Fantasy Expedition?

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Poke
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Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Poke »

I’m sure we’ve all done it. Looked at a map, or at google earth, or out of the window of a bus whilst we’re on holiday somewhere, seen that thin blue line snaking away down below, and thought I should go and paddle that... even, someone should go and paddle that..

So, my question is: what is your fantasy boating trip? Either somewhere that you’d love to go and explore but haven’t been able to yet, or perhaps somewhere you know never will go, but you’d love someone to go and paddle it, just so you can see what it looks like...

Think of this thread, perhaps, as somewhere that a future expedition might happen across and take inspiration from... :-)
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Randy Fandango »

I've holidayed to Crete many many times and on quite a few I've found myself driving through some of the pretty impressive gorges on the South side where the coastal mountains crash down to the sea.
One in particular has (by late August) a dry river bed of what must be an unbelievably burly stretch of grade gnarr when the snows melt in the springtime and I've parked the car and tried to imagine it running with me in a boat somewhere in the middle several times.
God knows if they are ever run -- I imagine their window is pretty short and hard to predict but you never know....
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Poke »

Randy Fandango wrote:I've holidayed to Crete many many times and on quite a few I've found myself driving through some of the pretty impressive gorges on the South side where the coastal mountains crash down to the sea.
Should have said - link to google earth is mandatory!
(if you can remember where it is)

Then we can all play fantasy lines! Or it might inspire someone to go there (even better, it would be ace if someone popped up and could say they'd actually paddled one of the rivers! :-)
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Randy Fandango »

I seem to remember one memorable and steeeeep one was the Kourtaliotiko Gorge near Plakias.
Really beautiful place too :-)
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by DaveBland »

Interesting looking at google earth with the 'terrain' seeing turned on. It's really obvious where the best areas on the globe are.

I like like look of this area just above Mongolia…

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by ion »

Ha! You're not going to trick me into giving my surviving projects away! At least not without buying a lot of beer first.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by DaveBland »

Not an expedition, but well worth the effort. And fun to e-scout if you know the lines.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Slartibartfast »

A week on a Sunseeker with Kylie. Oh, hang on, not that sort of fantasy?

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Poke »

ion wrote:Ha! You're not going to trick me into giving my surviving projects away! At least not without buying a lot of beer first.
Haha.. not trying to get anyone to do that. Just encouraging people to share ideas. The following is somewhere I'd love to go back to, but equally, would love someone else to go there too to explore as I had such an awesome trip there...

At the end of 2012 I went to Sulawesi. During my research I discovered an awesome looking run that we never got to visit. The river is called the Lariang, the put in is way up in the highlands and it winds its way all the way down to the sea maintaining a Tsarap/Zanskar like gradient and growing in volume all the way. Put in and takeout’s labelled here. There’s at least one road crossing it in the middle (search for it on google earth with the photos layer turned on) meaning you’ve somewhere to bail if you’re scared. I subsequently discovered that the upper reaches were first run 20+ years ago (some pics here) and are very occasionally commercially rafted (i.e. once every 10 years or so by people with lots of money), but I only discovered one private trip who did the lower section, and that was in the low low levels found in September. The trip would probably go any month outside the wettest season of Jan to March. Gotta be a project for someone. Logistics very easy. Probably possible in a 2 week round trip from the UK (though i'd give it longer to be sure). Lots of potential!

Pic from the first descent of the upper section - Possibly only been run 10-20 times since!
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The alternative I’d suggest is shorter, but still very remote, and has road access to put in and takeout. Pretty much guaranteed to be a first descent from the information I managed to gather. It was one of the rivers I’d marked out to explore but never got around to it as we based ourselves much further south. Would love for someone to go and let me know what it’s like - I imagine two or three days of quality jungle grade 3 to 4 given the gradient. Above this marked put-in is another steeper section (again with road access). Possibly too jazzy? I don't know. Anyone want to go and find out for me ;-)
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by banzer »

South Guyana / Suriname / Brazil borders.... can't work out how to post Google Earth images, but they don't seem very good resolution. I have an old map of the area from colonial days where just about every river says, rapids, falls, rapids, falls........ here's one in Suriname: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3083567

