Laszlo Berty


Laszlo Berty (1946-1998) was an American-Hungarian rafter/kayaker who did several pioneering descents of rivers in Peru in the late 1970s, including much of the Marañon, Vilcanota-Urubamba, and Mantaro.

Although Berty was born in Budapest in 1946, he emigrated to the USA with his family in 1957 and settled in Charleston, West Virginia. Laszlo Berty wrote little and little was written about him, but some information has been provided by his surviving wife Jacenta Berty, who also wrote an obituary to her husband, published in SAE and available online.

Berty went to Peru in the late 1970s with some rafts and kayaks and did possibly the first modern raft descent of the upper Urubamba (through the Sacred Valley) and lower Urubamba sometime 1978 to 1980. According to John Wasson, Berty also also did the first descent of much of Río Marañon in 1976 or 1977, starting in Chagual or Balsas. A short SAE article by Berty stated that he paddled much of the upper Río Mantaro (from Lago Junín down to Izcuchaca Canyon) in 1979. I am preparing a book, First Descent of the Amazon, He and his wife also paddled probable first descents of Ríos Inambari (S.Peru) and Machariapo-Truichi-Beni (Bolivia). They started and ran one of the first rafting companies in Peru, Rio Bravo S.A., taking customers primarily down the Urubamba and Tambopata.

If you paddled or knew Laszlo and can contribute additional information about his descents, please contact me (Rocky Contos).