Altai crazy water – you could watch it forever.

Altai cragginess – done. Next up – Altai H2Oness!…

First up – another crazy bridge (this one over an Argut tributary)! ->

Or is it those rapids that are crazy? )

Yep – fairly crazy. But understandably crazy, since it had rained non-stop for the previous two weeks.

We approach the Argut river itself…

Apparently, behind that there boulder begin among the most difficult rapids of the whole of the Argut (besides the Karagemsky Pass). They’re called the ‘Porog Sapozhnika’, which translates as the ‘Bootmaker’s Rapids’! Why they’re called that I don’t know. Sounds like cobblers to me ).

OK, let’s have a look at what’s behind the rock…

Unsurprisingly – raucous rapids…

‘What, folks raft down here?!’ Those are the words, but they don’t need to be uttered; you just look at observers’ incredulous faces!

‘Yes – folks do raft here, but we’ll pass,’ come the replies from our guides.

‘Thank goodness! Yep, we’ll stick to just the Katun,’ I add ). For I was reminded of how, ‘warming up’ in the summer of 2018, I went and fell and broke my leg before even getting to the main attraction! I didn’t want a repeat of the same kind of thing here!

Pit stop! Time to observe things other than rapids – like the surrounding landscapes ->

Peering over at the raging rapids, and also the bulky boulders (both those clearly visible and those invisible but causing even further turbulence) that the brave rafting tourists need to maneuver around, I starting thinking…

Now, navigating through such rapids takes a lot of time. And most of that time is spent on the preparation: inspecting the flows and obstacles and calculating the best route through. And here I struck upon a startup idea! A rafting navigator! A drone is launched above the river that scans for the obstacles, displays them on a screen, turns all the data into numbers, and then navigation instructions are given through headphones built into the helmet. Something like: ‘In 50 meters on your left there is a large rock not far from the surface; veer right for the best flow around it’. Or: ‘In 150 meters on the left there’s a calm patch of water behind a large rock, which is ideal for taking a rest at’!

I don’t think there’s a great deal of money in it – the target group for such a thing is very narrow – but it could be open source. Then, for example, a tourist agency could use it to have more tourists safely navigate wildwater rapids => profit!

I’m never one to endorse such graffiti on cliff faces, but this appears to date back from 1930!

Someone once said: ‘There are three things you can watch forever: fire, water, and other people working’. The water bit: that sure applies here!

Especially this season. So we did: we gawped at those there rapids, not quite forever, but certainly for a long time…

Btw – here’s part two of the video of some rafters here:

And here’s another vid taken around here, just in case…

As you can see – things can get extreme in the water. And that was when the river was lower, calmer – not like this year. Accordingly, wanting to eventually return to Moscow alive, we took to the valley’s path, not the river, for this stretch. And after a while of trekking it was evening already: time to put up the tents, have supper, and bed down…

The following day we’d be crossing yet another… wooden bridge (I won’t say crazy anymore; these bridges may be made of wood, but they’re still fine specimens of hand-made engineering!).

But I can carry on calling the river ‘crazy’. So crazy and rough here that the bridge vibrated under our feet!

The river, btw is called the Iedygem. I remember thinking that if you were to fall in, sure – it’d be curtains, but also that they’d probably never find a trace of you!

Crazy, wild water – but you still want to watch it forever!

Next for us – trekking up a mountain. But about that in the next post…

All the pics from Alti-2020 are here.

Leave a note