Vladimir Lysenko. DIARY OF RAFTING DOWN EVEREST IN NEPAL
(April of 1991)
(Lobuche Khola, Imja Khola, Dudh Kosi, Sun Kosi Rivers)
March 29, 1991. By flight 561 of Aeroflot I have arrived to Kathmandu from Moscow. The aircraft made landing in United Arab Emirates. In the aircraft I got to know the climbers Sergey Ovcharenko and Alexander Moroz. They fly for the reconnaissance of Mt.Annapurna with expectation for 1992.
We have arrived to Kathmandu late, Ministry of Tourism already was closed.
March 30. Saturday, holiday. Ministry of Tourism and Central Immigration Office (CIO) did not work. During all day I visited the private tourist firms, connected with Tibet (that to discuss an opportunity of carrying out of expeditions there), but either they were closed, or on the spot there were found insignificant officers only, inviting to come tomorrow.
March 31. Having paid in Rastra Bank for my travellings, I have gone to Ministry of Tourism to the section-officer, managing rafting. Have informed him, that I want to descend down Everest on the Lobuche Khola, Imja Khola, Dudh Kosi and other rivers from settlement Lobuche (4,930 m above a sea level) to Chatara (100 m), and then to raft on the Tamur River (running down Mt.Kanchenjunga). I have shown him the accompanying letters. The officer has told, that on the Dudh Kosi nobody rafted singly before, but in principle it is possible. For this purpose I will need to pay all charges, connected with a liaison-officer, the presence of which at expedition is certain. He has told to come tomorrow. So one day was lost. Certainly, I did not idle and ran through tourist firms, connected with Tibet and Sikkim (there I want to raft on the Tista River too).
April 1. In the morning I have handed over the passport to CIO for prolongation of the visa for 14 days. In Ministry of Tourism the section-officer has given me to sign the paper that I am ready to bear the charges for a liaison-officer. And again he has told me to come for the following day. In CIO I have taken away the passport with the prolonged visa.
April 2. The section-officer has told me, that all papers are ready, and has shown me the permits and the "permissible" letter, but by him not yet signed. However at first it is necessary to make arrangements with anybody from officers of Ministry of Tourism, that he has agreed to become my liaison-officer. And the section-officer has brought to me the first pretender. I, due to credulousness, thought, that hundred dollars for the potential liaison-officer will be quite enough, but he categorically has required six hundred (but I had 520 dollars only in general, and I believed, that it is a large sum, because during the whole first five-week expedition in Nepal I have spent 200 dollars, and the part of the money - 40 dollars - then has been stolen). Naturally, I could not promise 600 dollars, and the claimant No.1 with arrogant aspect has left. The section-officer was dissatisfied, but in some time has brought the claimant No.2. That pretender stubbornly insisted on 600 dollars too (as it was found out later, it was the standard payment for water expeditions). It was necessary to part with the candidate No.2 also.
My Nepalese friend, by the private invitation of which I have arrived to Nepal, became to persuade the section-officer, in every possible way emphasizing, that I am alone, have arrived from the USSR and the sum of 600 dollars is beyond my means. The "persuading" was proceeded for about 3 hours with change of a theme of discussion now to the internal political situation in Nepal, now to the foreign-policy activity of the USSR, have talked about the low salary of the state employees in Nepal... In short, in 3 hours the section-officer has brought to me the young officer of Ministry of Tourism, almost not speaking English. Through my friend it was possible to have made arrangement with him about 11,000 Rupees plus 218 Rupees for his insurance (officially 1 dollar was equal to 33 Rupees), that is it has turned out 340 dollars as a whole. Thus, at me there were 180 dollars left yet. If to live modestly, this money will be enough.
April 3. During a half of day I have been at CIO - tried to receive the permit for trekking in region of Mt.Annapurna (it costs 90 Rupees per a week plus 200 Rupees for the entrance in a national park). Almost everything has been put in order, however the officers have told, that they will give me out the permit at the beginning of May only. During the another half of day I roved through Kathmandu for searches of the detailed maps of Sikkim, Karakoram and region of Mt.Nanga Parbat, but without the special success.
April 4. In the morning we have gone by a bus away from Kathmandu to Jiri. Before departure, at the witnesses, I have given 11,218 Rupees to the liaison officer. Now I owe him nothing, and all charges in the expedition (on meal, spending the night and transport) he will pay himself.
