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over the horizon
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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm a recent father of three, I will raft again some day.;-)

In between bottles I like to cruise the google earfs and look at rivers. Some of the most geologically unlikely and intimidating are in the mountains of western China and former Soviet republics.

I also am a connoisseur of medium to low quality Russian rafting clips on YouTube. The two intersected here:here.


Needless to say I am fascinated by the expedition potential in this region. Does anyone have experience or say of in this part of the world?
 

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Wish I knew Russian. Are their frames anodized or powder coated?
Galvanized, if not bark covered.

And congrats to the mfnL family, Brian!

-AH
 

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over the horizon
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Discussion Starter #11
OK, Shitouta. That one with the "God Face" is definitely one I have scoped by satellite. It flows right from the slopes of Khan Tengri to the city of Aksu in Xinjiang. The course it takes through the Tian Shan is just silly. Nice one.

It seems no one but crazy Russians and their R4 cats has been there. We should reach out to these guys and work an exchange.
 

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At least three teams have kayaked it....in addition to yearly trips of russian rafters. I think Team Diadora did it back in the early 2000s, followed by Team Umbro in 2013 and most recently Team Adidas just a few weeks ago. Team Diadora paddled into the plains of China and were arrested/deported, Team Umbro left their boats and hiked out at the Chinese border and Team Adidas hired a helicopter to fly them out above the Eyes of God gorges.
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffptk9jNF1I

And read Eugene Buchanan's book "Brothers on the Bashkaus" Not only will you be supporting a huge asset to the paddling community, Eugene himself, he resides in CO.

Every time I think I need a new piece of gear or think I'm cool for running big water shit, I watch this movie and read this book. Sawyer oars and Werner paddles, firepans and Partner Steel stoves, groovers, aluminum frames with mesh high backs, carbon fiber kayaks and WRSI helmets, Astral rescue vests and Kokatat drysuits, Yeti coolers and dryboxes, steaks and salmon at the beach. What a bunch of pansy ass pussies we are!
 

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over the horizon
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Discussion Starter #14
Peev, I gave myself some time this morning to watch the above movie. I'm moved to tears watching what awesome dudes these guys are.

I came across this next piece and took it in also. It is the state shot documentary of a rescue of a rafting team in southern Xinjiang.


https://youtu.be/gpCpB4Qak34

Be warned:
- 26 minutes, all in Russian, though the images do the talking
- graphic accident scene footage
- extreme geography porn
 

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over the horizon
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Discussion Starter #16
For those following on Google Earth, try entering the following locales in a search. Here are some of my notes so far on rivers in Xinjiang:

- Aksu River (Saryjaz River). This is the epic river beginning in Kyrgyzstan on the north side of the Tian Shan and flowing through the highest part of the range to emerge on the south side. This is the "Eyes of God" river. parts of the gorge look like it is cut through marble and speckled-hen granite. At river level it looks like it is among the most beautiful runs in the world.

- Yarkant River. Originating on the north side of the Karakoram Range (draining the north face of K2 itself) this river cuts a gorge through the western end of the Kunlun Shan, from south to north. Of the rivers that traverse the Kunlun it appears to be the mellowest. There are small villages on some tributaries in the gorge.

- Karakash River (Black Jade River). This is one of two rivers that spill out of the Kunlun Shan near the city of Hotan. There is ample whitewater. Primitive roads follow the river for most of its cut, though in a few places the roads leave as it enters steep gorges. A run would likely end in the reservoir southwest of Hotan.

- Yurungkash River (White Jade River). Also exits the range near Hotan. This river begins in the highest part of the Kunlun and cuts a completely irrational course through the range. It looks like 100 miles of sustained, boulder-choked whitewater in a completely inaccessible gorge. There is a mining district along the river in its upper reaches, hinting at access for a put-in. This is where the rescue of the Russian team in 2007 took place.

- Cherchen River. This is the river in the first video of the thread. It is smaller than the others (understatement) and would have a much shorter season. It is technically in the Altun Mountains. It cuts a serious slot canyon not only through the range, but stays slotted as it exits out into the eastern Taklamakan desert. Gnar.


I have come to a couple realizations in researching this region.
1. China holds some of the most amazing whitewater on the planet in Xinjiang alone.
2. The Russians are finding it and running it. Badasses.

Keep the vids coming.
 
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