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Kayaking Nepal's toughest rapids

January 21, 2019 3 min read

Kayaking Nepal's toughest rapids

Chris and good friend Garen Stephens recently undertook the trip of a lifetime, kayaking along  freezing emerald blue waters in Nepal. The guys faced many challenges, but keeping warm and cozy was not one of them! And in this case, we were happy to take a little bit of stress off Chris by making sure he had some of our awesome, warm layers to keep him comfortable along the way!

When you’re getting your adventure on in Nepal, naturally we wanted to know all about it, so we hit Chris up for all the details! Check out his recap of this amazing adventure below.


The tallest mountains in the world surround us. Their brilliant, snow-encrusted peaks seem almost dull in comparison to the vibrant prayer flags and audaciously painted structures here in the quintessential Himalayan mountain town of Jagat. The plan was simple, kayak from just north of Jagat nineteen miles down to the slack water of the Mid-Marsyangdi hydro-dam, located just to the south of the town of Besisahar.


Day one:

We were only a kilometre downstream from the put in when Garen hopped out of his kayak to take a peek at yet another horizon line. This time, Garen had a different look on his face. There was contemplation, and maybe a bit of concern, as he shouted to me, “you’re going to want to take a peek at this!” The rapid was rather heinous. Portaging the kayaks around the area looked almost equally heinous. We decided to go around and we had to shove our boats through a cave-like rock structure, precariously maneuvered a thin rock ridge, made a small jump across a death crevasse, followed by a steep, overgrown hillside full of thorns. That led quickly into a dry creek bed with plenty of ankle-rolling sized cobblestones, and even more overgrown vegetation. I leaned into the melee of foliage with all my weight but the flora proved unresponsive to gravity.

An hour and a half later we finally made it back onto the water. We were making slow progress. Continuous scouting proved necessary with yet more difficult, stacked rapids that had plenty of no-go locations. Time wasn’t on our side as the sun soon dipped behind the Himalayas. We had made such little downstream progress that we decided to walk the kilometre or so back up to the picturesque village of Jagat, where we enjoyed a relatively soft bed, hot food, and a cold beer.


Day two:

The early morning light illuminated the ridiculously steep valley as we hiked back down to the river. Our first rapid was rowdy and got us back in the spirit. The river was once again producing amazing whitewater, one great rapid after the next. Thankfully, we were able to boat scout significantly more rapids on the second day. We even stumbled upon a hot spring and next time I might plan on camping at this location and enjoying the hot springs into the evening.

Day three:

We routed down the familiar lower section connecting nineteen miles of spectacular class 4, with a couple of bonus big rapids to contend with. If this river were stateside, it would be a true classic, with hordes of paddlers on it every day.

Despite a questionable start, this area of Nepal eventually dished up some top quality rapids for the guys to explore. Whether your paddling, running, riding or hiking, having the right clothing for your adventure can be the difference between the adventure of a lifetime and a very miserable couple of days. So we asked Chris what he wore along the way.

Chris wore his Altitude active boxers and a Keystone Long sleeve top, Chris believes they are amazing for this kind of trip. The evenings were rather cold and having the warmth of the wool controlled the climate to make it acceptable to sleep in. On the river ioMerino layers always treated him well, “the water is glacial run off, and is rather cold, but the wool kept me warm and cozy. Not to mention this journey is part of a 2 month adventure and the fact that merino wool doesn’t stink is very convenient for me and everyone else around."




Want to see more of Chris' adventures? Check out his website at www.whereisbaer.com