Only a few hours out of our
destination we made a little pit stop. Follow the small creek a few
hundred yards to park and paddle. The rapid is one nice big wave train
with incredibly dynamic waves.
Dynamic indeed, the river will dictate the amount of beat down received
as the big waves like to break. Daniel Migoya
As the scour line shows, 30,000cfs is low water for the Siang.
Rejuvenated by the big water, the days of driving behind us
quickly forgotten as we made one final push to reach put-in. Just a few
years prior this was a foot trail but the road has been extended for
border security reasons.
At the put-in it's possible to walk up and run a bonus rapid.
Simply walking up the rapid takes nearly thirty minutes due to its
length and the size of the boulders that need be scrambled. It might
not be the hardest rapid by any stretch of the imagination, but the
bonus rapid is simply one of the largest I've seen.
time it takes to paddle up the
eddy and ferry out can be measured in minutes.
Rafa Ortiz and Daniel Migoya
Same from above.
It just feels that good: Rafa Ortiz.
Below the "warm up" this rarely run section of river continues
in wondrous style. Crystal blue water, pool drop character and many
unique rapids made the Siang everything I had dreamt big water could
be. To me, fun
big water is
not about super tough rapids with death holes like the Rondu Gorge of the Indus
but about class II
and III rapids taken to a massive scale. This is really what the Siang
is all about, some massive waves and the odd big hole to dodge, with
the occasional tough rapid mixed in but not the norm.
The Wall is one of of the tough ones. I remember watching it
video and wondering just how massive it must really be in person.
Standing on the bank there was no doubt about the size of the rapid.
Gradient starts off smooth, so the river has a unique glassy smooth
character as it accelerates.
Coombs enters The Wall.
The rapid is both simple and complex. It's like a
often seen on II-III rivers and creeks. The river flows over a riffle,
with 2/3 of the water channelized to one side. That channel loses
gradient a little slower than the rest of the riffle, and slams into
the wall at the bottom. Just imagine multiplying the size of that by
ten or more.
Coombs enters the meat of The
The crux of the wall is making it through an exploding wave hole with
any sense of control, or recovering quickly.
Ortiz fights off the wall.
Perhaps the funniest thing about The Wall, is that even if
you're lucky enough to style it, you'll probably roll when your boat
gets swallowed in the eddy line at the bottom where the other 1/3 of
the river meets the main flow. Thankfully there is a large pool to
recover in, and get ready for the aesthetically pleasing rapid that
of a kind on a Siang, Jesse and
Rafa ride the tube.
One more big one before take-out: The Fantastic Four. Arguably
the world's largest class IV, after running a variety of lines we
discovered it was quite a roll of the dice, and all you needed was a
strong roll. A very strong roll.
Coombs starting it off right.
Rafa Ortiz as the hole suddenly turns into a massive green wave.
Coombs in the "run out"
Shortly below the Fantastic Four is the first take-out option.
The nearly kilometer long bridge is right in town and convenient, but
also humbling. As a suspension bridge it's quite unstable, and getting
passed by children carrying more weight than you is rather embarrassing
but part of the experience.
long it's actually quite tiring,
Jesse Coombs finishes a magnificent day.
section of the Yarlung
Tsangpo aka Siang aka Brahmaputra is one of the finest big water
destinations in the world. Not only is there this amazing section of
river, but there are days of rafting and kayaking below.
This isn't a commercial page, but I can't say enough good
things about River
which is a fantastic company run by Roland Stevenson. They
not only nice people, but employ local guides and play a big role in
the local community. If you love rafting and trips like the Grand
Canyon, I can't say enough about getting in touch with Roland to get
the kind of big water multi-day rafting experience you can only have in
If this river at all interests you, today is the time to plan
your trip. In 2010 China announced official plans to dam to Yarlung
Tsangpo. While the dam is still a long ways out, it will eventually
happen. They will not say if the water will continue into India or be
diverted, as a diversion has the distinct possibility of
The rapids are so big the appear on Google Maps....
Maps market for Tuting, Arunachal Pradesh, India, the put-in for
rafting and take-out for our run.