent in the language of the area who previously did the trip with SierraRios, and also provide a larger damage deposit to cover potential loss/damage. [This option is NOT available on certain rivers such as the Usumacinta, Lacanjá, or Marañon downstream of Balsas because knowledgable and/or local guides are required on these sections of river for safety]. The discount would be $50-100/day depending on the river and typical guides pay rate.
Helper: In some cases, a discount of 10-30% may be available to one or two participants in your group who help out with trip preparation beforehand, equipment clean-up afterwards, and the trip journal/evaluataion. This requires arriving 2-3 days ahead of the rest of the your group and staying 1 day extra at the end. Other discounts may be available (e.g., bilingual South American river guides who may serve as SierraRios guides in the future may be eligible for a special rate).
Food: You can plan and purchase your own food if you wish but need to budget enough for the guide(s) as well. Your trip cost would be reduced $16/pp/day (this is approximately the standard food pack rate for GC outfitters and what is budgeted on our trips). If you organize your own food, you'll be given the coolers, boxes and drybags several days before the trip.
Gear: In some areas where SierraRios continues to expand, we need to augment our gear, so you may be eligible for discounts if your group can bring some new gear with you to the destination and leave it (we would send new items to you such as paddles, oars, Paco Pads, PFDs, etc).
Publicity: If you can help with publicity, you might be eligible for some discounts. Discuss with Rocky.


DAMAGE DEPOSIT:
All groups will be required to provide a damage deposit of at least $1000 above the full cost of the trip (larger deposits sometimes are required for rivers with higher risks). Assuming there is no damage or loss, the deposit will be refunded after the trip ends and at least one detailed day-by-day accounting and a full written evaluation is provided regarding the trip and the river. The MSRP of any damaged or lost gear will be deducted from the refunded damage deposit.


RAFTS/KAYAKS:
Your group will row and kayak just like on a normal private trip (see lists of boats: PeruBoats and ChiapasBoats) and be responsible for yourselves on the water and in camp. With the trip contribution formula above you'll get the number of boats listed below (but in general, a raft can be swapped for 3 kayaks and vice-versa). This budgets 2-3 folks on each raft. "Kayaker groups" are those on smaller rivers more suited to kayaking (such as Cotahuasi, Colca, Lacanjá - a discount will often apply for self-support kayaker groups):

-- Mostly rafter group ------ Rafter/kayak mixed group ------ Kayaker group ------
# people # rafts # kayaks/IKs ------ # people # rafts # kayaks/IKs ------ # people # rafts # kayaks/IKs
4 2 0 ------ 4 2 0 ------ 4 1 3
5 2 1 ------ 5 2 1 ------ 5 1 4
6 2 2 ------ 6 2 2 ------ 6 1 5
7 3 0 ------ 7 2 3 ------ 7 1 6
8 3 2 ------ 8 3 2 ------ 8 1 7
9 4 0 ------ 9 3 3 ------ 9 1 8
10 4 1 ------ 10 3 4 ------ 10 2 8
11 4 2 ------ 11 3 5 ------ 11 2 9
12 5 1 ------ 12 4 4 ------ 12 2 10
13 5 2 ------ 13 4 5 ------ 13 2 11
14 5 3 ------ 14 4 6 ------ 14 2 12
15 5 4 ------ 15 4 7 ------ 15 2 13
16 6 3 ------ 16 5 6 ------ 16 2 14
17 6 4 ------ 17 5 7 ------
18 6 5 ------ 18 5 8 ------
19 6 6 ------ 19 5 9 ------
20 7 5 ------ 20 6 8 ------

RAFTS: on larger rivers, the majority of rafts available are 16' self-bailer rafts with NRS frames of either the Compact Outfitter frame type (where you sit on a cooler/drybox; 88" long; 66" wide), BighornI (68" long; 66" wide) or BighornII (88" long; 66" wide) type frames.  Some 16' and 14' catarafts are also available and can complement the self-bailers for carrying certain gear items: catarafts have either a Top Cat frame (72" wide) or Universal frame (66" wide). Most oars are 9' Cataract SGG with Magnum II blades, but some may be 9' Carlisle. There are some 10' Cataract oars, most suited to the wider cataraft frames (72" wide), but there are also some oar extenders that can convert 9' oars to 10' oars. Each raft comes with a set of straps, 1-2 coolers or dryboxes, NRS oarmounts and oarlocks, a cargo net (for self-bailers) and 1-2 bowline/throw bags (100 ft rope). You get one large NRS or Carlton hand pump and one smaller spare pump. On smaller rivers such as the Colca, Cotahuasi or Tambo, the rafts are 13' oar rigs.