To Jiri we have arrived in the evening - already it has become to darken. I have found a cheap hotel (5 rupees for a bed). Here "dalh-bat" (the rice with a vegetable broth and seasonings) costs 15 Rupees. I have told to the owner of the hotel, that a porter is necessary for me. We made arrangements about that tomorrow in morning he will offer me those who wish.
The liaison-officer does not contact with me practically - either because of ignorance of English, or he considers, that he has the sole function in expedition - in case of a incident with me, to inform the Ministry of Tourism about it.
April 5. During two hours I bargained with potential porters (they wished to receive 200-250 Rupees each per day besides their meal will be their problem). Possessing the experience of the previous Himalayan expedition (when in region of Mt.Makalu we gave to porters 50 Rupees each per day, and 50 Rupees per person "went" for meal daily), I wanted to offer them the such payment, but it was possible only to make arrangements about the variant: "my" meal plus 94 Rupees per day (or rather, 1,600 Rupees for 17 days - to this term I planned to reach in the catamaran up to Wapsa, and there to let the porter go).
At 10 o'clock we set out. The weight of the load was 35-40 kg per each. The porter (to the point, he is not sherpa) carries the package with pipes of the catamaran frame of length of 2.2 m. It is visible, that he is in the quite good physical form. The trail now climbs upwards, now is lowered sharply... It is characteristic for the Himalayas. We have spent the night in settlement Shivalaya on the bank of the small river Khimti Khola.
April 6. From the morning there was the long ascent, then - the large flat site and, at last, the abrupt descent to a stream. We have spent the night before the Likhu Khola River.
April 7. We have crossed the Likhu Khola. In Kenja the police check-post is located (for catching the tourists without permits). Further, almost up to Seti, there is the very abrupt ascent. I crept on it, being drenched in sweat. I had to listen the numerous sarcastic remarks of passing-by white tourists concerning my large load. The porters only carry such rucksacks in local places, and for the white person it is sheer indecently. Anybody from the tourists here has not a rucksack weighing more than 10-15 kg (and many women and some men give to carry to a porter their easy rucksacks even). I hear these jeering replies during three days running. We have finished in Seti. I have got poisoned by something.
April 8. In connection with the bad state of health because of the poisoning, and also as it pestered me to be allocated "indecently" among trekkers, I have decided to employ the second porter up to Namchebazar for carriing by him my rucksack. I have made arrangements with one of local fellows about the payment - 550 Rupees plus a meal for my account. It has become easy to go without a load, there appeared the opportunity (and desire) to associate with the white trekkers. I have got to know the Englishman, American (boy), American (girl) and girl from South Africa. However, my level of English is insufficiently high for free dialogue, and I did not understand much. We have passed Lamjura La Pass (3,530 m). Before it there are the magnificent rhododendron forests. The bright red rhododendron blossoms at such height are looked with the special delight.
On the pass a wind "rinsed" the hundreds of white small rags (this is one of Nepalese traditions, connected with religion). After descent we have crossed the small river Junbesi Khola and have spent the night before Sallung. The prices for meal became to grow. The cost of "dalh-bat" has grown from 15 Rupees (in Jiri) up to 20, and of "Pepsi Cola", "Fanta", "Coca Cola" - according to from 10 (in Kathmandu it was 6 in general) up to 30. Therefore it was necessary to refuse cooling drinks. We used as food only dalh-bat and tea. Such situation for me is habitual - during the whole first Himalayan expedition we with my companion ate dalh-bat and drank tea, as such "complex" is the cheapest food in Nepal. I plan to eat in basic dalh-bat and tea now also, during the second expedition. Such limitation of the menu and cheapness of ration displease the porters, getting used to the richer clients. They wish meat and beer. But it is expensive for me too, and it is necessary to refuse them.
April 9. We have crossed the Beni Khola and after descent have come to the Dudh Kosi in region of Jubing. From here the general direction of the trekking varies from eastern to northern, and the way to Everest further lays along the Dudh Kosi.
I have examined the river near the bridge. There are rapids of 5 and 6 severity grade. The level of water is low, but it is possible to raft. We have spent the night before Kharikhola. Here "Pepsi Cola" is sold already for 40 Rupees.
April 10. Have crossed two smalls river and have reached settlement Surke, laying on banks of the Surke Khola River.
