Friday, September 15, 2006

Kayaking the Checkamus River

This summer some friends took me down some sections of the Checkamus river near Whistler BC that I hadn't done before. The only bad thing about them was you couldn't drink the water, also advisable to have a shower after getting home, as you paddled past the sewage outlet for whistler. Adds another grade probably?
With two nice 15ft waterfalls and some other interesting drops and log jams to paddle under. These were nice after work runs with people who knew them. The Daisy Lake section probably being one of the more committing. Here are some shots of the Upper Checkamus water fall, Balls to the Wall falls, and a Log jam on the Middle Checkamus. Enjoy

David shooting out the bottom of the first waterfall. Photo by Graz.

Graz and Max heading under the waterfall on the middle Checkamus.
Wouldn't want the water to high here.

Graz flying off Balls to the Wall on the Checkamus.

Max takes flight, Checkamus river.

Max and Graz head into the mini Canyon below the falls, Checkamus river.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rafting in the Whistler/Squamish area

Well, now finished my second summer at Wedge Rafting.
After finishing up in India I headed straight, with a quick stop on Vancouver Island, to Whistler. I spent loads of days rafting in the last two months on four different rivers. The Green and Birkenhead for most of July with the Birkenhead and Elaho- Squamish and Lower Checkamus taking up most of August. All in all a good season. Also got to get out on the Upper, Middle and Daisy lake run of the Checkamus, Callaghan creek, upper and lower Soo river for kayaking. Below I have attached a few photos from the Birkenhead and Squamish rivers. Soon to be more. Enjoy.

Floating to the getout point, Squamish river.

Looking up at the Weeping Wall falls and Ashlu icefield, Squamish river.

Looking back toward Mt. Cayley, Squamish river.

Loading the gear onto the Wedge van for the Elaho-Squamish river trip.

Not into rafting? Well here is the adult play park of Whistler Mountain Biking.

Rafting down the Squamish river with Mt. Kaley in the background.

Max the safety kayaker, relaxing on the Elaho.

A view of Mt. Garibaldi, Squamish River.

Heading up the river for a swim, Birkenhead river.

Kayaking the Tons River.

The last couple of posts have dealt with rafting down the Tons river. The Tons, however, is also a great place to go kayaking.
With four sections ranging between 10 - 40kms in length there is lots to do. The upper Section from Netwar down to the rafting put- on, is the steeper section with a couple of solid grade 4+ drops and lots of 3-4 stuff inbetween. The upper is about 6kms in length. Below that you have the normal run for about 15kms of grade 2-4 down to Khunigad. This is the normal rafting run and makes for a nice introductory run. From Khunigad rapid down to Tuni you have the Middle Tons, which has some nice steep rapids from grade 3-4+(depending on flow) in a deeper canyon that takes you away from the road, this section covers almost 30kms. Lastly you have the Lower Tons which covers from Tuni down to Icchhari Dam. This section can be broken into two days with some excellent sand beaches for camping along the way. Also can be done in a long single day as the shuttle takes a while. Pool drop grade 3 with a couple of fours thrown in here and there in a beautiful gorge, with some amazing geology make for an excellent trip. This section covers about 40kms.
Below are some kayaking shots from different places on the river. Enjoy.

The first big rapid on the Tons below Netwar.

Bishnu enjoying the high flows on the Tons.

Kayaker rescue on the Honol Temple rapid, Tons River.

Kieran Wallace in the midst of it, Tons River.

Eliane running one of the chutes at Tardiar, Tons River.

Kieran Wallace running down the bottom of Tardiar Rapid.

Eliane Ruscher in the lead up to Khunigad rapid, Tons River.

Dharmendra seeing what's ahead, Tons River.

Mr. Kalai

Kahan Singh free and clear at Tardiar, Tons River.

Kieran taking a break below the constriction.

Nick Clegg squirting his creek boat on the middle Tons.

Rana charging down the guts of Khunigad rapid.

Kahan Singh running through constriction rapid, Tons River.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

3rd Expedition down the Tons River.

Local Fisherman on the banks of the Tons river.

An Oakley perspective of rafting.

The beginning of the trip, getting the rafts to the river.

This June, Aquaterra Adventures, in conjunction with Ultimate Descents put on Outward Bound Hong Kong's staff trip down the Tons River. This wasn't the normal run, this was the section that had only been run twice as a commercial endeavor before. Putting in 15kms above camp and taking out 80kms below at Icchhari Dam was going to make for a fun five day trip. I couldn't think of a better way to end my season.
The only unfortunate thing was that the water was down to a low level. We managed to make do, rafting 94 kms of grade 2-4+ whitewater in five days, catching it just before it dropped even more.
We had a great crew of instructors from Outward Bound Hong Kong, lots of fun, A few bottles of rum, Some hail storms, A bit of sunshine, A few bloody brilliant tackles, some football, Frisbee, and excellent food. Even a couple of flips on the river to keep it all interesting. Enjoy the photos.

The morning set up of chai and breakfast.

The first rapid on the first day, let the excitement begin.

Raft charging through Khunigad rapid(Murderous Stream).

Kahan Singh boofing Tardiar Rapid, Tons River

Bishnu and Rana R-2ing a raft down Tardiar.

The 14th century Honol Temple.

The rapid below the temple, also know as Honol.

Getting amongst it on one of the longer rapids.

Anvesh driving through a big one above the town of Tuni.

Avilash and crew saying hello to some rocks near the town of Tuni.

Raft cruising past some of the wicked geology on the lower Tons.

A local observer checking out the rafting from above.

Kieran Wallace dropping into the Chute.

Anvesh running the right side of a raid on the Lower Tons.

David running through the top half of Major Suprise. Photo by Kieran Wallace.

Through the Guts of Major Suprise. Photo by Kieran Wallace.

At Icchhari Dam after five days on the river.
What a great Trip. Check it and others out at

The Tons River Valley.

Future Raft Guide?

Rafting down the Top section of the Tons River.

Coming through "C" rapid by the town of Mori.

Kahan Singh, The cruising safety boater.

Typical House and Fields.

In the western part of the State of Uttranchal there is a beautiful valley, forested in pine trees, rhodendrans, birch and oak trees. This part of of the state is called Uttrakashi and the valley is formed by the Tons river, which in turns almost forms the border with Himanchal Pradesh.
Kieran, Eliane, and myself arrived at the beginning of May, quite happy to get away from the burning heat of the Ganges river valley. It was nice to arrive at a cooler location. With camp bordering on Lunagard creek there were swimming holes near by.

Picture of Camp Lunagard.

Our normal day run was about 15kms long. Good enough with some grade 3-4 at high flows and grade 2-3+ at lower flows. Keep things interesting for the clients we had and for the groups of Idiscovery kids that we took down the river. There was also lots of kayaking in the area. As I mentioned earlier Above and below where we raft there is some good grade 3-5 boating. Depending where you run and which river you are on.
One of the other things I loved about this valley was the people. They were great. Always smiling and happy. The family where we put in on the Tons always showed up and helped carry down the gear to the river. Probably one or two of them will be future river guides one day. I still remember the day when about 8 of them put my kayak on there heads and carried it down to the water. Awesome.

One of the young helpers carrying the oars down to the river.

Mr. Rana heading through the boulders.