Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.

Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.
My 2014 calendar was entirely photographed on the western side of New Zealand's Southern Alps. "Land in the West" is printed at a size of A4 with twelve calendar month pages displaying stunning outdoor environment photographs. Take a look at my Facebook page to view all twelve 2014 calendar images! Order here via Paypal or email me at zakshawphotography@gmail.com if you would prefer to pay with online banking. Thanks for your support!
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tibet, a world class kayak destination

"A landscape so majestic and dominating in its appearance, when you look around you it feels huge, you feel overwhelmed and insignificant.
The secret is out, Tibet is a fascinating place"

As a team we headed into an area relatively new and bursting with whitewater potential. Looking back over the last two months its clear the quality of our experience in Tibet was as good as it gets.
Running on information from Chris Jones of Windhorse Adventures, we all agree the,first month of our time is some of the best kayaking we have ever done. Whilst isolated trips in various other parts of the world are standout its rare to arrive in a country with so little documentation surrounding kayaking and yet cover as much ground and paddle as much high class whitewater as we did.

Tibet as a kayak destination seen through our eyes was one held in high regard. In the past large scale expeditions have been carried out, teams of paddlers focusing their attention towards one of the worlds deepest and most remote river canyons, the Yarlung Tsangpo.
Inspired by the type of people that make these big adventures happen it was the stories and images that came home with them that fed our desire to get out there amongst it ourselves.

For those who have followed passion4adventure thanks for you interest.
Big thanks to our expedition supporters.
Liquid Logic kayaks, One Square Meal, Merrel Footwear, Highgear, Kokatat
Palm,Hydraulics, System X.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A good run comes to an end

Day three began well, more sunshine, and the day was packed full with continous class 4-5 whitewater. Most rapids required inspection from the bank. Operating now within a smaller team we moved quickly downriver.

Side channel, eden finds a waterfall and a soft landing.

Pulling the kayaks from river level late, dinner was served, we managed to find some local fruit and then settled in for the night.
This is when it all went bad, eden was sick all night. the next day Eden could hardly move and so we bailed back upriver hitching a ride back to Dunba and better facilites!
The following morning Sam and myself both awoke to unsettled stomachs and a long day ahead. At luchtime we managed to hire a truck to complete the journey of 250km back to Chengdu.
27 hours later, after bumping along a road beyond repair, a midnight police checkpoint restricting further travel and a truck crash we limped into Chengdu, hardly stoked with the days events!

Were drinking! come back later and then you can pass! Police checkpoint, rice wine central.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kayaking in Sichuan, China

Leaving Dunba, literally the whole town took their smoko break and shut up shop to check out our departure. Leaving was a good thing, paddling downstream the human like smells vanished and once again it was just us and the river.

Packman, with kayak loaded, adjusts to a kayak laden with gear and pushy whitewater.

The Dadu river from the town of Dunba suddenly gathers volume. Content to paddle along and find rapids of a moderate grade we unexpectedly descended down on countless intimidating rapids that stirred the nerves, and slowed progress.
After a full day we spied a level river beach at 6pm and set up camp.

River cuisine, Chinese style.

Do da de da do da day Dadu Dadu!, first day Dadu river.

With a week up our sleaves and the impression that the Sichuan province of western China would provide one more big volume river trip we set off.
Hitching a ride with our Tibetan mates five ours back the way we had just traveled. We unloaded in a town called Kangjing and immediately set about attempting to download the rugby, All Blacks vs England.

The next morning super early we tied down our kayaks onto the back deck of a small truck and headed up the Dadu catchment.
Our plan with six days remaining was to paddle as far down the Dadu river as possible and then get back to catch the train to Beijing.

Sam portages a class 6 rapid day one

Things were mostly flat for our first day with the exception of this class 5 entrance rapid to an out of control rapid we happily portaged around.
Eden runs a hard left line.

Covering 40km down to a riverside town called Dunba, locals greeted us at nightfall.

