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The first complete guidebook about Altai whitewater for kayakers and rafters

Altai is a highest mountain system of Siberia, where Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China all come together. The best whitewater rivers run here. ‘Altai’ means ‘Golden Mountains’ translated from Turkic. True, it’s totally a pure gold.

There are not so many places on the Earth you can call exotic. Altai is definitely on of those.

This region is surely the best in Russia for kayaking and rafting:

  • Wide variety of rivers, whether short and easy or fast-flowing and of the highest level of difficulty
  • Altai mountains are beautiful and fascinating. This is for sure one of the ‘must visit’ for everyone
  • Relatively well-developed tourism infrastructure: Novosibirsk International Airport, smooth roads, camping sites, local travel agencies
  • Safe and friendly environment
  • Altai is a very special place, come and feel the magic!

Altai is unrivalled for its big volume rivers and multi-day runs. Kayakers from all over the world keep coming to Altai to paddle such famous rivers as Argut, Chuya, Chulyshman, Bashkaus.

Without doubt, Altai slowly but steadily is becoming whitewater Mecca especially for big volume fans.

However it is hard for foreigners to travel here due to language barrier: almost nobody speaks English in Siberia and don’t even try to understand the Cyrillic alphabet. But the biggest problem is lack of information about rivers, logistic and trails in English (or German, French, Spanish etc.).

For sure any kayaker and rafter in the world would be happy to come to Altai. Whitewater Altai guidebook will become the first proper complete guidebook about Russian whitewater and it will open exotic world of Russian rivers to western kayakers and rafters.

Last year I wrote and published Whitewater Altai guidebook in Russian language. This book became extremely popular among Russian paddling community. Now I’m glad to present English version of the book where I share all my experience and knowledge about Altai rivers with kayakers and rafters from all around the world. It is more than just simple translation from Russian; I rewrote it in order to make the guidebook appropriate for western paddlers’ needs.

 

In Whitewater Altai guidebook you can find all you need to make your kayak or raft trip in this Russian region:

  • Basic information about region: geography, climate, ethnography, history
  • Valuable information for travellers: getting to, visas, logistic, accommodation, food, money, safety etc.
  • Information for riverrunners: history of exploring Altai rivers, season, commercial rafting, water levels, gear list, how to bring your boat to Altai, safety information, whitewater competitions
  • The main part of the book contains descriptions of 42 paddling sections, with maps and photos.
  • I also compiled short but useful English–Russian phrasebook for riverrunners.

 

If you’d like to visit truly exotic and amazing place and enjoy multi-days big volume rivers paddling – Altai is the right place to come.

Contribute to my project and you will get perfect tool to make your trip to Altai rivers not just real, but also fun, safe and smooth.

My name is Anton Sveshnikov. I’ve started paddling at age of 5, when my parents put me to the canoe at the first time. I’ve been kayaking since my 21st birthday.

I spent several seasons on Altai paddling local rivers and working as a guide. I also paddled rivers of Nepal, India, Norway, Europe, USA, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and of about 20 more countries. Yet Altai always was and still is my home region. I spend almost 15 years exploring Altai rivers and collecting information for this guidebook.



  • I’m raft-guide, safety-kayaker, trip leader and instructor certified by International Rafting Federation
  • I’m the owner of Ticket2Ride.ru travel company
  • I organise trips to Himalayas for Russian kayakers and trekkers
  • I organise trips to Altai Mountains for western kayakers and rafters
  • I have several first descends of Georgian, Himalayas and Indian rivers under my belt
  • I run travel blog Ticket2Ride.ru
  • Recently I wrote and published Whitewater Altai guidebook in Russian language.

Lower Bashkaus (‘Book Of Legends’ section)

Put in: Ust'-Ulagan village
Take out: Wooden bridge just above inflow to Chulishman
Length: 105 km (65 miles)
River days: 2–4
Gradient: 8,5 m/km (42 ft a mile)
Volume: 40–60 cms (1400 – 2120 cfs)
Class: V (VI)
Best season: July to beginning of September
Type of the river: Powerful and pushy pool-drop in deep committing gorge 

 

Description

Summary. Legendary, world-famous section of Bashkaus. One of the most challenging runs in Russia. Dozens of great rapids following one after another with short pools in between. Several must-runs. Crucial specific of this run is committing gorge, which is extremely complicated to escape in case of emergency.

Logistic. Rather good gravel road from Aktash village leads you to Ust'-Ulagan. You can start your paddling directly from the village. However if you have off-road vehicle you can drive downstream to the confluence of Bashkaus and right tributary Pasparta and thus cut some flatwater.

Driving from the take out back to Chuyskiy Highway is the same as from lower Chulishman (see description). Also you can continue paddling to Teletskoe lake.

First 50 kilometres below the put in are almost flat. There are two beautiful gorges without any rapids. This part of the river is known as Middle Bashkaus.

Below the mouth of big left tributary Tuskol the main gorge starts. It is 40 kilometres long and full of rapids. Average gradient there is 13 m/km. In case of emergency it is really hard to escape from it.

The first rapid “Barrikadniy” (Barricade) [1] is located 3 kilometres from the confluence with Tuskol and is easy to recognise it from your boat. This class IV – V rapid will give you some ideas about next part of the gorge. Scouting from the right bank. There is a nasty siphon at the beginning of the right channel. Three pushy class IV rapids located shortly below, then Onish creek comes in on the right. There is nice campspot on the confluence. Also you can escape from the gorge here, hike to Pasparta village is 28 kilometres long.

 

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