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.
Roadside we enjoyed 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 had seen.
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.
Ben and Phil deliberated and decided to go big and get into the gorge
while we would provide moral and media support.
Stookesberry on entrance move of the first rapid, around a ledge
by a deluge of water sliding into a mammoth pillow hole.
you peer into the hole hey is just barely visible.
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 drove on to the next rapid, one that had been pondered
over during the road scout. It looked bad from all angles, but Ben
walked to river level and declared it good to go down the left. Phil
and Ben pulled up and scouted from the left bank, but quickly returned
to their kayaks and ferried 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 was passable, but big.
Boyer runs the entrance to the mighty hole.
Stookesberry gets a nice long stroke in…
resurfaces clear of the backwash…
the beast slayed, Phil and Ben pushed downstream only to be greeted by
another hole that was potentially terminal, and they made quick work of
setup above the last rapid of the gorge and awaited 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 dropped over the mountain tops, temperatures plummeted, and the
Pakistani’s showed us how it’s done in the Karakoram.
the risk of the rapid and a swim, the river level team decided 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.