April 11. We have passed Chaumrikharka, whence the trail goes to the airport Lukla, Chaplung. Have crossed the Kusum Khola. After Chhutrawa we have passed on other bank of the Dudh Kosi. Have passed Phakding. In region of Benkar we have returned on the right on the way (but the left orographic) bank of the Dudh Kosi and have spent the night in Monjo in twenty meters before the police check-post. Under the description of Mike Jones (and it is the sole for me source of information about the Dudh Kosi), I am on very abrupt (the slope is about 80 m/km) and probably the most dangerous site of the river. However that, what I see actually, calms me a few: though on the river there are enough rapids of 5 and 6 (maximum) severity grade, but this site as a whole is quite passable, and Mike Jones was mistaken concerning the slope – here (as I have counted up over the lines of equal height) it is about 30 m/km. There has appeared the reliance, that I can raft successfully.
April 12. At the police post there have been taken from me 250 Rupees for the entrance to the national park "Sagarmatha" (Nepalese name of Everest). It was perfectly unexpected for me financial "puncture", as yet before Monjo because of high prices for porters and meal I have become to count up the leaving money, which now only at rigid economy could be enough for returning to Kathmandu after the end of the expedition. And this loss of 250 Rupees also... There was no alternative, as in the greatest possible pace to go, go and go - from 6 till 19 o'clock. In Jorsale have left a part of equipment, not necessary for the rafting on the top (shallow) site of route - a part of pipes, spare paddles, spare inflatable pillows, ropes, "carbines", boiler and those 4 cans of a stewed-meat, which I have brought from the USSR. Then went along the river up to the place of falling into the Dudh Kosi of its right tributary Bhote Kosi and, crossing the bridge, have risen to Namchebazar. Here I have parted with the second porter and again became self to carry the rucksack. Further, after Khumjung, we were again lowered to the Dudh Kosi, have crossed the next bridge and on monotonous slope have risen up to the Buddhist monastery Tengboche. I mentally nicknamed this site of the way as "abbey road" (by analogy to the known song of "Beatles"). Here the trail goes already in parallel to the Imja Khola River, but the river is not visible. We have spent the night at Tengboche (3,867 m above a sea level). Here already the dalh-bat cost 30 Rupees, and a bed - 10.
April 13. I have got up, as always, at five and have gone to photograph Everest (8,848 m) and Lhotse (8,516 m) - the first and fourth peaks of the world. The fact is, that usually in the afternoon from clouds Everest is not seen from a distance, and it is possible to see it and Mt.Lhotse (at least, with large probability) in the morning early only. I have made the several photoshoots. We have eaten and set out. Were lowered to the Imja Khola. On the river in region of the bridge there are three impassable rapids. We have passed on the right orographic bank of the Imja Khola, have passed Pangboche. After Tsuro we moved along the Lobuche Khola River. Before Pheriche have passed on the left bank of the Lobuche Khola. Have reached Dughla (4,600 m).
On my map there was shown, that the Lobuche Khola is formed by two streams, flowing down from the left and right wings of Khumbu Glacier. The right begins ostensibly near settlement Lobuche (4,930 m), and the left - higher Dughla. However actually the left creek was only formed at Dughla, and to hear about the right stream, it was necessary to pass on the right wing of Khumbu Glacier and to rise to Lobuche. I have left the porter and load in Dughla and have gone further light. Lobuche is the last populated area on the way to Mt.Everest. Passing on the right wing of Khumbu Glacier, I have seen, that here any stream is not present, and there are snow and ice only. It meant, that the Lobuche Khola River is formed (from thawing ice of Khumbu Glacier) near settlement Dughla (4,600 m). But for the sake of interest I have still reached settlement Lobuche, and then has ascended higher to the height of more than 5,000 m. It has become to darken, it was necessary to be lowered back. From Lobuche, unfortunately, because of the massif Nuptse Mts.Everest and Lhotse are not looked through, but the views of the snow peaks around are sheer amazing. At three hotels of Lobuche there are the high prices for meal products. "Dalh-bat" costs 45 Rupees, and four-Rupee (in Kathmandu) biscuits - 30 (to a word, a bed - 15 Rupees). However here is a lot of tourists-trekkers. Austrians, Swisses, Canadians, Germans...
April 14. Early in the morning I have come back to Dughla. Together with the porter I have collected the catamaran, and the rafting on the Lobuche Khola River was began. The porter carried a rucksack, and I rafted without a load. From Dughla down to Pheriche (4,252 m) the Lobuche Khola represents by itself the shallow small river, strewed with stones. It was necessary many times to carry the catamaran through these stones. Below Pheriche the river enters a canyon. The group of Mike Jones began the kayaking from here.
