Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Intermission update - Upper seti mission and head cam footage

Heading into the upper canyon, Porters make life a lot easier! photo Anton Immler

Montage pic of Me on and looking at OUT, Photo Anton Immler

While i take some time out to update you on the Nepali Girls kayaking Expedition I had the opportunity to head back into the hills once more with some old and new friends to check out what Will Clark and Anton Immler had found a few weeks ago. At 5.45 the alarm went off and Anton and I gathered our gear and in the darkness headed for the main st. As light came in over Pokhara a few other guys we had met arrived for the same mission. With the Jeep loaded up we headed about an hour out and with porters laden with all our gear we headed for the Upper Canyon of the upper Seti River. We thought we may have time to get the Upper canyon today also but with no idea on where the track was and diminishing daylight we were forced out of the first descent and down into the gorge that had only been run for the first time a week ago. This was no dissapointment as i knew we were still in for a ful on afternon! We nailed about 100m of First descent then it was into the lower canyon section. About 20mins of class 3 bombing then we were at the canyon entrance. We made the call that we had enough time to make it out with light and dropped in. Within minutes we were at drop 1, now named 'IN'.

Josh Neilson - Rapid IN - Photo Tim Ripper

The reason for this is this is the only way to get into the gorge is to run this drop, no portage. It is a sweet 40foot drop but has a nasty cave on the right and a not so bad one on the left. After comiting to the gorge there is another must run drop called ' twist', a manky drop which u have to bust hard left but avoiding the wall so u dont bounce back into the right and into an undercut seive! 2 people have been through this sive already and its no t pretty. They made it through fine though. Right after twist is 'OUT'

Me loking at Tim Riper running OUT - Photo Anton Immler

The reason for it being called this is the only way out of the gorge is to run this drop, no portage. Once again it is a 40foot drop with a fast wavey lead in. this time there is also caves on both side but not so bad.
Now that your out of the canyon you still have 2 more sweet drops, 'Scream' and Shout'. Smaller but a lot of fun! from here the steepness lowers but the drops keep coming. Due to our late afternoon paddle we got in a line and bombed our way down to the take out following the tail in front and keeping an eye out for the person behind. At the take out we thought we might have the natural hot springs to ourselves but no luck, seems there was some sort of festival on and people everywhere.

Paddling away from OUT - Photo Anton Immler

The boys have headed back into the Seti today with overnight gear to try get up above the Upper Canyon and explore up there as well.

Tomorrow there will be more info on the Himilayan River girls trip and maybe a head cam vid from the upper seti, Internet here is pretty slow so have to do things slowly. It will come

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nepali Girls Expedition Part 2

Camp 1 morning 2 - Photo Josh Neilson

With the trip now well underway and making our way steadily down the river the Nepali girls were out in force at camp 2 practicing their eddy truns and some more rolling. Anita, who i hadnt even seen learning to roll told us to watch as she submersed and came back uop with a big smile on her face. While doing this in the moving water would be a different story, the girls were making swift progress.

Sambhovi Making her way down the Whitewater - Photo Anna Bruno

Day 3 on the river a few Nepali girls were in kayaks paired off with the Kiwis and Sweeds. Some of the Girls had picked up kayaking pretty quick and some slower than others. Due to this they had a raft there to swap round on and kayak when the rapids suited them.
At lunch the girls swapped round and others go to paddle their first rapids of the Sun Koshi.

Camp 2 Nighttime rest and relax - Photo Josh Neilson

Where we were at this point there were no roads, not power, and definatly no kayak instructors in the river side vilages. Over time the local people have addapted ways of collecting food from the river in various ways. Fishing with a pole was slow and a long net would be hard to get into the current. With large rubber tires the kids had manufactured their own river craft designed to get the net out but soon they had discovered running the rapids would be fun too.
As I neared a rapid mid way through the day 3 boys raced me toward the entrance. As I made my way down in a big bit of plastic designed for these conditions these kids charged by me in their tries and sticks. A very cool experience and at the bottom we swapped paddles, He almost got away with me chasing him with a bit of wood for a paddle.

2 Local boys towing out their net for fish- Photo Josh Neilson

Two different goals, both very interested in the other - Photo Josh Neilson

Day 4 - The first of the sickness. Early on morning 4 Laura and Emi went down as the first patients of the trip. It goes without saying when you travel in places like Nepal that while you can be as careful as possible around food but some sort of sickness is not far behind you. These two were the first but definatly not the last on the trip.
By now we are about 70kms from our start point and deeper into the Sun Kosi. Tomorrow we hit the biggest rapids of the trip. A small village called Hakapua will mark the entrance to the Hakapua rapids.
Check back in a day or 2 for that story

Rada charging through rapids on day 3 - Photo Anna Bruno

A familiar site from the river, While it looks like men going toilet its actually 5 women with their Shewee's and one man - Photo Josh Neilson

Local girl intrigued by all the people on her beach - Photo Josh Neilson

Every day the food was spread out on tarps, almost as colourful as us on the river - photo Anna Bruno
Photo Anna Bruno

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nepali Girls Expedition part 1

The crew at lunch one day at a nice waterfall - Photo Josh Neilson

Firstly i have to say that everyone is safe and made it down the 10 day section of the Sun Kosi River. We started in Kathmandu early morning loading up the Rickshaws and making our way through the streets before light to the bus stop. Once on the bus we had 2 and a half hours East to the put in at a small village called Sukute. Almost in Sukute we were stopped by a road block. The reason we were not able to leave a few days earlier was due to this road block and the information we had was it was now open. The next few hours we shuttled our gear to the put in by foot. By dark the road was opened and everything was set.
We spent 2 days at the put in sorting gear and the kiwi girls got into some teaching. On the 16th the rest of the crew arrived and met the kiwi girls. The crew was now set and 40 people hurried round the beach getting their gear on the gear rafts and packing their own kayaks.
Day 1 on the river was short due to a late start and we made it to a small beach just on dark. Everyone was put into groups so that tasks on the river and at camp would be much easier. I was in Sophies group and our first job was fod on day 2. At 5am we were both woken by what we though was a alarm clock. Feeling very much awake we both got up. To our supprise this was not an alarm but the sound of a flute in a vilage high on the ridge above us. This really set the tone for soph and I on this trip. Day 2 was an early start and a long day on the river trying to make up from the day before.

Colourfull crew! - photo Josh Neilson

Our days consisted of -
6am-ish wake up
7am- yoga
8am breakfast
9-10am on the water
1pm - Lunch
4.30ish take off
5pm set camp and prepare dinner
7-9pm dinner
9-10 bed

Susmita, Nepals first woman kayaker - photo Anna Bruno

Ill keep the updates on how the trip went to a few days at a time so that people can read and see it unfold rather than loking at the pictures and discarding the words.
In a few days there will be more on how the girls go in the water and how things unfold as the trip gets deeper into the 280kms of whitewater and Nepali wilderness.

Sita, Nepals Second woman kayaker - Photo Anna Bruno

Hester from NZ and Sambhovi from Nepal - Photo Anna Bruno

The biggest smiler of the trip! photo Anna Bruno

Kiwi Girls never without energy! - Photo Josh Neilson