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Planes, Trains and …….Vans!

With the end of the school year, I found myself with a couple of mid week days free so a plan was hatched with fellow Pyranha Team paddler Dave Fairweather to sample a few rivers in the North Alps. After flying into a small airport in the south of Germany, Dave and Bex picked me up and we made the drive over to Upper Bavaria.

The plan was to do the 4 classic runs in the area, nearly 40 km of grade 3 (with a few harder rapids) and a lot of driving in between rivers, in one day. First up was the Rissbach, a grade 3 river with two grade 4 rapids.

Dave Fairweather enjoying the pre breakfast run on the Rissbach (Photo Bex Pipe)

Dave on the pre breakfast run on the Rissbach (Photo Bex Pipe)

Next up was the wonderful Upper Isar, which you can only access by Taxi. This provided a nice scenic paddle, that consisted of pleasant and completely straight forward low volume grade 3.


In the gorge on the Upper Isar. (Photo Dave Fairweather)

Then more driving took us to the Loisach, which gave 5km of almost continuous grade 3/4 boulder garden rapids. If there was more time, we would have done this river again.

On the excellent Loisach

On the excellent Loisach (Photo Dave Fairweather)

And then on to the final river of the day, the Upper Ammer which is a 12km gorge. After a delayed start, as Dave was doing the shuttle by push bike. Of the 4 rivers this one was the only one with low water levels. The scenary was great, but the run would have been much more interesting with another couple of inches of water. We got off the water just after dark.

When most people think of the North Alps, they think of big scary rivers, in Upper Bavaria, this not the case and is well worth a visit by the grade 3 paddler who likes their rivers tight and technical, in the appropriate places.

After a late night driving session and sleeping in a motorway service area, we headed over to Switzerland and the rivers of the Upper Rhine Valley. With the main target being the Vorderrheim Gorge, 21 Km of grade 3, and having grown use to rivers with 8 cumecs or  less of water in them, its 50 cumecs was a bit of a change! The best part was that we travelled to the put in, by train.

Paul checking his tickets! (Photo Dave Faireweather)

Paul checking his tickets! (Photo Dave Faireweather)
Dave testing out the playfulness of the Z-One

Dave enjoying the playfulness of the Z-One

After a brief rest Dave and myself headed off down stream on the Glenner, a river of a some what harder nature than anything else on the trip. Having made the error of doubting the guidebook, due to various reasons with its accuracy, we ended up having to improvise an abseil over a unpaddleable weir, at the high water levels will encounted. For anyone that thinks that the may need to learn those sort of skills, book yourself on to my session at this years Pyranahafest

Dave wishing that he didn't have to use an

Dave wishing that he didn’t have to use an improvised harness.

The final morning before breakfast, we managed a quick blasted down the Landquart. This is another river that is well worth having a look at. 7 new rivers in 2 days and pre breakfast session, we decided that it was time to head to the airport to enjoy tea and medals, well a pizza and a pint!