In April 1991 in the canyon there were many dimensional impassages. However, there were met also the passable water-throw-downs of height of 1.5-2 m. It lasted so up to the falling of the Lobuche Khola into the Imja Khola. From this place the porter and I have brought the catamaran in 2.5 km upwards along the Imja Khola almost up to settlement Dingboche (4,343 m), and I have rafted on this river. To the point, the Imja Khola is born in the lower reaches of Lhotse Glacier, that is it flows down from the massif of 8-km-mountain Lhotse. The top site of the Imja Khola, on which I have rafted, from the point of view of obstacles is similar to the earlier passed Lobuche Khola. After confluence with the Lobuche Khola the "water-consumption" (water-flow) of the Imja Khola has increased, and at the same slope about 45 m/ km the obstacles became steel more dangerous (the separate rapids - of fifth and maximum sixth (tenth American) severity grade), but there were still many dimensional impassages.
I have stopped the rafting today at a distance of kilometer before settlement Shomare. So, the first day of the rafting is behind. Everything goes perfectly.
April 15. I have continued the rafting. Between Shomare and Pangboche there are several rapids of 6 grade, one from which is of waterfall type, another rapid was impassable for rafting in my catamaran.
Before the bridge at Pangboche the river for any time has calmed down in order to rush then into the impassable narrow slot under the bridge. A number of severe rapids (of 5-6 grade) further followed.
Below Pangboche, before three impassable rapids of a fall type in region of the bridge over the Imja Khola, it was necessary to interrupt the rafting, as lower, down to Namchebazar, there was the gorge with a number of dimensional impassages. We have disassembled the catamaran and have made a carrying beyond Namchebazar down to confluence of the Dudh Kosi and Bhote Kosi.
April 16. We have left all things, unnecessary for the rafting, in settlement Jorsale (there, where we left things earlier). Have collected the catamaran near confluence of the Dudh Kosi and Bhote Kosi, and the rafting has continued. From here down to Jorsale on the Dudh Kosi there follow one rapid of 6 severity grade and a number of rapids of 4 and 5 sg. Below Jorsale down to settlement Chumo there is a number of rapids of 5-6 grade. After Chumo there was the impassable rock-choke of large stones. Before the bridge near Benkar - again the rapid of 6 grade. Further, after several obstacles of 4-5 sg, three impassable rapids followed.
After them - a rapid of sixth severity grade. And then there was the quiet site of length of about 1 km. Before Phakding in a severe rapid the log stuck up. We have spent the night opposite to settlement Phakding at tourist camping (payment for a bed - 10 Rupees).
My occurrence with the catamaran has caused at the camping the large interest not only among Nepaleses, but also among the white foreigners. Americans, Germans, Austrians approached to me, were surprised.
April 17. From Phakding down to settlement Ghat a number of rapids of 5 and 6 grades (one of them was very serious – near Chhutrawa) and after them (in region Chaumrikharka) the impassable waterfall followed. After about 1.5 km, in the place, approximately appropriate to the projection of the settlement Lukla on the river, I have temporarily stopped the rafting on the Dudh-Kosi, as below this place on the river after 4-meter waterfall there went the waterfall of height of about 7 m and a number of absolutely impassable rapids, formed by large boulders. Below Surke and almost up to Jubing the difficult to reconnoitre site with a plenty of impassable rapids followed. We have disassembled the catamaran and had time to reach Surke, when it has become absolutely darkly.
April 18. At 5.30 the porter has left to Jorsale for left things. In the meantime I have counted money again – there remained available only about 1,300 Rupees (I have given 500 Rupees to the porter on the first day of the way as advance payment). It is necessary go up to Jubing in the course of a day about (half-day today and half-day tomorrow) plus the assembly of the catamaran. At the most rigid economy for this time for meal and porter that will take not less than 300 Rupees. It means, that for the porter it remains 1,000 Rupees, and there is possible one variant of payment only - to offer him not 1,600 Rupees for 17 days, but 1,500 - for 15 days (that is the daily payment increases up to 100 Rupees, but the general falls on hundred). At 12 o'clock the porter has come back from Jorsale. I have offered him new variant of payment, he has accepted it with large reluctance. We have rearranged the load and set out. Have reached Kharte, where have stopped for spending the night.
