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Myself (Ric Moxon), Maxi Kniewasser, Si Rutherford, Brian Fletcher and Steve Arns headed out to Nepal this fall to see what the land of the Himilayas had to offer. It did not fail to impress, endless read and run class 4+ with plenty of class 5 sprinkled on top! Perfect.

For the first 4 weeks we paddled all the classic ‘easy’ access rivers, Bhote Khosi, Modi Khola, Madi Khola, Upper/Main Marsyangdi, Upper Kaligandaki and the Upper Seti. For the majority of these rivers we based ourselves out of the little paradise of Pokhara. This town has it all, views of 8000 meter peaks, a lake front, amazing food, cheap accommodation and motorbikes to rent! What more can you ask for?

For the last 3 weeks we headed West to the Humla Karnali and the Thule Bheri. Two self-support 7 day trips back to back!


The Good!

The trips were a great success! Logistics were incredibly easy compared with Maxi’s experiences back in 2008 when rising prices and days and days of delays seemed the norm. Top tip, fly from Surkhet not Nepal Ganj! We paid $1500 total for each flight, after a lot of negotiating. But the guys there were great, they kept there word and it all worked out perfect!

For the Thule we could not fly into the usual airport right on the river due to construction, so we had to fly into an airstrip a 6 hour hike from the river. There was no porters available, so we had to embrace the hike ourselves. With 45kg’s of boat, gear and food and over a 1000 meter elevation drop you definitely felt the burn in the quads! Flying into this airstrip did turn out to be a blessing. The views from the ridge were unbelievable, top 3 views I have scene in my life! Plus there is no feeling like earning your boofs!

Both rivers offered phenomenal whitewater, the Thule is a little easier as there are less big class 5 land slide rapids. However, both are definitely class 5 expedition runs. Check out some of the photos, words can not really describe! The Thule, however, was the scene of one of the scariest situations I have ever been involved in …

The Bad

Sieves are a major problem on these rivers. There are countless locations where huge landslides have sent gigantic boulders into the river creating significant sieves. On one of the read and run rapids Si pulled in behind a large boulder into what he though was an eddy, it turned out that all the water was flowing straight under a second large boulder behind. Realizing last second he managed to point his kayak nose first into the sieve and sketchily brace himself as he got chocked up to his waist. Steve, who was closest to him, although could not see him quickly realized that something was not right. He jumped out of his boat and was able to stabilize the situation and hold onto him. Myself, Maxi and Brian also jumped out of our boats and ran upstream to help. We safely managed to get Si and his boat out. This was a very close call and an emotional experience for all. We all felt we learned a valuable experience. When there are large boulders on the banks be very, very careful!

Also, see if you can spot the photo where paddling blue angle into a wave train back fired!

The Ugly

If you want to go to Nepal go ASAP, in a few years there will be a lot less free flowing rivers. The damming situation is the worst I have ever encountered. Chinese and Indian corporations are behind the projects. The amount of devastation and the speed of the construction is unbelievable. In the space of one week on the Marsyangdi the river bed had completely changed and a new bridge had been put in!

This trip was everything I had hoped it would be. Stunning views, epic rivers, crazy culture, great food, big missions, strenuous hike-ins, ridiculous bus rides and great people!

The old faithful large burn was my weapon of choice! Paddles awesome in every situation, loaded, empty, steep or deep. I cant wait to try out the new Large Burn!!

Cheers team!

Photos by fellow team paddler Maxi Kniewasser and Steve Arns

Kniewasser_M_nepal-7638 Kniewasser_M_nepal-8174 Ric Moxon hiking in to the Thule Behri Ric Moxon putting on the afterburners, Nepal Riding the roof of the bus, Nepal Woman porter, Humla Karnali, Nepal Humla Karnali camp, Nepal Kniewasser_M_nepal-8907 steve-nepal-111 steve-nepal-115 steve-nepal-208 steve-nepal-203 steve-nepal-106