Teesta. Tista or टिस्टा. However you
want to spell
it the Teesta might just be the steepest large volume river in the
world. All our time on the river would be spent in Northern Sikkim,
which has it's
own history beyond my ability to recap. Let's just say it's not your
stereotypical image of India, but is more like Nepal..with less
tourists. Flowing off the world's third highest peak,
Kanchenjunga, the river wastes no time in losing elevation. The river
has a healthy rafting business below the steep sections, and even the
steep sections have to some extent been explored via raft by the Indian
Army. With ground support of one hundred people and a helicopter too.
I'd be wishing for the same support at some moments in our trip.
month in country, two bags and a boat. Almost
exactly on the other side of the world, it takes a little bit of flying
to get to India but the first view of the Himalaya makes it all
Brahmaputra flowing out of the Himalaya
You have to be ready for things to go not at all
according to plan on these trips, and this was no exception. Sorry, the
road workers are on strike so you can't drive from Darjeeling to Sikkim
Still we had our car and driver booked for the day, so we chose to
drive close to the Sikkim border. The mass of people you hear about in
India, they're there.
The good news is that if any problems are encountered you can just
login to the police website.
Just a few hours up the road we find nice accommodations for less than
Hey that's the river we are headed to!
Well, looks like we made it just
in time. The Teesta is undergoing a series of major hydroelectric
projects. Most sections will be gone in just a few years as they are
working at a furious pace.
After a full days drive we arrive in Gangtok, Sikkim's
Gangtok has a nice bazaar and views of Kanchenjunga.
Jesse Coombs strolling through town.
Not exactly what I had mentally pictured for India.
Not a bad view from our lodgings. Mount Kanchenjunga.
One of the toughest parts of international
the food. These rather lucky communities don't eat nearly as much
pre-packaged or preservative infused food as we do. This can make it
hard to pack for multi-day trips though!
and Ben check out the options.
Traveling in Sikkim takes extra permits and
through hoops. North Sikkim multiplies that by ten for foreigners. We'd
be limited to ten days, couldn't camp and had to have a paid driver and
guide with us. Just two days of flying and two driving and we enter
North Sikkim. Really this isn't that long compared to what it would
have taken thirty years ago.
Good morning, one last push of driving.
Rarely have a seen rivers too steep to run. Let alone flowing around
~1,000cfs at low water. Look for the jeep in the middle to give it
Hoping we'd be able to pick off a section above, we pushed as far up
the watershed as was politically possible. No foreigners allowed past
Thangu, our put- in at 14,000'.
nearly a week of
non-stop travel behind us and ice on the ground we were both completly
exhausted and ready to get a taste of whitewater on the Teesta River.
To be continued in Teesta