Although the Chuya and Bashkaus Rivers in southern Siberia may not yet have made it onto your bucket list, if you are a rafting enthusiast with moderate skills here is a top Class II-IV whitewater adventure.
Veteran rafting company ECHO River Trips is offering a new 16-day itinerary in the largely unexplored and ultra-remote Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, just north of the Mongolianborder. This vast region has very few villages and roads, but is rich in rivers, mountains, glaciers and Siberia’s taiga, subarctic forests.
Here’s the drill: Warm up to the biggy by doing some practice runs on the Chuya River. Build up to raft down the Bashkaus which splits into two: the Lower Bashkaus – definitely one of the most difficult whitewater trips in Siberia – narrow, high-reaching, slick canyon walls and Class VI rapids. The good news is that on this trip, ECHO adventurers will be sticking to the Upper Bashkaus to enjoy all the adrenaline-pumping fun of riding a glorious and more manageable river section in this pristine wilderness. Pack horses for gear; tents for sleeping. Visit two villages, Saratan and Ust’-Ulagan, and become acquainted with their age-old nomadic, independent forest life. Highlights: clean up in an all-enveloping Russian banya (sauna) and see the petroglyphs of mysterious little antelopes in the Chuya Trakt.
Shortest and cheapest way to fly is viaBeijing to meet in Novosibirsk – surprisingly, one of the largest cities in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg. One awesome trip is scheduled for next summer: July 17-Aug. 1, 2013. The price of $4,495 a person includes most everything and most especially the expert services of Vladimir Gavrilov, their top Russian-born guide, former physicist and current U.S. teacher and author of Rivers of an Unknown Land, the ultimate guidebook to rafting in Russia.
ECHO, 40 year old, multi-award winning Oregon-based outfitter, also runs rafting expeditions in Bhutan, Turkey, and Patagonia and the good ol’ U.S. of A. Call 800-652-3246 and/or click: www.echotrips.com