Indus River through the Rondu Gorge
Northern Territories, Pakistan V+
Contact was made with Roland during breakfast, he informed
us of a large gorge downstream that would warrant road scouting. There
would be a bridge access above the gorge, so we packed camp into the
boats and hit the water.
We pulled into an eddy above the bridge that hung
suspended over a colossal rapid. Blasting for a new road directly above
us took our attention away from the river, and we scurried up to the
road and safety, not knowing if the workers had seen us.
Korbulic, Phil Boyer and Ben Stookesberry hike to the main road.
The scale of the Indus is hard to get a true feeling of.
Roadside we enjoyed a breakfast of corn flakes with Haleeb “The
Thickest Milk” and proceeded to be awed by the size of the river
as it wound through the only true gorge we have seen so far.
boys scout a very walled in section.
Stookesberry at river level to check out yet another big cataract.
The scout made it apparent that there would be an initial
walk around the bridge rapid, followed by at least two more
questionable portages in the gorge, and several mandatory rapids as
large as anything we had run.
My decision was easy. Still not fully recovered from the
flu, easy downstream progress was priority, in this case a quick walk
up to the vans. Chris was not feeling too swell either and accompanied me while
Ben and Phil deliberated, deciding to go big and get into the gorge
while we would provide moral and media support.
Stookesberry on the entrance move of the first rapid, around a ledge
fWhich was followed
by a deluge of water sliding into a mammoth pillow hole.
The final move of the rapid was through an absolute maelstrom of water.
I didn’t really notice just how crazy the water in this shot is
until I looked at it a while…a thirty foot wide, five to ten
foot high exploding pillow off the wall. Observe Ben’s paddle
sticking out in the middle of it.
the road we got to see more than the river, here is a Skardu Highway
We drive on to the next rapid, one that has been pondered
over during the road scout. It looks bad from all angles, but Ben
walks to river level and declares it good to go down the left. Phil
and Ben pull up and scout from the left bank, but quickly returned
to their kayaks and ferry back to the right. The left side was too
perilous, all the flow pushed into a sieve. From high on the right bank
the duo pronounced the hole as passable, but big.
Eddying out to scout river left.
Boyer runs the entrance to the mighty hole.
Stookesberry gets a nice long stroke in…
the beast slayed, Phil and Ben push downstream only to be greeted by
another hole that is potentially terminal, and they make quick work of
setup above the last rapid of the gorge and await the pair with a
growing contingent of local spectators. Ben
Stookesberry and Phil Boyer scout the last, and most locked in,
cataract of the gorge.
sun drops over the mountain tops, temperatures plummet, and the locals start a quick brush fire.
the risk of the rapid and a swim, the river level team decides to
portage around the fearsome rapid.
We knew this one would be a complicated walk, and they
were forced to seal launch in from considerable height.
Stookesberry about to make contact.
Below the rapid Ben and Phil found a perfect beach for the
group. Chris and I loaded our bags with food and we reunited on the
beach to enjoy a memorable meal under beautiful vistas.