Things you dont hear everyday, "Go hard left and make the eddy with the pig in it"

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tibet expedition done and dusted

It all done here, the team beginning to go their separate ways.
Its been an amazing trip for us all, many classic days on big whitewater.
Our journey has run smoothly from day one and whilst Tibet has no whitewater guidebook as such the information we gathered prior has held us in good stead.
Our expectations of Tibet as a destination for kayaking prior to arrival were that it would not be easy to travel and enter into Tibet. We were under the impression the Chinese government had a stringent system in place for all outside travelers.
Windhorse adventures took care of all our necessary permits and ensured a no stress entrance to the roof of the world.

Dave and JJ loaded onto the Chengdu- Beijing train yesterday and settled in for 26 continous hours across China.

Matt Tidy left this morning on a train to Shanghai, he's on route back through Nepal and finally the UK.
Sam, Eden and myself are sticking together, our plan is to check out the Sichuan province and spend a few days paddling. We are all running low on cash, this next week we are looking to pull off a 240km trip on the Dadu river.

More updates in a week

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mission shut down

After our successful firsts full descent of the Parlung Tsangpo we were keen to take some time out. More to the point we didn't have much choice after celebrations took their toll.

Looking over the maps, a couple of rest days gave us the oportunity to look more intensively at the remainder of our time in Tibet before crossing into the Sichuan province of China.

Traveling back through the headwaters of the Parlung catchment we crossed over into a neighbouring valley the Zang Chu. Early in our preparations in coming to Tibet this river had been highlighted as one which had potential.
A huge question mark however hung over its access. The Zang Chu drops out of Tibet and flows across the border into India. Within 40km of this border is basically a no go area, especially for westerners. Although we had tried via the permit system to gain permission to paddle the river, our requests came back unanswered.
So we headed in anyway in hope. As predicted police and military officials denied us further passage.

Classic Tibetan vehicle, its a three wheeler, small tractor type design.
Uses include getting the kids to school,
carrying building supplies, shifting livestock.

Gogul, as far as we got.

The past few days we have traveled over several mountain ranges and climbed out of deep river gorges. The Salween, Mekong and Yangtze rivers all orginate in Tibet, its is these massive waterways surounded by 5000m peaks that is responsible for Tibet remaining secluded for so long from the west.

High pass above the Mekong river.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Parlung Tsangpo relents, first full descent completed

Scrambling down a steep slip back to the river day 12 began. Its was to be our last on the Parlung Tsangpo

With ten kilometres of class 4 to the confluence with the Yiong Tsangpo we set off loaded with a few extra's!

Thirsty work! Cider was all we could find. Eden toasts to a great river trip.

After 12 days, 210km, 1400m drop in elevation, some good cider, we felt it was appropriate.

Magic, tibets scenery is some of the best you will see.

180km done, 30 to go

From our camp in an old quarry, we were well poised to launch and assault on the final 30km. 20km of this is committing whitewater and had not been paddled before.

Portage within the first kilometre, not a big deal, just get your boat on your shoulder and walk around it.

Sam Hughes aka Packman, feeling the effects day ten.

Sam enjoys one that just feels good to paddle, no stress.

Communicating via two way radio we progressed well. Despite the relentless nature of the river, we managed twenty kilometres in two days.
In the gorge we found a major surprise. Scouting in previous days had revealed open river bank alongside most of the full on rapids, rapids we believed would be mandatory portages. Early on day 11 we got out and scouted a class 5 rapid that flowed down into a canyon with vertical walls on its left side. Visually we had no information on the right.
Eden and jj probed first running the entry rapid well and catching an eddy river left. Climbing a sloping wall of rock they could see a uniform horizon line downstream and a huge river wide ledge hole stretching across most of the river.
Comitted to the left they were situated right above the huge recirculation with a must make ferry glide the width of the river in the gorge to avoid it.
Tension ran high as we communicated with some difficulty. JJ paddled first and almost got pinned, eden missed his line and ran the meat of the left line, held at the bottom of the 10ft ramp leading into the hole he was violently tossed about for a long time before being flushed out and rolling up. It was a close call.
The rest of the team having no positive beta cautiously paddled the drop and regathered within the safety of a downstream eddy.

