- White Water Rafting - General Information
WHAT TO BRING
Personal Equipment: The less luggage you have
to carry around the more you will enjoy yourself.
Clothing should ideally be lightweight, dry quickly,
and provide insulation even when wet. Synthetic
fibres are preferable to cotton on the river for
this reason. Here is a fairly extensive to serve
as a guide
- A sleeping bags and pad. Your
sleeping bag should be a two to three season
bag, either down or synthetic filled. A foam
pad or Thermarest sleeping mattress is mandatory
for a good night's sleep. For those who do
not have a sleeping bag and pad, they can
be rented easily in Kathmandu or Pokhara for
about fifty cents a day.
- Lightweight pants.
- Cotton underwear.
- Light weight long sleeved shirt
or T-shirt. We use these as sunscreen in camp....
Don't worry about getting enough sun, you
- A fleece style jacket. Polypropylene
or wool is preferable.
- Toiletries: keep it to a minimum,
and forget the cosmetics... you won't have
a chance to use them. Bring plenty of moisturizing
- Spare glasses or contact lenses
if you wear them.
- Flashlight or headlamp with
- River sandals like Teas or
Alps are the preferred footwear on the river.
It is essential that all rafters have footwear
that they can wear in the raft, which will
not come off in the event of a swim, as this
is considered standard safety equipment. Old
running shoes will also do.
- Shorts or swimming costume.
- A sarong for women (a long
piece of cloth wrapped around your waist)
is another good option, and can be purchased
cheaply in Nepal. This is invaluable for visiting
villages and respecting local custom for dress.
- A baseball style cap and good
sunglass is absolutely essential. Sunglasses
should be equipped with a retaining device
to keep them on your face where they belong.
- Sunscreen (spf 15 or greater
and waterproof) is essential DON'T FORGET
LIP BALM, SPF 15 MINIMUM!
( Karnali, Marsyangdi and Tamur Expeditions )
- A day pack for the trek to
- Long sleeved thermals top and
bottom (long underwear).
- Light and medium weight weaves
are the handiest.
- Walking shoes or lightweight
hiking boots are a must. People who are used
to walking long distances over uneven terrain
will do fine with light hiking shoes or even
running shoes. Some of the guides will do
the trip in Teas, but if you saw their feet,
you'd opt for better footwear. Heavy mountaineering
boots are more of a burden than a blessing.
- Toilet paper and a lighter-
nice to have a spare.
- Optional Items
- Small binocularsfor wildlife
viewing in the national parks.
- Camera and film. Also bring
a good cleaning kit, as field conditions are
harsher than in towns. Spare batteries are
- Fishing equipment.
- Walk/Discman and tunes.
- Reading and writing material.
- Personal first aid kit.
Perhaps the most
important thing you can bring is a good mental
There is not a lot you can buy on a river in Nepal,
bearing that in mind you will not need to take
much in the way of money, say 500-1000 rupees
(US$15). We'll fill you in on the beer kitty when
you get here. Chocolate, sweets and cigarettes
are seldom available anywhere on the rivers; so
bring a few treats for yourself, they can be great
bargaining chips for that massage you may need
on the layover day...
A DAY ON THE
There are no rules to running rivers other than
those dictated by common sense. To enjoy and learn,
the participants need to be flexible and adaptive
in changing situations. With this in mind here's
what we normally plan on any river journey...
We rise at dawn
with the sun and wander to the campfire where
a huge pot of coffee is waiting. After a hearty
breakfast and loading the rafts, we start rafting.
We try to get on the water by around 9am. On the
river you'll paddle hard through the rapids and
cruise in between. On any of the larger volume
rivers you could safely say about 30 percent of
the time is spent running rapids and 70 percent
The day's rafting
is punctuated with a leisurely lunch break around
midday, as well as stops to scout the more challenging
rapids, explore temples and villages, waterfalls
and other interesting sights. The length of time
spent rafting is directly related to our choice
of spectacular campsites. Typically we are on
the water 4-6 hours each day.
We get into camp
around 3-4pm in the afternoon and there is plenty
of time to explore and relax. On longer trips
there is always a layover day built into the itinerary,
a chance to do as little or as much as you wish.
These areas are also difficult to get to... it
would be a shame to end up rushing.
Evenings are spent
around the campfire, drinking hot spiced rum and
getting to know the people on the trip. Food is
communally prepared, every day a different raft
crew helps with the simple preparation of vegetables.
The kitchen becomes one of the main social points
on the trip, and without a doubt the best place
to catch up on the latest gossip or get to know
someone better..."Gut that chicken for you,
After a few days on the river, time has little
meaning, river times takes over. Having played
hard all day, it's often a surprise to look at
your watch before going to bed to find it's only
8pm, whereas you were sure it was closer to 10.
The next day we begin all over.
have the advantages of offering some real heart
thumping whitewater with the incredible journeying
aspect of a long river trip. With more time on
the river, things are more relaxed, relationship
progress at a more natural pace, and memories
become firmly entrenched for a lifetime. Long
after the whitewater has blurred into one long
white-knuckled thrilled ride, the memories of
a moonrise over the river and the friends you
inevitably make will remain.
RAFTING AND THE
Nepal, for its entire massive mountain peaks and
impressive geography, is actually an incredibly
fragile environment. At Ultimate Descents our
lives have revolved around the free flowing river.
We feel an increased responsibility to protect
and preserve these wild places. Not only do we
leave every campsite cleaner than when we've arrived;
we've taken steps to protect Nepal's rivers and
the people who live along them.
If you would like
membership information on the Nepal River Conservation
Trust (NRCT) or like to join our yearly trip in
September to support Eco-conscious tourism along
Nepal's rivers, simply contact us here.
At Ultimate Descents, we take safety very seriously.
It is our first and never forgotten priority,
and it shows. We employ some of the best rafting
guides in the world. These men and women are whitewater
professionals, trained in CPR, emergency wilderness
first aid and swift-water rescue. Safety kayakers
accompany each expedition and can get a person
out of trouble faster than anyone else.
Equipment is another
element of being prepared for anything. Rafting,
like flying, scuba diving or safe sex, is intrinsically
dependent on using the most advanced and reliable
equipment. We use the best rafts, flotation devices,
helmets and paddles available.
You can help us
by doing your part as well. Listen to your guides
and take safety seriously.
- Grade I : Flat water,
no rapids, a splash or two with few or no obstacles
- Grade II : Bubbling current.
Some maneuvering required but easy to navigate.
- Grade III : Exciting-thrilling
rapids; with irregular waves/hazards.
- Grade IV : Roller coaster
rapids that require technical skill and careful
maneuvering large irregular waves (difficult)
- Grade V : The hair-raising
limit! Extended violent rapids with severe hazards.
- GRADE VI : Nearly Unable
to run. Extreme attention and caution required.
Inadvisable some things to keep in mind when
planning a river rafting trip in Nepal are that
most of the white water is at an altitude of
650 - 1100 meters and there is a tremendous
seasonal variation in water volume. During the
rainy monsoon season, water levels rise to more
than 10 times that of their low points. From
mid-June to early September, the rivers are
at full volume and operations are limited to
the most adventurous rafting trips. Overnight
programs are offered only on the Seti and Trisuli