Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting

Posted by Aditya on Mon, 2008-04-07 22:48 in

I made a quick weekend getaway with my office colleagues to the Great Indian Outdoors camp near Chakrata, and boy the river rafting in Yamuna was some experience.

I have done it previously in river Alaknanda, again with GIO people, and friends from my previous organization at that time. (And the memory remains .. :-)).

The stretch here in Yamuna was far more exciting and technically challenging due to innumerable rocks in this river. Just a day before on Saturday, the weather was real unusual for this time of the year, and it rained heavily leading to landslides around this area. The various road blocks meant a different river stretch had to be chosen for our team, and as per the lead instructor, the selected one was an advanced stretch generally used by for experienced fellows. Being a person from the Delhi region, i would have taken this with a pinch of salt, but when I saw 7 member expert crew line up for us 11, I was happily surprised.

We split up into 3 rafts with 2 instructors on each, plus an instructor on a kayak.

I have become bit water unfriendly, after a couple of near drowning cases of mine. (Yeah, I know I should learn to swim this summer for sure). But the thrill and excitement always gets the better of me, and I was all charged up from the word go.

Tip: The front position is the best for the maximum excitement; only difficulty being you got to lock your leg in an awkward position that puts more strain on your body when you are paddling.

Rafting is pretty much like driving, in a way that you need to know how to charter out your path safely through a difficult terrain (in this case a river full of rocks). The paddling commands are pretty much intuitive, and one can pick them up within seconds.

They are:
Forward paddle, Back paddle, Left Turn or Left Back, Right Turn or Right Back, and Stop.

Left Back implies the left side crew would pedal backwards (upstream), while other continue forward, making the raft turn towards left. Similarly, for right turns, the right side team would pedal back, and others continue forward.

Of course the most critical command for beginners like us is ‘Hold’, when you are supposed to hold the safety line (rope) that is on the perimeter of the raft body with one of your hands and move slightly towards the inside. With one of your legs already locked, this makes your chances of being thrown off very less, on the regular beginner circuits.

It is a whole lot of fun depending upon the class of rapids you are on (and your instructor’s expertise!).
As per Wikipedia, the classification for India is:

Grade I: Small, easy waves; mainly flat water
Grade II: Mainly clear passages; some areas of difficulty
Grade III: Difficult passages; narrow in places and with high waves
Grade IV: Very difficult, narrow and requiring precise maneuvering
Grade V: Extremely difficult. Very fast-flowing waters which can be maneuvered only by experts
Grade VI: For all practical purposes, unmanageable- even suicidal

The stretch of river we were on, had 2+ to 3+ rapids, and all in very quick succession. There was a Grade 4 rapid as well, where our lead instructor, politely asked us to unboard, as he thought there was atleast 80% chance of the raft capsizing there. (I guess he was influenced by the fact that just before that rapid, one of our colleague popped out of one of the rafts and was floating merrily in the waters.)

To be honest, till Grade 3+ rapids, it is fairly difficult to get thrown off the raft, unless one is not listening to the commands and not doing the expected.

So, in case you have been holding back till now, for this exhilarating experience, please go ahead and book your rafting weekend with a qualified crew. I can pretty much guarantee that you would love every moment of this experience and would never be able to forget it.

Sounds Inviting

I wish I had friends at hand with whom I could jump on to such an exciting journey.

Nice job of describing the experience vividly... I can almost feel the rapids and the excitement. The next time I get a chance, you can bet I will be on the forefront.

Posted by nag.rajan on Fri, 2008-04-11 02:53
More ..

Another activity we did is known as 'Bridge Slithering'.

Basically, one has to descend down a rope from a bridge, typically 100 ft above the water. It is fairly easy, but probably the challenge comes when you have to go on the other side (outside) of the bridge, and typically stand on a very narrow beam before you start releasing the rope to move down. Think of it as standing on top of a 6 story apartment balcony, with both your legs on the outer side of the railing.

Good fun.

Posted by Aditya on Sat, 2008-04-12 09:11

Sounds like a whole lot of fun. Nicely written.

Posted by sunny (not verified) on Thu, 2008-04-17 13:18
Well captured and

Well captured and interestingly portrait .. waoo i miss rafting here :)

Posted by Swati (not verified) on Fri, 2008-06-13 17:15