April 19. We have reached Jubing. I have given to the porter relying to him 1,000 Rupees, we ate "dalh-bat", and the money has terminated (even it was not enough for tea). I have decided to sell the photocamera "Smena" (leaving self "Zenit" only). To my huge pleasure, it was possible to make rather successfully – for 390 Rupees (in Kathmandu there were suggested 100 only), and the new kapron rope "has gone" for 150. So, there has appeared at me 540 Rupees - it already can be enough (though in the limit) to successfully finish the rafting, to reach up to Taplejung, to have rafted on the Tamur River and from Chatara through Dharan to leave to Kathmandu. I have decided, that if the money will not be enough still, already after the Tamur in Dharan I sell "Zenit" (in Kathmandu for it there were given 1,200 Rupees). I have purchased in Jubing the dry rice for 20 Rupees and 4 small packages with vermicelli (of single use) for 8 Rupees each. My sugar was terminated, but tea-leaf remained very much, so about tea it is not necessary to worry. Besides there were 4 cans of a stewed-meat and half-tin of quickly soluble coffee. The porter and I were lowered to the Dudh-Kosi and have passed some upstream, and then have collected the catamaran. Soon, after his photographing, in parting, of my passage in the catamaran of one of sites of the river, the porter has left - he hastened very much to reach somewhere before the night, and I did not object, as for me in this case it was not necessary to pay for his supper.
Then I have rafted on the Dudh Kosi for about 1 km, besides have passed a few rapids (of 5 and 6 sg), and have moored to the left bank for spending the night. So, now I have remained alone, and in case of any incident - anybody will not help me. Besides the site lower Jubing was not kayaked by Mike-Jones team, which could not reconnoitre this site by a bank, has not decided to make kayaking without preliminary (on foot) investigation and has left to Kathmandu. Then, the truth is, it has flown in the helicopter to Lamidada and has kayaked therefrom on the Dudh Kosi up to the Sun Kosi, but the site lower Lamidada is simple absolutely. But these about 60 kilometers of the river between Jubing and Lamidada for me is complete riddle. It is necessary again to go in style of the first descent. However, for me the such-style rafting will not be for the first time.
April 20. After Jubing on the river there was the number of rapids of 5 and 6 sg. And after 2-3 km lower the bridge the very severe site of the Dudh Kosi began. At the slope about 30 m/km the water-flow has grown sharply (in comparison with the canyons near Namchebazar and Surke), and the river has become extremely dangerous. In case of the heaving of catamaran onto rock it is already easy for the river to have broken this ship. The Dudh Kosi in basic flows in the deep canyon with the vertical and half-vertical walls, the reconnaissance is extremely complicated. I have moored for spending the night before settlement Chhi near the small bridge over the river.
April 21. Early in the morning I have gone for investigation of the canyon below Chhi and subsequent site up to settlement Wapsa. As from the top trail because of dense-bushes and trees it was possible to see a little only, I have decided to go back on riverside of the Dudh Kosi. Because of rocky cliffs, met rather frequently, it was necessary to bypass them on the top - for this purpose it was necessary each time to climb for three hundred meters approximately through a bush or over smooth cliffs. It has taken away many forces and time. Therefore by 18.30 I have not yet reached the camp, though up to it there remained three hundred meters about along the river. The next rocky bluff did not allow me to get quickly into camp - it was necessary again to search a roundabout way. However it has become quickly to darken (from the experience of the previous days I knew, that by 19 o'clock there will come the night). In my order there was only the half of hour of a light day. I from the last forces have started with a jerk upwards - at first on cliffs, then on a crumbling-away. However the time has overtaken me, and at 19 o'clock, when there has become absolutely darkly, I still crept on stones. In darkness I have got over, to the touch, on the next crumbling-away and crept upwards on it, until leant against a vertical cliff, having barred me the way. To the right of it there was the rocky trough, down which it was possible very even easily to roll downwards. And at the left there was the bluff, and in darkness it was impossible to define, whether is the descent down it possible (as it will become clear in the morning of the following day, the descent over ten-meter vertical bluff without a rope was impossible even in the day-time). Before the cliff a small tree grew, and I had to carry out the night, sitting on it. The night was cold, so to sleep it was not possible. In the morning, for getting out on the top trail, it was necessary to be lowered back to the river, to pass along the bank in the opposite from camp direction yet about two hundred meters and after it only to ascend on a trail along a crumbling-away. As during one day I did not eat and did not sleep, have reached the camp with quite clear hope. But here also I have received from a fate the severe click: the bag with my personal things has disappeared. Instead of it the maps and the photographic films were scattered only. I was thoroughly plundered. Only old patched up powder-puff, to my happiness, was thrown on stones. There were stole: the syntepon sleeping bag, mat, jacket, two pairs of woollen socks, two t-shirts, vest, trousers, large polyethylene bags and the heap of petty subjects (in 1990 on the Trisuli River I was robbed - there have stolen the jacket with the passport and money; but so much things all at once - it is for the first time). In consideration of that because of the large weight of equipment I did not take to Nepal a tent, now I should hereinafter sleep on ground in one powder-puff(-jacket) only, and for legs it is necessary to use the gummed bag for a pumping up gondols.
