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Публикации | Путешествия | Tomsk-Himalayas 2007

31 Октября 2007 | Expedition team | Прочтений: 83414

Whitewater Expedition "Tomsk-Himalayas". Review for english-speaking readers

Expedition "Tomsk-Himalayas" 

Brief Review

Himalayas expedition 
komandA group of rafters and boaters from Russia (Tomsk, Vladivostok and Omsk) and New Zealand will start a Himalaya International Scientific and Sports Expedition in October 2007. The goal of the expedition is to paddle down one of the world's steepest rivers, Dudh Kosi, renowned as "the ruthless river of Everest". British mountain-climber Chris Bonington once said "Climbing up Everest and rafting down Everest
by Dudh Kosi are equally dangerous

This will be the third Mt. Everest descent for Evgeny Kovalevsky, famous Tomsk adventurer. Besides him, the expedition will consist of four boaters from Tomsk (members of Tomsk Scientific Centre Vasily Tchesnokov and Evgeny Karpitsky; Tomsk Polytechnic University student Nikita Martyushev; and expedition doctor Edward Merker), Vladivostok (Tatiana Kirina), and Omsk (Anna Tchupirova). Moreover, participation of a New Zealand kayaker Shayne Quinlivan makes the expedition international.

Before the descent the sportsmen will climb up the Himalayas pick Kala Pathar (5660 m) and will raise the flags of Russia, Nepal and New Zealand and of native cities of the participants there. Then, at the height of 5000 meters on the southern side of Mt. Everest, a base camp will be organized and it will be the starting point for an extremely difficult 130-kilometer descent.

It was back in 1976 that the first pioneer descended the Dudh Kosi, and since then many boaters and rafters have tried their skills there, but this time the Tomsk team will attempt the most complete descent of Mt. Everest by the Dudh Kosi.

Besides the exceptionally tough descent by the ruthless river, the expedition will field-test some latest equipment and materials developed by Tomsk scientists: antidepressants of the "Efar" Company, micro biotic water filter of "Aquazon", an arsenic and manganese analyzer of "Technoanalit", and "Incom" satellite communication systems.

From Evgeny Kovalevsky's Diary

October 3 - 10: On foot to the headwaters of Dudh Koshi - Lake Chola

October 3 - arrived to Katmandu. In the airport the team was met by the consul of the Russian Embassy Sergey Nedelko, our partner in Nepal, Director of "WhiteWater Nepal LTD" Bidur Thapaliya, and the expedition team member, professional kayaker Shane Quinlivan (New Zealand), who is rafting the river with us.

Arrival at Kathmandu


6th October: Expedition Team flew to Lukla (2840m.)


From Lukla we started on foot to our future Everest Base Camp. In Lukla we were met by Tak Man Rai and 10 porters. We trekked Dudh Koshi to see the river from every point wherever possible and try to get close to the river in gorges sections for detail scouting and consideration of possible ways to run them. The river is impressive! There is almost no calm water, everything is boiling and roaring. The canyon under Lukla is hardly visible. Altogether we are 8 expedition members, half of which have a head ache, and 10 porters. Kayakers of the expedition Shane Quinlivan (New Zeeland) and Vasily Tchesnokov (Russia) are main attraction on the trail surprising local people and porters as they are carrying kayaks by themselves all the way up. This is the spirit of a real expedition!

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8th October: The Team scouting 8 km. long River Gorge below Namche Bazzar.

(News provided by Evgeny Kovalevsky from the expedition):

1st group was scouting final part of the gorge and possible ways out of it. The gorge has never been paddled before! Making their way through intense jungles they spent 7 hours scouting the river section, making photo and video of the gorge and as a result members of 1st group managed to scout 3km. of final section of the gorge. Summary of scouting: the rapids of the section of the river are very difficult and complex but the section is possible to run.

2nd group went from Namche Bazar up to the middle part of river canyon. Descending to the river they saw 20 meter high and wide waterfall, the bottom of which was not seen from the top; to get down to the river for scouting the big waterfall was not possible. The group managed to get down to the river only with the help of special climbing equipment and 100 meters of rope. The last 20 meter descent to the river was a totally vertical wall. The Dudh Koshi gorge at this point turns in a very narrow bottleneck (5 meter wide max.). Summary of scouting: the 20 meter high waterfall is not possible to paddle, another smaller waterfall is clearly seen and theoretically runnable, the gorge has many turnings and the river at this section is not seen from the bank. On the way up from the middle part of the gorge the group saw the upper part with a waterfall complex.


3rd group scouted the upper part of the gorge from the upper bridge across the river. Summary: the Dudh Koshi at this part is extremely steep; water current is very fast, rapids are extremely complex and technical; there are some continuous waterfall sections with a 15 meter high waterfall, which is theoretically paddleable by kayakers.

Common summary of the expedition members about Dudh Koshi Gorge (below Namche Bazar):

The question about descending Dudh Koshi river gorge (below Namche Bazar) is decided to keep open for now because of the extreme difficulty of the section. The decision on this gorge will be made by the team after completion of the upper part of Dudh Koshi.

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9th October: The expedition reached Tengboche Monastery (3860m.). Scouting of the Gorge.

ceremoniaOn the way to Tengboche we could see an unrunnable waterfall complex below Namche Bazar. Scouting of the gorge below Tengboche.