KAYAKS: the list of kayaks available can be viewed at PeruBoats and ChiapasBoats; All kayaks come with a paddle but not with skirt, helmet or PFD. All trips Cotahuasi, Colca, Tambo, and Lacanjá should have safety kayakers along and can be composed of entirely kayakers.


OTHER EQUIPMENT:
Your group will also get most or all items that are also provided in similar comprehensive outfitting service packages for the Grand Canyon (by PRO, REO, Ceiba, or Moenkopi). This includes a full kitchen set-up, rain tarp, toilet, water purification system, first aid kit, and (on more difficult and/or remote rivers) an NRS 150 ft static line + Z-drag kit, satellite phone and solar charger kit.

NOT INCLUDED are personal camping gear (tents, Therm-a-rests, sleeping bags, Paco Pads), personal paddling gear (drybags, PFDs, skirts, helmets), and sometimes extra safety gear (basic safety gear is provided but you might want extra such as flip lines). These items are available as RENTALs for an additional charge. On the Marañón and other class IV rivers, helmets are required. For a list of personal items you should pack, see WHAT TO PACK.


FOOD/DRINK:
With the general rate formula, you get all food for the trip purchased and packed in coolers/boxes/barrels, with an organization list, a menu and food prep instruction pamphlet. See FOOD for some of the foods generally planned. You can modify the menu plan we use on general SierraRios trips and select the foods you like most. The food pack includes non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, juice, yogurt, and gatorade. It does not include any alcohol. You will need to decide how much beer, wine and liquor you want on your trip and purchase it yourselves. You can give the organizing guide a list of how much you would like and he/she can purchase it with the food, but you will have to pay the estimated cost. On some longer expeditions, there may be one or two resupply points where the guide purchases additional food items or exchanges empty coolers for full ones. On most trips there will be two coolers with ice, so cold drinks will be available.

SCHEDULING / RESERVATIONS / PAYMENTS:
A 20% non-refundable deposit will reserve the boats/equipment for your group. This is best provided ASAP or roughly 6-12 months in advance - when normal SierraRios trips are being scheduled. Full payment is due 4 weeks in advance or the total rate increases by 0.5% per day late. Prices can change at any time - you can lock in a rate at the time you make the deposit.

Trips must be scheduled with water levels in mind and usually around SierraRios' normal trip schedule. [See Homepage and below for dates already reserved and check with Rocky]. Various trips have certain peculiarities. Specifically:

Usumacinta trips can be scheduled any time of the year, but when the water is very high (usually Jul-Nov) there are smaller beaches and some whirlpools in the main Gran Cañón de San José can be very dangerous. Formula price above is for rendezvous in Palenque (start and end). Groups must have at least one local Chol-speaking guide along on the trip for safety, and usually a second guide as trip coordinator. The day of driving to the river from Palenque counts as Day 1.
NOTE: Pickup at Villahermosa can be arranged but will be more ($30-40/pp each way). Hotel stays on either end of the trip are not included but can be arranged ($25/pp double occupancy per night). [For a more complete package: include $200 extra per person for pickup/dropoff at Villahermosa, 3 nights in a decent hotel, dinner in restaurant upon return to Palenque, and transport/entrance to Palenque ruins or Cascadas Agua Azul].

Lacanja-Lacantún trips can be scheduled any time of the year, but conditions are generally sunnier Dec-May. Formula price above is for rendezvous in Palenque. Pickup at Villahermosa can be arranged but will be more. Groups will have at least one local Lacandón guide along on the trip as stipulated by the Lacandon tribe. The coordinating guide will arrange this. Large rafts are not recommended for the river. IKs, kayaks, and inflatable canoes (SOARs) are ideal [and possibly one or two small rafts]. Support can be provided to a group of kayakers by a guide in a SOAR or raft. Hotel stays are not included but can be arranged. The day of driving to the river from Palenque counts as Day 1.

Mulatos-Aros trips should only be scheduled July through September [most likely to find fun runnable levels]. Formula price is for rendezvous in Douglas, AZ (both start and end). Pickup in Phoenix or Tucson can be arranged but will be more. Hotel stays are not included. The day of driving across the border counts as Day 1 and often we will not be launching until Day 2.

Pilcomayo or San-Pedro-Grande trips should only be scheduled between late December and April when the rivers are flowing with plenty of water. Formula price is for rendezvous in Sucre and end in Santa Cruz.

Colca, Cotahuasi, and/or Tambo trips generally should only be scheduled between May and December, though the Tambo probably can be run safely at the higher flows Jan-Apr as well. These trips are ideal for groups of class IV+ kayakers, but class V oarsmen may wish to attempt navigating the river as well (12' or 13' rafts). Formula price is for rendezvous in Arequipa at start and end. Ideal group size is 8 kayakers (discount may apply). Groups of kayakers may elect to have a raft accompany the group in the multi-day sections. In these cases, the guide can row, but know that having a raft along will entail extra time and effort to get it through the difficult passages.

