the world's highest waterfall
979 meters (3,212 ft.) high
or why is it called Angel Falls
In 1921, James Crawford Angel, a bush pilot born in Sringfield, Missouri on August 1, 1899, met in a bar (where else adventurers meet?) in Panama J.R. McCraken, a geologist born in Alaska. The old prospector asked Jimmie if he was the one who could land on a dime. Jimmie acquiesced and told of his work with Charles Lindbergh, when he jumped in parachute from his plane in Lincoln, Nebraska, a few years before.
McCraken told him of a mountain of gold in South America and asked if Jimmie would fly him there. ?Of course, of course? answered Jimmie, thinking for himself of another tropical dreamer. ?How will it cost me, I want to go to the frontier between Brazil and Venezuela”. Jimmie, finishing his glass, gave him the most astronomical number he could think: “three thousand”. - “It's a deal”, answered the old man, and from his wallet gave him al instant a third of that amount saying that he'll get the rest from the bank the day after. Jimmie got sober instantaneously.
On the following day, with the rest of the money, Jimmie bought a used airplane, and a few days later, both of them were flying due South. Without Jimmie knowing the exact destination, “You get the three thousand”, was telling him the old man, “ and I get the gold.
They refueled in Ciudad Bolivar, on the river Orinoco and from then on, McCracken was guiding him by the hand, “over there”, “lower”, “over here”. They flew up to a group of flat-topped mountains, the typical tepuys of the area, that the prospector was carefully examining one by one. “Here, land here” Finally told to Jimmie, landing on the top of one of them. Mc Cracken got out of the plane with a bag and filled it with only 75 pounds of gold nuggets, because they had to return without delay to Ciudad Bolivar during daylight.
They never went back, Jimmie didn't have the money and McCracken got sick. But from then on, Jimmie passed the rest of his life looking for that particular mountain top. In his various intents to discover the same mountain, flew in 1930 to the Auyantepuy, the largest of the tepuys with an area of 700 square km, with Dick Curry, a mining engineer, but the meteorological conditions didn't allow them to see anything. Later in 1930, with a Dr. Carlos Delgado and the same Curry, the established a camp on the river Carrao, at the base of the tepuy, but again without flight instruments, couldn't land on the top of the mountain.
In 1935, Jimmie convinced the Case Pomeroy Co. to finance an expedition to the top of the Auyantepuy. With Durant C. Hall and L.R. Dennison, representatives of the company, they landed in the Kamarata Valley and discovered on March 25, 1935 the canyon of the Auyantepuy and they saw a “waterfall that was coming directly from the sky”. But as far as gold is concerned, again no luck and they returned empty-handed.
In 1937, Jimmie got married and with his wife Marie Sanders and Joe Meacham, owner of a night club in Arizona (again !), landed the Flamingo "Rio Caroni", forever on the top of the Auyantepuy, the plane got stuck in the marshy top. The group took 11 days to get back to civilization.
He continued to search for the gold mountain until 1942, when he got lost in the jungle of Guyana. He reappeared a few days later but as a few military planes sent to his rescue got lost; he was assumed liable and for such was declared by the government "persona non-grata" en Venezuela.
Jimmie Angel died in Gorgas Hospital in Panama on December 8, 1956, following a landing accident in David, Panama. According to his last wishes, he was cremated and his ashes scattered over Angel's falls...
Our programs to
"soft" River Expedition
Similar trip to the one you just read, but without the 2 days hiking to Amaurai
River & Hiking Expedition
Similar trip to the previous one, but with an additional 2 days of hiking to a nearby tepuy, Amaurai
12 days Real Expedition
Follow the tracks of Jimmie Angel