Randy I think Mongolia is unfortunately (in this context) quite dry, 200-350mm pa precipititon... but you might get lucky!
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Randy Fandango »

banzer wrote: Randy I think Mongolia is unfortunately (in this context) quite dry, 200-350mm pa precipititon... but you might get lucky!
Oh mine was quite tame -- fun in the Mediterranean.
Dave was planning far off adventure in deepest Mongolia :-)
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Patrick Clissold »

banzer wrote:South Guyana / Suriname / Brazil borders.... can't work out how to post Google Earth images, but they don't seem very good resolution. I have an old map of the area from colonial days where just about every river says, rapids, falls, rapids, falls........ here's one in Suriname: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3083567

Randy I think Mongolia is unfortunately (in this context) quite dry, 200-350mm pa precipititon... but you might get lucky!
We did a trip to Mongolia in 07. Yes there is lots of dry desert but there is also a lot potential especially higher up in the mountains in the West. Here is some of what we did find:

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by DaveBland »

Cool Patrick!

So the res on Google images is a bit crappy, but on a bigger screen there's deffo white goodness in those valleys. The area I screen grabbed and posted was in Russia, above Mongolia. It would be super-cool to do a Russian trip. There's a bit of mumbled pub talk amongst a few of us here at times, although there are so many easier places that will probably prevail before...
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by morsey »

Yes, Russia. But not to go with a plan, a map or itinerary. But instead, to just hook up with some of those crazy (term of endearment) Russian paddlers and go boating with them on some mad rivers. The tilting scales of Vodka to Safety and general requirement (for me) to grow a pair would make for heightened adventure.

If you need a link to plan a similar trip it's here!

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by jamie conn »

Whilst google earth scouting Pakistan for our BUKE trip we found a pretty cool looking multi-day which could definitely be described as fantasy... or perhaps insanity.

Starting at Skardu, a steep drive south takes you up on the Deosai plains to the put in. From here the river drops of the south side of the plains and 90km of whitewater later, you hit the confluence with the Shingo and a road.
The road heads north-west over the Barzil pass and towards Astore (and a long drive back to the put-in), or East for about 15km before hitting the LOC and then onto to Kargil.
However, with this being a major military route into India in past times, we are pretty sure (not 100%) that the road back over the Barzil pass is closed to non-military traffic.

The only option is now to continue downstream across the border into India (I would suggest at night to reduce the chances of getting shot). A short while later you join the Dras, and then the Suru before passing pretty close to Kargil (there are a few soldiers around here) and finally back into Pakistan.
Assuming you are still alive, it's the home straight! 20km after the LOC The Shingo drops into the Indus and 120km after that you arrive back in Skardu.

The entire trip is over 250km and drops about 1850m. Looks to have some world class whitewater and some pretty terrifying gorges. First person to do it gets a beer from me!

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A steep gorge before the Shingo confluence.

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Some larger rapids on the Indus.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by banzer »

Jamie, looks good and fraught with potential military danger! Is there any way you could get a Pakistani and Indian member on your team, then get permission from both governments, in the spirit of political togetherness?? Pipe dreams?!

That's the sort of trip where, if after a hell of a lot of hard work getting permission you finally suceed, you then have the realisation that you might actually have to man up and paddle the thing!
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by justin-g »

Well I can't get google maps to work on my pad. But I have had this in mind for many years.

I would love to paddle the arawata river in south Westland in nz. The logistics are inhumanie - prob why I have never heard of a decent. But I know there is epic ww up there - I have walked past it.

I would start up the joe river - but I would have to hump my boat for prob 4 days to get to the put in - epic terrain as well in the heart of the alps. I have flown over the put in in a small plane... Squeezed between two big peaks. No landing zone for helicopters due to national park.

I would then paddle onto the arawata itself - a major river - glacier fed and high volume - rain would be a disaster. It's bloody steep - house sized boulders - lots of sieves. I think about 3 days of proper 5 - not much flat.

Then comes the braids - lots of flat to the coast - your going to need a jet boat pick up.

7 days - epic big steep river - the middle of nowhere.
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Slime »

Hi Jamie,

I think a few paddlers have dreamed of the Shingo. Anyone who has paddled the Dras (we first did it in 1985 and then did it again with Shalabh thirty years later in 2005) will have seen this lovely blue river coming in on the left and a few of us have talked about the possibilities.

