Wednesday, July 29, 2009

French Alps

This year myself, Steve Fahy and Steve Quinn headed over to France for a week of kayaking fun. Over there we meat up with Aisling, Trevor and Phil who were already half way through a month long trip around the alps.

We headed for the region around Briancon, which has an huge amount of great rivers within a short distance. We camped at L'Argentière-la-Bessée slalom site which is ideally located for paddling.

Briancon old town gate

In the first few days we got runs of the Briancon Gorge, the Upper Claree and the Lower Guisine. All fantastic rivers at great levels.

Fantastic Scenery on the Briancon Gorge
Guidebook cover photo of Steve Fahy on the Upper Claree

The levels in France were still high though and we were reminded of it when we spotted a almost totally river wide fallen tree far to late on the Gyr, luckily it wasn't too difficult to avoid. The Guil was pumping all week too, making most sections of it far to high for most sane paddlers! Steve Quinn, Aisling, Trev and Phil got a run on of the lower part of the Middle Guil (from X-Box down) though. It was huge volume and continuous and with the standing waves been compared to those in Uganda by the guys at the get out combined with the undercuts, I'm not entirely upset by the fact I missed out on this one

Phil's a dot on the Middle Giul.

Due to the high levels, (and us being lazy) we didn't get the preplanned 2-3 rivers a day done over the week, but we had a much more relaxing holiday for it, with Via Ferrata, eating Americans by the Flesh Pit, cursing the gauge at the Durance Gorge and admiring our rented Citron C5 with tons of gadgets among our many other activities.

The Lads enjoying Americans (A roll with chips and burgers in it rather than people from the USA)

Quiner got angry with the Lady at the car rental desk so we got upgraded from our C2 that we paid for to a rather spacious automatic C5, which Quiner promptly ruined by doing 4 wheel drifts in mountain passes

Aisling Via Ferata

Myself on the Upper Claree