Thursday, January 27, 2011

Buri Gandaki - Solo Mission

It's almost one month ago since my last blog update. One month of good times! After our big swiss expedition on the upper Arun river, my friends went back home to cold switzerland, but my trip was of course not finished. I had ten days left in Nepal and decided to go for a solo mission. Thuli Bheri seams to be one of the best multi-day trip on the planet. Two years ago I tried to catch a plane up to the put-in, but bad weather conditions made it impossible. Unfortunately this year the same happened! My time run out and there was no plane flying up to Dolpa area. This can always happen in mountain areas like the Himalaya, but because of hundreds of other great river it's easy to get a plan B. I have paddled many of the Classics in Nepal and as always I like to explore unknown or rarely paddled river. Buri Gandaki is described in Nepal's guide book, but I haven't heard of many kayakers or rafters that went there. Why? I don't know. It's close from Kathmandu, the description tells about a beautiful valley and great whitewater. Let's check it out thought.

The Bus ride from Pokhara to Arughat took me almost two days. From there I drove three more hours with a Jeep till the end of the road at Soti Khola where I slept in a local guest house. Really basic as usually in Nepal. Dhal Bhat to eat and dirty room with wooden planked bed to sleep. Next morning it took me a while to find a Porter to carry my Kayak up the valley to the put-in.

After a couple of hours, a motivated and small Nepali showed up. I showed him the technique how I would carry the kayak, with straps as a backpack on my shoulders. But he didn't liked it, took his own strap, fixed it somehow on the kayak, the strap over his head and let's go. He went really fast and it looked kind of crazy this 1.50meter tall guy with a 2.50m Kayak.... on his foot he had sandals! The whole day he took maybe five short brakes and the rest he was almost running, the best Porter I've ever had!

This first day we hiked up till Mochikhola. The trek was amazing! There are on both sides hugh canyon walls, more then 1000meter high and sometimes I could see far behind the Ganesh Himal with it's 7500 meter high peaks. The river was mostly a couple hundret meters below the trail and looked great but really challenging. In Mochikhola I slept in a super nice guesthouse. Normally, during october are here up to 150 Tourists, Trekkers every day. End november I was the only one! I eat some spaghettis for dinner and went to bed at 6 o'clock! Next morning we went up early and hiked further up the valley. The river and the valley became more and more beautiful as further we hiked. After Dovan the river gets more gradient and became just serious class 6. I decided to put- in below that and paddle the same day back to Mochikhola. This day was the best day of the whole Nepal trip! Such a amazing hike, local people and some of the best class five kayaking I've done in Nepal.

The next day started on easy whitewater for a couple of kilometer till it dropped down on a huge landslide. The portage took me one hour, but afterwards I paddled the whole day just great whitewater. At the end of that day I was super tired. I've paddled almost 70 kilometers, 3 bigger portages, 10 km on class 5, 20km class 4 and the rest class 3. I found a beach to setup a camp, make fire, cook dinner and sleep. The last day I finished down after the confluence with the Trisuli river where the Himalayan Whitewater Challenging was going on. Two years ago I have won this cool event, but this times I arrived to late to compete. I met some friends, drank a beer with them and took the bus back to Kathmandu.

Thats the end of my Nepal trip 2010, but just the beginning of five month trip around the world. Next stop was Indonesia. Two weeks of surfing on Bali and a couple days kayaking on Java. The kayaking on Java was really cool! We hooked up with some local kayakers and raftguides, paddled a couple of really nice rivers with palm trees on the side, 30 degrees water temperature,..... . Not my last time there!

Now I'm down south in Patagonia, running big rivers, surfing big waves, fire big campfires.... Update coming soon!

Ron : )