I don't think that your trip is wholly a pipe dream. Most of the river is like you say in Pakistan control. I have talked to guys who have mountain biked over the Deosai Plains south of Skardu and crossed the Shingo river near the source. Provided you are prepared to put up with a Pakistani army escort my experience and guess is that you would be allowed to paddle the upper river. Even perhaps up to say 20km from the border with India (line of control). You could then probably start again in Pakistan on the lower Suru and then down the Indus, so you would perhaps only lose out say 30km and a day of paddling.

However this fragments your trip and it is all surmise until you arrive - it depends on establishing good relations and putting up with an army escort and presence - I personally have never enjoyed trips like this!

However, the Shingo does look like a nice blue river - and it is one of the last first descents in NW Pakistan waiting to be done......

Good luck,

Pete Knowles.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by jamie conn »

Slime wrote: I don't think that your trip is wholly a pipe dream. Most of the river is like you say in Pakistan control. I have talked to guys who have mountain biked over the Deosai Plains south of Skardu and crossed the Shingo river near the source. Provided you are prepared to put up with a Pakistani army escort my experience and guess is that you would be allowed to paddle the upper river. Even perhaps up to say 20km from the border with India (line of control). You could then probably start again in Pakistan on the lower Suru and then down the Indus, so you would perhaps only lose out say 30km and a day of paddling.
That is good to know! If you could get permission to head over the Burzil pass then you could certainly run the Shiggar from up on the plains and then the Shingo whilst driving back to Astore. This was the plan before we found out the road was shut.
Slime wrote:However this fragments your trip and it is all surmise until you arrive - it depends on establishing good relations and putting up with an army escort and presence - I personally have never enjoyed trips like this!
Agreed. Where else in the world can you do a 250km trip with a 60km shuttle?
banzer wrote:Jamie, looks good and fraught with potential military danger! Is there any way you could get a Pakistani and Indian member on your team, then get permission from both governments, in the spirit of political togetherness?? Pipe dreams?!
I won't pretend to know a huge amount about Pakistan/India relations but I think probably a pipe dream... None of the border crossings that far north are open and the one we would be looking at has been the centre of a lot of the military activity. I guess it's not inconceivable that it may open in the future, I keep on seeing articles about opening the Skardu/Kargil road (the second crossing).
I should also probably say that whilst looking over the past emails I found that it was definitely Callum's idea, so kind of stole his thunder on this one!

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by banzer »

justin-g wrote: I would have to hump my boat for prob 4 days to get to the put in - epic terrain as well in the heart of the alps.
Over the O'Leary Pass from the Dart Valley? http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap?v=2& ... 42635&z=14
That's 1749 metres. Ouch.... I'm in.
Or just pay a chopper pilot to do a bandit run......
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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by nomorfkindhalbhat »



Reunion Island
Loads of stuff on you tube but the canyons look amazing. If I hear of any of you lot on here skulking off there without inviting me I,ll be less than impressed.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by callum s »

jamie conn wrote:I should also probably say that whilst looking over the past emails I found that it was definitely Callum's idea, so kind of stole his thunder on this one!
Heehee forgot about this cheeky little plan, all the "yeah lets just camo up and do a night mission" chat came to a crashing halt with this message from Untamed Borders - an awesome company specialising in trips to lets say "unusual" holiday destinations:
Put in on Deosai will be easy enough - this is the only good news.

The section of the Shingo river you plan to use passes next to the Srinigar-Ladakh highway - a very important arterial road in Kashmir. The route down the Shiggar River was the path used by Pakistani troops when they took Kargil back in 1999. Since and before then Pakistani troops have used border skirmishes to place jihadis into Kashmir to cause problems to the Indian government. The Indian army has spent a lot of time and effort brutally murdering and torturing these jihadis and other innocent (and not innocent) Kashmiris during this period. Recently there has been a bit more stability between Pakistan and India with regards to Kashmir, however I very much doubt if the armies trust each other at all. You will be trying to descend a river that has been an invasion point on the past from a country that has a long history of trying to sneak people that are up to no good across the border you plan to cross illegally. You will NOT be allowed to cross. You probably will be stopped by the Pakistanis on the Pakistan side who will tell you off with a cup of tea or arrest you and deport you. If for some reason you got passed the Pakistanis (they will of course not expect you to come from that side down the river) then you will be stopped by the Indian military. Either by arresting you and deporting you or by shooting you.