April 23. The rafting has continued. Below Chhi for 2 km (almost up to Andheri) there were found out a number of rapids of 6 grade, including the three-meter waterfall and also two dimensional impassages. I passed this site without the rucksack (I has brought it ahead - up to Andheri - in the morning). The river, turning temporarily eastward, has calmed down a little, but up to settlement Wapsa there were a few rapids of 5 and 6 sg. On this site there are two bridges, one of which was very low (it was necessary to take catamaran out under it). I have put in for spending the night to the right bank against Wapsa.
April 24. After Wapsa the canyon of length of about 6 km with obstacles of 6 and 5 sg has opened. It extends up to almost before the right tributary Kongu Khola. Then about 4 km away the rapids of 5 severity grade follow. And one kilometer before the left tributary Hinku Khola the rapid-"surprise" expected me. The investigation it is complicated by cliffs as on the right, as on the left banks. At first the river before the large boulder near the right bank is dumped from the right to the left through 2-2.5 meter water-throw-downs, then leans on a cliff of the left bank and, forming powerful track, leaves to the right, behind the same large boulder. What does occur further, from the right bank it is not visible. For investigation it was necessary to spend a few hours (the right bank almost vertically stretched upwards for three hundred meters about), the river was not broken into channels, and wholly after track left behind the right-bank large boulder, and I have risked to go without investigation of the further part of the rapid. And, as it has appeared subsequently, in vain. It was my first (and, I hope, the last) error during the rafting. So, after most powerful 2-2.5 meter water-throw-downs the catamaran have been flung in track... When the boat have doubled a huge boulder near the right bank, I have unexpectedly seen, that further the whole river forces way through the slot of 1 meter width (my catamaran had width of 2.2 m), forming behind it the waterfall of 2 m height. The catamaran has piled on a rock and began to break. Anything other did not remain, how to stand it on a side (besides I was between gondols) and in such vertical position to pass this slot. After falling from the waterfall the raging flow has torn off me from the catamaran and has pulled out from hands a paddle. In a few meters after the first waterfall there was the second meter slot with one more two-meter waterfall. I have been thrown there. For some time I have plunged in white foam, anything not seeing around, and after falling from the waterfall the current has carried me off under water, and not at once it was possible to emerge. After the coming-up to the surface, I have managed to climb on a large rock and have prepared to jump. In the some time through the second slot the catamaran has been draged, besides breaking one of duraluminium pipes (of diameter of 40 mm and thickness of 2 mm), formed the frame. I have jumped in the direction of the catamaran, has swum up to it and with the help of a spare paddle have put it to the bank already in twenty meters. For the time of the draging of the catamaran through the second slot from it there has broken the rucksack off, which now floated near the ship, connected with it by a piece of a rope.
It was required two hours of repair, so that the catamaran was again ready to navigation. And after 100-150 meters the next two-meter waterfall under a pedestrian bridge waited me. Then the river has calmed down. From the left into the Dudh Kosi its tributary Hinku Khola has fallen, and in a pair of kilometers of the rafting on the quiet river I have put in to the right bank for spending the night. Yes, too many impressions were today - more than it is enough.
April 25. Unfortunately, my misadventures did not terminated. In the morning, carrying the catamaran on stones, I have unsuccessfully loaded the left leg and have overstrained (torn slightly) the cruciform copula of a knee, and I had to spend all day on the same place - I was not capable to move by the ground and, the more so, to raft on the sixth-grade river. Towards evening the pain has calmed down a little bit, and I could straighten the leg. As out of spite, all products terminated, and now it is necessary for one day to eat nothing absolutely (I planned in the afternoon to rise up, to settlements, but now I can not do it). To muffle feeling of hunger, during all evening I drank tea without sugar (much tea-leaf remained at me still). The mood is rotten. I want to home.
