This sparsely populated Buddhist enclave has long captivated the imagination of adventurous travelers, but it is only recently that it has become possible to get permission to visit many areas of this alluring adventure destination. It is one of the few places left where there are so many opportunities for pioneering descents. Mt Kailash, in the west of Tibet is the source of the subcontinents four greatest rivers: the Ganges, the Indus, the Sutlej and the Bramaputra. In the east the forested land of Kham is home to the sources of the Mekong and Yangste, the two largest rivers of East Asia. Warm summer rains swell the multitude of tributaries feeding these giant rivers to create an astonishing number of world-class rivers. Summer weather, dramatic mountain scenery and a totally fascinating strong culture make rafting and kayaking in Tibet a totally unique experience.
The expedition begins in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, China. The team will assemble here before flying into Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. The first 4 days are for acclimatization, as Lhasa is at 3600m elevation. We will visit some of the key historic sites in Lhasa and also take a day to share our passion for paddling with a group of blind Tibet students from Braille without borders. We then paddle the Upper Drigung Chu and Upper Tolung Chu before we drive to Lake Namtso and experience one of the most spectacular lakes in the world before heading onto the Upper Reting Tsangpo Valley. We plan to spend 10 days on the Reting to allow for a rest day and a hike/exploration day. We take out at the Reting’s confluence with the Kyi Chu (Lhasa River) and drive 4 hours over another high pass to Lhasa. We’ll plan a farewell dinner that night and fly out or continue further adventures the following day.
Reting Tsangpo Expedition 1 June 10th – 30th
21 day expedition to paddle the remote Reting Tsangpo high on the Tibetan Plateau. 4 days in Lhasa then 6 days warming up on local rivers and exploring the Plateau then 10 days on the Reting Tsangpo. The Reting is a classic expedition river with a mix of lazy floating and fun class 3/4 rapids. Suitable for rafters and kayakers with or without experience.
Starting near the source of the Salween at an altitude of 800 meters, the expedition begins with days of easy water, providing perfect opportunity to acclimatize and view the remarkable Tibetan plateau. The next 3 days hold some classics big volume class 3 and 4 rapids with numerous surf spots, friendly locals, and gorgeous campsites with play waves out the front!
Arrive in Chengdu , transfer to hotel. (Evening Sichuan-style banquet)
Acclimitisation day. Visit the Jokhang Temple and Barkor market in the morning before a lazy afternoon.
Visit the Potala Palace in the morning, afternoon visit to Sera Monastery to view the monks debating.
Kyi Chu river float trip with the blind kids from Braille Without Borders.
Drive to the Drigung Valley. Paddle the beautiful Upper Drigung (CClass 3+ V) riverside camp.
Drive to the Tolung Valley and paddle the challenging (class 4+) Upper section in the gorgeous
Nyenchen Thanglha range in the afternoon. (Kagyu Gompa Camp)
Day trip to Namtso Lake (4700 m) essential for acclimitisation and one of the most beautiful sites in Tibet!
Drive to the put-in of the Reting Tsangpo.(Camp at the put-in)
The Reting Tsangpo is a stunning 10 day trip. Starting high on the plateau the Reting begins as an alpine stream before quickly building in volume and intensity. When snow melt brings the water up this run has superb play waves and is a great introduction to big volume Himalayan style boating. As we float down the valley we encounter rare juniper forests that culminate in the spectacular forest surrounding Reting Monastery. On the last day we finish early and drive back to Lhasa. (Gorhka Hotel)
Fly home (connecting with your international flight same day in Chengdu).
NOTE: This itinerary is only an outline and we may change our plans according to weather, energy levels, water levels etc. Our permits will cover the whole area we are traveling in so we have total flexibility with our plans once you have arrived in Lhasa . You are welcome to stay on in Tibet after the trip, but must make prior arrangements.
Prive: US$3,000 includes Chengdu Lhasa airfares, all accommodation, full service and expedition logistics.