Despite the incompetence of Indian and Pakistani institutions in general both their armies are quite well organised. If you really want an adventure then by all means do it although realise that you will probably putting the nail in the coffin of the person who wrote you the letters of invitation.

I may be getting over cautious in my old age but as someone who has arranged ski trips in Afghanistan, as well as trips to Chechnya and Mogadishu I reckon you probably should find something that will not cause an international incident.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by joereadickins »

Sticking with the dodgey border theme, put on the Tsarap Chu around September, paddle down to the Zanskar, hit the Indus, paddle on down through the Pakistan border, (assuming this is a fantasy expedition) paddle through the Rhonddu gorge, and contntinue down to Islamabad where the whitewater ends. 400km of sustained whitewater?

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by mantamx »

DaveBland wrote:Interesting looking at google earth with the 'terrain' seeing turned on. It's really obvious where the best areas on the globe are.

I like like look of this area just above Mongolia…
that land above Mongolia would be southern Siberia (Russia). north-east of lake Baikal is mountenous - but VERY hard to get to (helicopter your only option, and that would be a few hours of flight), and except for Lena there are no really otable rivers out there. Most people paddle south west of the lake, in the Sayan mountains (or further west - Altai, which is part of the same range). also possible to start in mongolia, and end up in russia (but v tricky permissions-vise as no crossing points)... check out thomass marnics's kayaking in siberia or riverzoo.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by callum s »

mantamx wrote:
DaveBland wrote: I like like look of this area just above Mongolia…
that land above Mongolia would be southern Siberia (Russia). north-east of lake Baikal is mountenous - but VERY hard to get to (helicopter your only option, and that would be a few hours of flight), and except for Lena there are no really otable rivers out there. Most people paddle south west of the lake, in the Sayan mountains (or further west - Altai, which is part of the same range). also possible to start in mongolia, and end up in russia (but v tricky permissions-vise as no crossing points)... check out thomass marnics's kayaking in siberia or riverzoo.
I have paddled in Altai and some stuff in the Sayan Mountains with the Riverzoo/kayakUSSR guys (and highly recommend it to anyone). We helicoptered into one run (Haramurin) that drains Northwards into Baikal (where we finished). Helicopter cost about $2000/hour and from Irkutsk the Haramurin put-in was 3 hours in the air - the mountains at the Northern end of Baikal look sick but several hours flying time and many thousands of dollars from Irkutsk.

A general rule of thumb in expedition kayaking: Wherever you are in the world paddling "first descent" whitewater you can never be totally sure a group of Russian rafters/kayakers haven't been there first. If a whitewater river actually in Russia hasn't been paddled before there will be a very good reason for it.

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by callum s »

…and back to fantasy: http://goo.gl/maps/N2iT4

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by danreadicks »

Anybody thought of keketuohai in China. Its been said to be the Yosemite of China. Beautiful rocks = beautiful slides?

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?Indus

Post by shalabhgahlaut »

Joe , The trip you propose...is 400 kms within India only! Another 200 in Pakistan??
Shalabh

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by clarky999 »

Flying over Russia on my way to/from Japan recently yielded views of LOADS of (totally frozen) rivers flowing out of the mountains. The potential of the area is immense!

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Re: Fantasy Expedition?

Post by Mark R »

Years ago ('97?) I found myself at Tso Moriri, a high altitude lake on the India/ China (=Tibet) border, with a kayak. I gave semi-serious thought to paddling the lake to it's outflow river and down eventually to the Sutlej River in India. This would have involved crossing the border more than once, and padding early and late in the day, to avoid attention...

http://goo.gl/maps/rghKZ

Perhaps best that I didn't...but there is an incredible exploration to be had by someone who can dodge both half of the Indian Army, and half of the Chinese Army, and is happy to run the risk of starting a nuclear war involving a third of the world's population.

Instead I ran the Indian part of the upper Indus, which was unnerving enough given that I was alone, that I had been told not to get on the river by border troops, and that there were army bases all along the river...

I understand that things are a bit friendlier up there these days?
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