Its all around me, Dave Kwant finding his way.

Time to step up.

Day nine we found ourselves walking back into the river via a steep side creek.
Late the previous day we had paddled 20km and found ourselves overlooking a 200m long class 5 rapid.
Feeling the effects of an intense day out we opted to leave the boats and return with fresh minds the next day.

Photo - Mid way through, over the mushroom.


Making it look good, Eden completes the entrance and gets ready to get hard right.

Back on the big river

Team effort, local kids helped us get out gear from camp to the waters edge for the start of day 8.

Sneak line, with good reason. Dave and Matt avoid a huge pourover.

Centre is not where you want to be.
JJ, gets it right.

We found the whitewater quite intimidating. Generally we found big clear lines, whilst the features were massive they were often avoidable. Eddying out high above the rapids we would ferry glide the rivers width to get set up in the right place before comitting. The force and speed of the water kept us on the edge of our seats, and made us work for every inch of downstream travel.

Full team scout, who's feeling brave?

Leaving Pomi

Heading out of town we settled into a few hours of flatwater linking the whitewater sections together. The suns baking rays made for a picture perfect day as we floated downstream on the current.

Hostel to the river, day 6

The people of Pomi were there to see us off.

Matt Tidy, enjoys the mountain views.

35km float.

Our camp on day seven.
One kilometre away the river thundered. From camp we sat listening to the roar of the whitewater and wondered what lay instore for us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Days 3-5 100km down 100 to go, Parlung Tsangpo

After three days we completed the upper 48km from lake to camp.

Day three - Into the "Pigs Trough" Im coming up!

Like a cork ejected from a bottle, Eden finds the light and more work to be done.

Day four we attempted to pick the pace up as very cold conditions kept us in the kayaks, we tried to minimise time standing still. Scouting out here takes time, because the rapids are generally long and complex, its can take a long time to piece them together.
We covered 30km in good time and found ourselves at 3pm descending into a huge gorge.
Clambering around high above river level we did our utmost to inspect available options to paddle the gorge and escape to the otherside.
Rigging and abseil line, eden dropped into the gorge further and climbed around to get a look at the rivers far left side. It was not to be, choked with boulders we deemed it unrunable and so began an arduous hike out.

What we could see, right side, water flowing under rocks, left side???

Dave shoulders his kayak up out of the gorge.

Day 5
Our backs were hurting, elbows ached, shoulders due for rest. Enthusiasm was not in its usual high frequencies. Carrying kayaks we found a track back into the river below the un-runnable section of the gorge and began our fifth day with the vision of traveling a further 30km downriver to a town called Pomi.

Dave learning his lesson the previous day makes sure his kayak carry system is definately part of his kit. Heading back in for more potential punishment, day 5.

Our expectations of when we should have flatwater was wrong again! To our delight around the first bend the river now big in volume dropped away. Huge features, read and run with great scenery. The Parlung Tsangpo continues to impress.

Breaking down the Parlung Tsangpo

Our base camp for the first three days.

Day two began with little time to warm up, two class four rapids kicked things off as we attempted to close the gap between ourselves and camp one.
With 40km of whitewater and 500m in elevation to drop the day was destined to be a long one. Planning on getting as far as possible we set off, views of "China's most beautiful glacier" could be seen from the river.

Entering the second gorge, jj on edge but upright

Contiuous class four+ moves was the trend for the day, indispersed with the occasional harder or more consequencial line.
Surrounded by huge mountains and steep granite rock faces (great climbing to be had here to) we managed to descend about 13km before the cold became to much and our muscles could take no more.

The team enjoys a welcome rest during a flat stretch.