This report is written as a practical account of our trip that we hope will be of use to other teams attempting the river and an interesting flick though for anyone else. Our trip was scrambled together from a dream in my head after meeting Colin and Paul in Pokhara for the first time. Two days later we were off!
We used the guidebook White Water Nepal and JJ’s blogs that were both invaluable to our rushed preparations. I would suggest reading these as well as this report if your planning to do the river as I don’t intend to repeat too much of the useful info.
Please bare in mind our trip was in mid April 2012.
On the water at 10:30am after the walk down from Simikot.
A couple of km of class 2/3 gets you warmed up before a trib comes in RL to increase the flow.
The 1st portage is basically just before the first rapid you would want to inspect. It’s marked by the stone wall at river level in RR. You can see the path head steeply up for a few meters from river level – this is the path you want to take – or at least inspect the next few 100 meters and make you own mind up to see if its worth running the first few rapids- its really not! It’s about a 20 minute portage.
This is what you see when you need to get out RL. Its not worth paddling the next 2 rapids or so.[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/first-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02468.jpg]Start walking
The is the start of the path we suggest walking from[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/first-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02469.jpg]Getting Busy
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/first-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02470.jpg]A bit sporty!
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/first-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02471.jpg]The Guts!
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/first-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02472.jpg]Upstream of getting back on.
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/first-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02473.jpg]Getting back on
Next up was an boulder garden rapid which we inpected and ran a few rapids.
The 2nd portage is marked by some long flat with stone beaches either side of the rivers. At the first sign of the river narrowing inspect/portage on RL. Don’t be tempted to put in too early. The first 600m of the portage don’t look too bad but then it gets rowdy – it’s a 1.5km portage and took us 1.5 hours along a path. Some chumps from England tried to portage RR a few years ago and had a mare. There is a suspension bridge 500m after where we got back in.
The Second portage on the Humla Karnali
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02475.jpg]Looking downstream of the get out
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02476.jpg]The path on river left
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02477.jpg]first rapids of the portage
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02479.jpg]Glimpses of the grade 6 stuff
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02480.jpg]More glimpses of the grade 6 stuff
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02481.jpg]Portage rapids
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02482.jpg]Portage rapids
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02483.jpg]Portage rapids
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02484.jpg]The portage path
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02486.jpg]Portage rapids
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/second-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02487.jpg]Portage rapids
The 3rd Portage is marked by a pinch in the banks after some flatwater with stony beaches each side and a small settlement on RL. Get out and portage for 400m or so on RL. We got back in down a side stream in a gully straight into some quality class 4+.
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02490.jpg]Stoney beaches line banks before get out
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02493.jpg]Villagers at the get out
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02494.jpg]Looking upstream of the get out
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02495.jpg]The house at the get out
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02496.jpg]First portage rapids
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02497.jpg]Portage rapids
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/third-portage/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02498.jpg]Portage rapids
We then cruised for a bit and set up camp in a wet cave at 5.30pm.
On the river 9am
We started with a short portage which finished with a runable rapid followed by some great class 4+/5.
A steep braided side stream comes in RR which marks a long 5- rapid. I managed to brusie my shoulder on the narrow gap, otherwise a cracking rapid.
A large blue suspension bridge marks Sarkegad which we reached at 13:30.
We then had 1h30m of great C3 down to the confluence of the Lochi Khola (aka……) which was a great camp site and the settlement on river left seemed very happy to give us a room for the night which was much appreciated as it had rained all day.
Day 2 Camp- Loki Khola
Our campsite of day 2 at the confluence with the Loki Khola
Hot spring at a 5 min walk up stream on river right![img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/day-2-camp-loki-khola/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02511.jpg]Our Accomodation
We managed to stay in this house for the night with some very welcoming locals. Much appreciated after a day and a half of rain and an injured shoulder![img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/day-2-camp-loki-khola/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02512.jpg]The perfect campsite!
A great place to spend the night after a tough first few days!
10am start and the sun comes out!
Things kicked off with about 1km of class 4 before coming to class 5 with a tree at the bottom which we portaged. There may well be a line far RL with more inspection.
Shortly after was another portage for us. Big and ballsy is all I have written in my notes!
Day 3 Portages
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/day-3-portages/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02525.jpg]Portage 1
Maybe a line far left but we couldn't see it![img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/day-3-portages/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02530.jpg]Portage 2
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/day-3-portages/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02531.jpg]Portage 2
Following these portages was some absolute quality 4+ read and run and class 5’s which kept us on a high for most of the day.
Things had quitened down by the time we came to camp in amongst some pine trees at about 4pm.
8.30 on the river
We reached the Mugu Khola confluence at 9.30am and another trib RR at 10:50.
There were 2 class 4 rapids at about 11am and a RL trib at 12:00 before passing the town of Kolti.
We reached the first class 5 rapid at 2:30 – there were a choice of 3 lines – the ‘down the meat’ on RL, the ‘man boof’ in the middle and the ‘chicken boof’ RR. Chicken boof for us!
The second C5 comes a few km later and was a portage for us. It is very runnable far RR but our excuse was that it needed a bit more water it to cover some rocks!
We camped high on RR – a couple of times we found there was a ‘ledge’ in the canyon about 20m up from river level which made good camp sites.
On the river at 9am
A few C4 rapids washed the museli from our faces before reaching a RL trip in an impressive vertical gorge at 10am. We think the rapid here is the photo of Tom Saffel in the guidebook. 10 minutes later there was another RL trib and a village.
11:00am marked the start on 2 C5’s the first of which we put some make-up on and run the chicken line and then washed it off before running the centre line of the next one.
