Indus River through the Rondu Gorge
Northern Territories, Pakistan V+
Boyer a small speck in the Indus swift water.
Boyer warming up for another epic day.
We weren't too surprised to have more long scouts. Ben
Stookesberry takes a look at an unusual Indus rapid. On most rivers it
would just be a gravel bar riffle. Proportions change on the Indus, we
felt like miniatures, the "gravel bar" was big enough to be sievy.
The rapids above had looked like nothing from the road,
but soon enough we were perched above a road-scout noted rapid. We
noted that it looked like an easy move, a consistent mistake for our
Stookesberry about to take a hit, quite a hole hidden by the rock.
Boyer followed next, harvesting similar fruit.
It looked like Phil and Ben were perhaps a little left of
the ideal line, so I ran the entrance intent on getting further right.
I came down the initial ramp and got in a central eddy, which was
really a swirly, boiling mess that took me a bit too long to get out
of, but I managed to get out where I wanted and came into the hole,
only to have the same end product. The hole wasn't retentive, but the
hit was more akin to running a waterfall than the big fluffy thing it
Stookesberry probing a classic Lion River feature, big fun rapid into a
High above we saw a rapid that looked terrible, and our
assumption of a portage was correct. The river funneled down and
cascaded over what was sure to be a pile of rocks.
always, hard to put it in perspective. I shot this while scouting our
Phil Boyer in the foreground two hundred yards downstream from the
large cliff loomed over the consecutive rapid, Ben and I climbed up to
the over hanging ledge to get a different look at the river. Chris
Korbulic enjoys a mellower rapid.
the mellow to exciting, the Indus picked the level up a notch as we
continued, Chris Korbulic threads the needle. Chris
Korbulic finishes the aforesaid.
Approaching the succeeding horizon line Ben peeled off to
the left while we scouted on the right. Immediately I found myself
wishing I had gone left to. There was no portage on the right and it
was too late to make egress across without considerable effort.Goliath center holes
blocked any direct route, and going down the right required climbing
over a few feet of boils, no easy task. What truly concerned us about
the right side was a possible pocket hole at the bottom.
Boyer proclaimed it safe and probed down the right side.
The boil surged as Phil came into it, rejecting him into
the edge of the pocket hole, where he disappeared to resurface back in
the main flow, well clear of any recirculation. Whew, it went, but we
still were not too psyched about it. Option less I went next and got
lucky with the boil, managing to get over it and stay away from the
followed, was caught by the boil and pushed into the center of the
hole...backwards....we all held our breaths for a moment, but he
resurfaced back in the flow with a deft roll. We were all glad that
water is generally more forgiving than it looks like.
on the left side of the river, Ben Stookesberry had scouted out an
alternate line with a boof perpendicular to the current.
Stookesberry lines it up, driving into the crashing waves. Ben
once again, note where he is hitting the wave...
up! Timing can make all the difference in big water, and the wave broke
as Ben came in and typewritered him fifteen feet over into another
now it was our turn. Ben's luck on the timing didn't fire us up, but in
reality the rapid was just a really big class III. I chose to go next,
coming out of the eddy as high as possible, trying to gain plenty of
right to left momentum. I came trying to paddle at a nice steady
stroke, as as I approached the wave I put my head down and kept
paddling, tensed up and ready to take a hit and quick surf...but I got
lucky, and the wave turned green as I came over it and past the center
feature, barely getting my face wet!
Boyer catching air before making contact with the wave.
wave broke as Phil hit it, but he resurfaces on the other side.
is fired up and about to hit the wave
We were looking for a beach, and soon enough found a small
patch of sand. As we unpacked and explored our local, we are stoked to
find some driftwood. On the Indus most of the driftwood is picked up by
locals, so the camping to date had been cold and ozone friendly. We
were only too glad to sit around a campfire and soak in yet one more
day of epic paddling on the Indus. How could any river be this good
consistently, and would it continue?