Saturday, September 24, 2011

River Trekking

River Trekking is a one of the new forms of adventure sports that is a combination of more than two events one being hiking or outdoor adventure activity and any other form of water sport, and, in some ways, similar to canyoning or canyoneering. River trekking is a combination of trekking or climbing and sometimes swimming or rafting or canoeing etc. It involves particular techniques like rock climbing, climbing on wet surfaces, understanding the geographical features of river and valleys, river and valley crossing known as tyrolene traversing, knotting, dealing with sudden bad weather and find out possible exits from the river. This sport is still in the infancy stage and has started picking up and in some countries has gained popularity.

River Trekking in Different Countries:

TaiwanThis sport is popular throughout Taiwan, where it is generally called RIVER TRACING.

South Africa
The South African version of river trekking is called KLOOFING and has gained a similar following from both an informal recreational and commercial point of view.

Rating of Difficulties.
As river trekking has a certain level of risk, experienced river trekkers or hiking groups have developed rating systems about difficulties on different rivers. The ratings usually are various from 1 to 5 stars, even though a few rivers can be more than 5 stars because of their extreme difficulties. Such ratings are largely subjective, depends largely on river trekker's own experience. Therefore, different people or hiking groups would give different number of stars on the same river. According to Hong Kong Adventurer, an English Website about hiking and river trekking in Hong Kong, difficult scale of different rivers as:

Number of stars Description
1 star can be handled by normal healthy persons
2 stars not too easy
3 stars fairly difficult
4 stars difficult, absolutely not for beginners
5 stars very difficult, very demanding in term of strength and skill

Risk and danger
River trekking has certain level of risk. There are occasional accidents in river trekking, including falls from steep cliffs or waterfalls, drowning, exhaustion, or getting lost. Risks that should be prepared for include the following:
First, sudden changes in weather, like rainstorms, can cause rapid rises in water levels and speed in the river. Also, the number of viable paths and climbing areas inside the river valley would be reduced suddenly in a very short period. Besides this, bad or misty weather would also cause low visibility. Low visibility may come in to quickly for trekkers to adapt to. Therefore, a torch/ flashlight, preferably a head-mounted one, is a must for river trekking.
Second, steep cliffs inside river valleys require a certain level of rock climbing skills. However, because of the humid environment inside the river valley, some rock surfaces can be very wet and some rocks can be very loose despite appearing solid. To deal with such wet climbing conditions, a pair of professional river-trekking boots is strongly advised.

Our valley has the immense resources for this new sport and we can harness our potential, we have many White Water Rivers and streams or water bodies and our mountains that have attracted adventure seekers from ages, whether the ones which needs technical climbing or the ones that are trekkers paradise.

The Author, Shauky Putoo is a Swift Water Rescue Technician & Trainer, White Water Rafting Coach, Grade 4+ River Guide & can be got in touch at or +919419550663