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10th October: The expedition is on the way to Pheriche (4240m.)

cholo lakeResults of scouting of the Namche Bazar Gorge and the Tengboche Gorge: some parts of canyons are runnable, some are theoretically possible to run, and some not possible even theoretically. The expedition decision is: to run the sections which were considered runnable or theoretically runnable. 12:30 Nepal time we reached the headwaters of Dudh Koshi - Lake Chola Tso (4555 m). Shane Quinlivan, Edward Merker and Vasily Tchesnokov set their kayaks to the water. The water is freezing...


We are facing some problems with porters but Tak Man Rai is coordinating and arranging the support of the expedition. Thanks a lot to Tak Man! Pheriche will be sort of a base camp for the expedition as we will leave lots of river equipment here while we will make our way to the Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar.


11th October: Kayakers reached Tsholo Lake (Chola) 4555 - the headwater of the Dudh Koshi River!

Kayakers Shane Quinlivan and Vasily Tchesnokov paddled first 3 kilometers of the river, having started from Lake Chola Tso (4555 m). The descent finished in Pheriche.

News from Kathmandu "WhiteWater Nepal Pvt. Ltd.":

Today finally we managed to get Official Government Permit for Our Dudh Koshi River Expedition!

Dudh Koshi river is officially open for runnnig only from Jorsale (2740m).

"WhiteWater Nepal Pvt. Ltd." got An Official Government Permit for the River Expedition from Gorak Shep 5140m. to Jorsale 2740m.


13th October: Kalapathar

everest17:00 local time - The expedition headed by Evgeny Kovalevsky reached the top of the Kala Pathar pick (5600 m acc. to the altimeter) and enjoyed amazing views of Mt. Everest. From here the expedition and the supporting team make their way down to Pheriche and prepare expedition water crafts for the Dudh Koshi River.

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14th October: Tsholo Lake (Chola) 4555 - the headwater of Dudh Koshi River, paddling down the Chola Khola.

Today is a very important day for our team as this is the starting point of the Dudh Koshi River Expedition! We started the river expedition from the legendary Chola (Tsholo) Lake as high as 4555 m (N 27 55 15, 84 E 86 47 39, 26). The Lake is amazing! The water is freezing cold as the lake is located on a glacier but the kayakers of the expedition start from here. This is the first day on the water! After paddling on the lake the kayakers were carrying their kayaks for 30 min trying to find the headwater of the river around the lake from where the river expedition in the land of the highest mountains can take its start. Suddenly they saw a small stream of water making its way right from under the stones! This small stream is Chola Khola - one of the sources of Dudh Koshi River (the steepest Himalayan River and one of the highest rivers on the planet). That is amazing how the water is making its way from under huge stones! The symbolic starting point of the expedition is found - the river expedition begins! The kayakers start from here, and other expedition members and water crafts (bublick, double catamaran) wait in Pheriche as this stream is not large enough for big crafts to run. Shane Quinlivan, professional kayaker from New Zeeland, when saw the stream for the first time, was repeating the only word "AMAZING!" Shane together with Vasily Tchesnokov (probably the first Siberian kayaker paddling on such high altitudes) put kayaks on the water and gave a start! Huge amount of stones and shallow water made it a difficult task to do. But the most difficult thing is a real lack of the oxygen on such heights - 20% of the norm. It took an hour for these high altitude kayakers to paddle 3 km up to the place called Pheriche where the rest of the team was waiting for them. From Pheriche the Russian invention water craft bublick and cataraft with other expedition members will join the Dudh Koshi River Expedition in a few days.


15th October: Rest day in Pheriche (4240m.).

The day spent by the team in final preparation as the team starts tomorrow from Pheriche by river.


16th October: The team started rafting down from Pheriche.

The Day on Dudh Koshi River!
(Kayak and Double Cataraft)

kataraftKayaker Shane Quinlivan (New Zeeland) started first, followed by double cataraft. All team members experience how difficult is paddling on such an altitude (4200m) with lack of oxygen and in such extreme nearly freezing cold! To add more to this: the Dudh Koshi in Upper section is unbelievably steep with a gradient of around 90m\km with lots of stones and shallow water! Even the team scouted the section the day before they looked it through again before running.

As soon as the team managed to get out of the river canyon to the nearest village Soymare at 4020m. (N 27 52 038, Е 086 48 259) for overnight stay - a heavy snowfall started!

Tomorrow the expedition team will continue exploring the river despite of weather conditions....Extremely difficult canyon section of Dudh Koshi river below Pangboche (3930m.) is the target for tomorrow......3 km. of the river will take the whole day!

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17 October - had to cancel the descent. It had been snowing heavily, stones slippery, ice on the banks, freezing cold.

18-19 October - managed paddle about 4 km from Soymare to Tengboche. Spent the night in Pangboche, the altitude of the descent start 4011 m above sea level. Finished the two days' descent under Tengboche Monastery.

Imja-Khola rapid



20-21 October: Dudh Koshi Headwater

Reached Dudh Koshi over the pass with a Fortse Settlement. Paddled a part of the river near Fortse Tenga (h 3650m, N 27 51 090, E 086 44 680). The part is relatively paddleable, at least there are some shoals where we can secure each other or portage unrunnable parts. As a result of two days' hard work we sketched the paddling directionsк of the river, run numerous drops 1 to 1,5 meters, jumped a very unpleasant 4 meter waterfall, flipped over a rock, and left the river heading to Namche Bazzar.


more photos...


Thanks to http://raftnepal.com
and professional translator - Ivan Ivanov, Tomsk


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