Next up was some this-is-why-we-kayak read and run. 3 or 4 rapids in particular stand out. Some nervous neck straining, and hole dodging kept us in our boats. In hindsite we think this must have been the start of the 8km gorge refered to in JJ’s notes. We had lunch where the river gorged up a bit more before running the first few rapids.
At 3pm I shyly let slip I was quite tired and was grateful that the others agreed and we set up camp. As an added bonus this meant our boats would be a dinner and breakfast lighter for the remainder of the rapids in the canyon!
On the river at 8:30
We kicked things off with a portage straight away. One of the ones that still sticks out for me as one of our most runnable portage but the sticky hole at the bottom covering 90% of the river would have made our first move of the day a some what ballsy one.
Again some back-of-the-net 4+ read and run with bits of flat inbetween.
We then portaged relatively high RL into the town of…… this was one of the most idealic and friendly towns we came across. We all quickly became enhanted by the Shire-esk houses with a stream flowing through each house, across logs and threw water mills. The roti, alu and chutney we ate here was superb. We were offered food here and up until this point we didn’t really feel that asking for/buying food from locals was appropriate.
The Tila Khola coming in on RL marks the town of Manma and is the first sighting of the road. This is your first chance of a resupply but we paddled passed it as we were expecting it to be more of a signifcant village.
The rest of the day kicked up 2 or 3 cracking suprises and a portage. Including ‘charge-the-rooster’ which was awesome fun. Some serious hole dancing may see ‘successful’ decent the portage. Its marked by a cable car.
We camped on a beach with massive spiders at 4:30 just above a bridge.
Myself and Colin woke up with the runs but neither of us feeling too bad. We stopped off to resupply mid afternoon.
By the afternoon I was feeling worse and very run down with even my legs aching. We stopped at 3pm to rest.
Camped just above Dungeswar on a nice flat beach – very quiet.
We got a bit more food from Dungeswar, although the selection wasn’t much better! Did most of the rapids in the last part of the day.
Colin started feeling sick and we camped on a small plateau on RR.
Quite a long day paddling with very few rapids to keep us amused. Colin battled through his sickness and we covered quite a few km’s.
Camped RR on beach with a huge amout of fire wood.
We started the day at 7:30 thinking we had another 60km of flat to cover. By 8:30 we had caught up with a raft trip who informed us it was only about an hours paddle! Whhhhoop. An hour turned out to be 3 but a lot less than the 10 we were expecting! The pace of the river picks up a little after the Bheri joins before flattening out completely for the last slog to Chisapani. It took us about 1 hour from the Bheri to Chisapani.
Mugu Khola – If I were to do the trip again I wold certianly look into doing to Mugu which joined us on day 4. I will upate this with more info from Pete and Ali who did it a few years ago when I can.
Finishing at Manma – for a first trip down the Humla I would always reckommed doing it all down to Chisapani. Yes there is quite a lot of flat and it tends to be the time when people get a bit sick but just enjoy the rapids, play hole-chicken and enjoy being on the river. We tried to tie it up with hooking up with the Danish volley ball team rafting trip for the lower but they never showed up. If time is short then you can finish at the Manma which we made after 6 days – I think bus rides from here to Nepalganj is about 5 hours but check this out.
Smooth Nepali Bus Logistics hahha
There are 2 airlines that fly to Simikot – Sita and Goma Air. Paul had flown into the Thuli Bheri with Goma a few weeks before and spent hours negotiating down to a reasonable price of $255 per person with gear. The Goma Air check in was not open when we arrived so Paul walked into the Sita office and basically found it as easy as buying sweets. We paid 15,500 rupees (about $200) per person. Which included 130 rupees per kilo we had over 15kg. No negotiation necessary. We had heard from Charley and other groups that a standard price would be $220 for Simikot (or $165 Jumla for the Thuli Bheri) per person and then $3.30 per kilo over – so don’t pay more than this! How we got it so cheap we don’t really know but turning up early (and with only 3 of us) must have helped. We got on the second flight of the day and landed in Simikot by 11:30am. The plane is big enough for kayaks it just depends on what other gear they need to take up. You don’t need to charter a plane but it may be economical if there are lots of you. They may say you have to charter a plane but you don’t. Big groups may consider tuuring up on consecutive mornings
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02325.jpg]Getting out the Ganj!
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02314.jpg]Paul 'the fixer' sorting out cheap flight!
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02316.jpg]Waiting for the weather to get good enough to fly
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02315.jpg]Maybe the most attractive photo possible in The Ganj
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02318.jpg]Sita Air - our plane
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02320.jpg]Yeti Air - not our plane
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02327.jpg]Checking out the cockpit!
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02328.jpg]Happy Flyers
We tried to see as much of the river from the plane which was tricky![img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02329.jpg]Plenty of space
Our boats went at the back of the plane. Enough space for quite a few boats but depends of what else they need to take.[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/flying/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02337.jpg]Simikot Airstrip
Quite an incredible 'airport' on a mountain!
In Simikot we found that it was worth the little walk up the hill to the Nepal Trust lodge, which is mentioned in the guidebook.
Roger the Porter
Our porters and the walk down
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/porters/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02367.jpg]Failed porter negotiation!
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/porters/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02359.jpg]More porter discussions
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/porters/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02456.jpg]The walk down
[img src=http://www.venturesomeliving.co.uk/wp-content/flagallery/porters/thumbs/thumbs_dsc02488.jpg]Roger - The Legend!
Weather and Gear
Speed- Jam Jam
Distances - Kiwi, English and Scottish km's!!!
Maps would have been a great idea