Marañon trips can be scheduled any time of year with put-ins and take-outs at various points. Formula price includes shuttle to the put-in from either Huaraz (if launching on the Upper) or Trujillo (if launching at Chagual), and to Bagua at the end of the trip. The day of driving to the river from Huaraz or Trujillo counts as Day 1. Consider the difficulty of the various sections and how much time your group can spend on the trip when making a decision on put-in and take-out. In particular, note the dangers/difficulties presented by the class Vs in the Inner Gorge (one of which can be difficult and time-consuming to line/portage) and that during the 6 months when the river is often raging (Nov-Apr), the class Vs will be too dangerous for most groups. Instead, consider the options below. For most groups the first option below is the most appropriate. Suggested itineraries:

(a) An ideal 12-14 day trip is the CentralGC+LowerGC (289 km/ 179 miles) from Chagual to Puerto Malleta which is class IV maximal difficulty. This trip has great scenery, excellent camps, interesting hikes, some challenging class III and IV rapids, friendly villagers to meet, and can be run safely any time of year. The difficulty is equivalent to the Colorado through Grand Canyon. A 14-day itinerary (13 days on the water) generally includes 2 layover days during the low water season. During high water season (Dec-Apr) the trip can be done in 10-12 days (even with 1-2 layovers). The rendezvous for trips launching at Chagual is Trujillo, from which you'll depart on a 12 hr bus ride over the mountains to the put-in. [Alternatively, for ~$150/pp extra a 1-hr flight can be arranged - this is highly recommended]. It is possible to continue up to 10 more days into the jungle pongos section any time of year, but inquire about the current situation with the Awajún.

(b) An ideal 6-8 day trip is the 100-135 km (62-84 miles) Upper GC section with launch near the Puchka confluence and continuing to the Sihuas bridge crossing (100 km) or the Huchus crossing/hot springs area (135 km). This section has magnificent scenery, excellent camps and hikes, many challenging class III and IV rapids (two IV+), few villages/residents, and can be run safely any time of year by competent class IV kayakers and rafters. This trip would be based out of Huaraz both to the put-in (7 hr) and from the take-out (9 hr drive back to Huaraz from Sihuas crossing; ~15 hr drive back to Huaraz from hot springs). A 7-day trip might include 1 layover day with end at the Sihuas bridge. It is even possible for kayakers to add 1-2 additional class IV paddling days before the raft-support trip by starting on Río Puchka (but note there are two class Vs in the lower gorge of Río Puchka). [Regarding the take-out near Huchus and the hot springs - currently, it is logistically easier and less time-consuming to plan on the 100 km trip due to the excessively long shuttle time for the hot springs take-out]. You might also plan a 14-hr vehicle shuttle around the InnerGorge to continue on the river at Chagual, in which case taking out at Huchus for the full 135 km is the better option].

(c) The full ~24 day Grand Canyon Amazon trip (499 km/310 miles) that includes the Inner Gorge should only be scheduled during lower water times of the year (May-Oct) and can be anywhere from 18-30 days depending on how fast your group moves and how many hikes/layovers your group would like to do (the 24-day plan usually will allow 3-4 layover days). Be aware of the difficulties of getting through the Inner Gorge and only attempt this section if your group is ready to tackle two passages that are much more challenging than anything on the Colorado. You can schedule a full trip during higher water times of year with a vehicle shuttle around the Inner Gorge (the group would have to cover the cost for this extra shuttle; the guide would arrange it). Also note that after the GC section, it is possible to continue up to10 more days into the Jungle Pongos section. [but discuss this possibility, as permissions to float through here can change and there may be a surcharge for extra guides]

Neuquén and Grande-Colorado trips should only be scheduled October through January [warmer spring to summer weather and higher flows]. Formula price is for rendezvous in Mendoza (both start and end). Hotel stays are not included. The first day of driving counts as Day 1.

LIABILITY:
You are responsible for what happens on your trip and every participant must sign a liability waiver. If you damage equipment, lose equipment/boats, or return equipment dirty, extra fees will be assessed. A deposit for the potential equipment damage/loss must be made with SierraRios before the trip (above the contribution). This deposit will be refunded when the trip is over and assessment of gear is complete.


COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS GROUPS:
"
Rocky and I communicated over e-mail for about a year planning the trip and helping me figure out the perfect trip for my group. I thought Sierra Rios did a fantastic job helping me organize the trip, answer all the questions I had, and feel comfortable bringing my group to Peru for a river trip ... Having our guide Pedro with us was invaluable. He helped with the interaction with the locals, paddled ahead to set up our lunches, was our safety kayaker, knew which rapids to scout, taught us how to cook yuca, and even helped us find beer when we ran out. Our trip wouldn’t have been the same without him. I wish I was starting this trip over again tomorrow! Sierra Rios helped provide us with the experience of a lifetime and I hope to travel with them again."
Nina L. (Colorado) [contracted 15-person 16-day Marañón trip Sep-Oct 2014]

"All agreed [our SierraRios outfitted Marañón trip] was a trip of a lifetime and the experiences were better than any of us imagined."
Randy G. (Montana) [contracted 16-person 18-day Marañón trip Oct 2014]

"Planning and prepping a long trip in a foreign country from afar is almost impossible without local resources and knowledge. Running the Marañóon with SierraRios was a breeze, thanks to the long-standing relationships that Rocky and the guides have formed with local communities and service providers, as well as the quality equipment provided. Pedro and Lorenzo were a perfect compliment to our crew of experienced river runners, including five kids (7-13 yrs) who loved their company. The kids will never forget them, or the cultural experience."
.Read M. (Colorado) [contracted 16-person 15-day Marañón trip Nov 2014]

"The Maranon trip was all in all a success, and there is no way we could have pulled it off without all your careful planning, preparation, investment, and documentation ... Pedro did a great job...  We were pretty self sufficient, and could have pulled it off with just Pedro, but having Lorenzo made it run WAY smoother... and had I needed to flip the loaded oar rig raft without Lorenzo in the class IV eddy, we would have spent the night there for sure increasing the chances of gear breaking. [flip was in Samosierra] 
Sam D. (Oregon) [contracted 15-person 15-day Marañón trip Jan 2015]


SIMILAR OUTFITTING SERVICES:
SierraRios outfitting service is similar to services offered on the Grand Canyon for private boating groups. See what is offered at:

PRO's Painless Private
Canyon REO's All-Inclusive
Ceiba Adventure's Whole Shebang
Moenkopi Riverworks' Door-to-Door

Note: SierraRios' rates are comparable what you'd pay to typical Grand Canyon outfitters (and to the NPS/Hualapai/etc) to do a Grand Canyon Colorado trip. SierraRios rates may seem higher on initial inspection, but the higher cost simply accounts for the added expenses of donations to villages/anti-dam efforts, extra gear (kayaks+rafts), and paying bilingual guide(s) to accompany your group. [Note all the GC Colorado outfitters only provide 4 or 5 rafts for a group of 16; we provide a 5-6 rafts plus kayaks]. We strive to match the quality of service offered by established Flagstaff outfitters, but expect some vagaries on initial SierraRios trips being set up on new rivers. Note the cost quotes from various Grand Canyon outfitters below include full shuttle with Hualapai fee:

# days # folks base quote +NPS fee +NPS fee +NPS fee -- SierraRios
+xtra boats +xtra boats --
+guide --
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
PRO 16 16 $979/pp $1079/pp $1179/pp $1279/pp -- $1240
-- 16 8 $1362 $1462 $1582 $1782 -- $1612
-- 30 16 $1573 $1673 $1873 $2073 -- $1800
-- 30 8 $1966 $2066 $2266 $2666 -- $2340
--
REO 16 16 $959/pp $1059/pp $1179/pp $1279/pp -- $1240
-- 16 8 $1336 $1436 $1561 $1761 -- $1612
-- 30 16 $1582 $1682 $1882 $2082 -- $1800
-- 30 8 $1916 $2016 $2216 $2616 -- $2340
--
CEIBA 16 16 $950/pp $1050/pp $1170/pp $1270/pp -- $1240
-- 16 8 $1221 $1321 $1441 $1641 -- $1612
-- 30 16 $1451 $1551 $1751 $1951 -- $1800
-- 30 8 $1792 $1892 $2092 $2492 -- $2340

Kitchen box contents: pots, griddles, 2 stoves, serving spoons, spatulas, lantern, 2 French presses, serving bowls, bowls, plates, utensils, cups, wash tubs, dishwashing items.

Water purification items (bleach with dropper; gravity filter); Drybags.

Some of the numerous PFDs available and paddle jackets.

A few of the kayaks available (Gus, Rockit, H3). And the brand new 16' Rocky Mountain Raft (to right is 16' Hyside).

Several of the rafts at the Usumacinta (from bottom up): 16' Rocky Mountain, 14' NRS self-bailer, 16' NRS cataraft (middle), 14' Sotar, 16' Sotar (uppermost blue).

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