April 26. Towards morning the pain in copula has become more silent, and I have decided to raft. After several hundreds meters of quiet water, when there was left less than kilometer up to the falling of the Hongu Khola (the left tributary) into the Dudh Kosi, the river has carried to me the next surprise – the waterfall of 3.5 m height. It was possible to pass it only very closely to a cliff of the right bank, as the left part of the waterfall represented the slanting water-throw-down, and the turning over of the catamaran at passage here would be practically inevitable. Because of the trauma of the leg I was not capable to carry my boat around the waterfall, therefore dilemma "to pass or to do not pass through the waterfall" before me did not stand - it was necessary to jump from it. The run over it has come out successful, but here at "landing" on water the catamaran has become to list threateningly, and I had to jump - for balance - on the rising part of the gondol, to sum up everything was finished safely. The catamaran in the normal position rushed along further through water-throw-downs, rollers and "holes". In 150-200 m after the first waterfall there was one more very severe rapid with the 2.5-meter water-throw-downs and "holes". The catamaran was, in the next time, on the brink of turning over, but it was possible to avoid it.
Just after this rapid the Hongu Khola falls into the Dudh Kosi, the blue colour of water is replaced by the yellow-green, and the valley extends. In 4 km about after the Hongu Khola, just after settlement Barhughat, there is one more rapid of maximum severity grade - very long (of 2 km about) with the most powerful 2-2.5 meter water-throw-downs and "holes". But it is not located in a canyon and is reconnoitred by any bank perfectly.
Just after the rapid I have put in to the right bank for spending the night. It would be necessary to believe, that the most dangerous part of the route has remained behind. As far back as this afternoon in one of settlements on the left bank of the Dudh Kosi (already after the falling of the Hongu Khola into it) it was possible to buy potatoes ("alyu" in Nepalese), moreover rather cheap - four kilograms for 25 Rupees, a little rice, salt, and from an angler - two fishes for 5 Rupees. I plan the magnificent supper.
April 27. The river was obviously simplified, and my interest to the rafting begins to vanish. There are a lot of people on the banks. I have reached Lamidada. Now I should pass 40 km on the Dudh Kosi and about 120 km on the Sun Kosi and the Sapt Kosi up to Chatara. It was known beforehand, that on these 160 kilometers there are no rapids of maximum severity grade, therefore I have decided to raft from a morning up to an evening without stops (because for me the Tamur River is ahead). It will take 3-4 days.
I have continued the rafting. Today have passed the multikilometer gorge (the obstacles on water in it were absent). I have seen on the bank the large company of monkeys with white heads (as if they are in the white children's fur hats). The monkeys, having seen me, were frightened, hid themselves behind trees and only have put their faces out from the trees. Don't worry, guys, I shall not offend you!
I have moored for the night after Chiaksi.
April 28. I have got up at 4.30, when only it began to dawn, have eaten becoming for me traditional for the last two days food - the potato skilly and tea without sugar - and at 5.30 set out. Before me a problem stands - to have passed today the distance as big as possible.
In three hours have come in a canyon (obstacles were not in it), and after the output from it before me the wide valley of the Sun Kosi has opened. The Dudh Kosi, falling by yellow-green tributary into the Sun Kosi, is quickly dissolved in its brown waters. The wide powerful river has carried my catamaran eastward. The mood has at once risen. Hurrahl! The rafting on the Dudh Kosi is successfully completed. I made it!
In a pair of hours the joy has passed, as a long monotonous rafting on the wide river is rather melancholy employment. The truth is, time from time there came on the way the rapids of 4 and 5 sg, rather powerful, of jet type, but after the Dudh Kosi they seem frivolous. It was lucky with a wind - only during some time it was counter, and then has calmed down. Once I saw on the left bank the large company of marmosets, but they have not noticed me. For the night have moored after Bhanrh Besi.
April 29. I began the rafting at 5.30. Have put before self the problem - to try today to make up to Chatara. If a counter wind will not be, it is possible. Time from time there were the powerful jet-type rapids of 5 grade, almost without stones, that is the river was not rather dangerous (despite the powerful water-throw-downs and "holes"). For this reason the Sun Kosi is the commercial river and is accessible to the mass rafting.
It was again lucky with a wind - only for some time it flows to my face, and then has ceased to prevent me to raft (moreover, sometimes even was fair). On quiet sites I constantly thought about a meal - wanted to eat terribly. But during all day it should be suffered. I have finished the today's rafting at 18.45 only, when already it has become almost darkly, in Tribenighat - the place, where the waters of the Sun Kosi, Arun and Tamur Rivers incorporate to be called as the Sapt Kosi River. From here up to Chatara there is 1.5-2 hours of the rafting on the quiet Sapt Kosi. In the darkness I have prepared somehow the supper (a skilly with being left potatoes only). To be in time tomorrow to catch the bus, going through Dhankuta to Phedi (so it will be carried out the delivery to the Tamur River), I have decided to get up early (at 3-4 o'clock) and before dawn to go out on water (without a breakfast). Have estimated the finance - it remained less than 400 Rupees; basically (with the account of that the travel from Dharan to Kathmandu costs 155 Rupees), it can be enough even without the sale of "Zenit". Well, I shall try to make so.
April 30. I have got up at 4 o'clock and began the rafting at 4.30 - as soon as it began to dawn. Certainly, some times I was threw water on rollers, but then the river has calmed down. The Sapt Kosi flew in rather deep gorge, and suddenly... the mountains have disappeared (such sharp change of a landscape, seen even the third time, has caused at me the astonishment and joy). The river has run out on plain and has stopped. Six a.m. At the left - settlement Chatara. That's all, the finish. The many-year dream has come true. The rafting down Everest from Khumbu Glacier from the height of 4,600 m up to Chatara (100 m above a sea level) on the Lobuche Khola, Imja Khola, Dudh Kosi, Sun Kosi and Sapt Kosi Rivers by extent of 270 km with height difference of 4.5 km is successfully completed! I made it!
I have disassembled the catamaran and then in a jeep have reached Dharan. It cost me 40 Rupees (besides I have given twenty for two bags of luggage). From Dharan already it is possible to leave by direct bus to Kathmandu. But I plan to make it in five days. And now it is necessary to wait the bus, going through Mulghat and Dhankuta up to Phedi, and therefrom, employing a porter for 50 Rupees about per a day, during 2-2.5 days to reach the bridge over the Tamur River near Taplejung and further for 2.5 days to have rafted on the Tamur up to Chatara so that to be in time to catch the bus Chatara-Dharan, leaving at 14 o'clock (the in-it travel costs 10 Rupees, and two luggage bags – 10 Rupees too). It goes to Dharan during 1.5 hours about. And therefrom to Kathmandu two buses go – at 15.30 and 16.30. If nothing will prevent, on May 6 early in the morning I shall be in Kathmandu. Taking there 1,000 Rupees, which I have left for moving to Delhi, from May 6 till May 11 I shall try to get to region of Mt.Annapurna (8,091 m) for the subsequent uninterrupted rafting on the Marsyangdi River. And already after the rafting I shall sell the camera "Zenit" and for received money I shall reach up to Delhi. My plans are those. I shall try to realize them...
...May 14. Today I have arrived to Moscow. At boarding the aircraft in Delhi it has not done without nervousness: the representative of Aeroflot cancelled my seat for this flight (I was deprived of opportunities to confirm it) and has put me at the end of queue after all twenty (under the list) passengers, having the ticket with open date. So I have departed by miracle - from those "list" twenty the eight persons only have come for registration. I was ninth and the last, who has been took. But am obliged to note, that in the moment, when there was the real threat for me to remain in Delhi with five Rupees in a pocket for uncertain term, the completely unacquainted with me guys from Leningrad, Andrey and Alla, have given me (independently from each other) two English pounds and 100 Indian Rupees - the all money, that they had. And they have given me this money under their initiative, I did not ask them about it. In the aircraft, certainly, I have returned this money to them. To the point, Andrey has turned out to be the very interesting person, he stayed in India under the personal invitation of the dalhai-lama and met him.
The expedition has required from me the complete self-sacrifice in every respect - in moral, physical (to the point, I have got thin in twelve kilograms), material (first of all, financial) and in other. I have given all the best completely and now am squeezed out, as a lemon. There has come some indifference to everything. But the sporting part of expedition (all, that was planned) is carried out for 100 %.
For the first two Himalayan water expeditions I already made raftings down from seven from fourteen 8-km-mountains - Everest (peak No.1), Kanchenjunga (3), Lhotse (4), Makalu (5), Cho Oyu (6), Annapurna (10), Shisha Pangma (14). I plan in the autumn (if there will be the sponsors - for my own money I am not capable already to carry out expeditions) the rafting down Dhaulagiri (7) and Manaslu (8). And hereinafter, if again there will be the sponsors, - from the other 8,000-meter-mountains (in China and Pakistan) also.
I hope for success very much.