Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Spring In Italy.


The Italian alps in spring are home to some of the worlds best kayaking. A crack team of british creekboaters took a week out from university exam stress to eat drink and kayak in one of Europe's finest playgrounds.
(Above: Nick Horwood in the Ayasse gorge, Photo; Tom Laws.)

Pat Clissold on the Soana, Photo; Nick Horwood

The Soana is Situated about an hour northwest of Turin. Put in at the top, and you get about 10 km of bouldery class 3 - 5 Rapids in a spectacular steep sided valley, with only one path out at the half way point. We found perfect levels, glorious sunshine, and an epic day of top class kayaking.

Lunch at the Soana put in, Photo; Nick Horwood

Tom P rides Cave Drop on the Sermenzina, Photo; Tom Laws

The Sermenzina is one of my all time favourite rivers, with top quality class 4-5 boating, the highlight of which is known as Cave Drop. It consists of a slide drop into a dark cave, followed by a tricky boof through a nasty retentive hole with a big undercut. Our team had a mixture of sweet lines and a nasty beat down, taking a while to extract a boat from the sticky hole.

Nick Horwood styles Cave drop, Photo; Tom Laws

Tom Laws on the Gronda, photo; Sarah Nash

After 5 days of rain in Val Sesia we decided to head south to the Aosta region, an found ourselves getting on the Ayasse. The Ayasse is another Italian mini classic, consisting of a tight, committing grade 4-5 bedrock gorge with a big triple drop/slide combo at the exit. Once you've paddled down into the last eddy above the triple drop, the only way out of the gorge is down the 30 footer (either in your boat, or by throwing it and jumping), with no possibility of safety at the bottom until somebody's run it. This makes for an intense experience, and the view back up the drops afterwards is spectacular.

Tom P Boofs, the Ayasse, Photo; Tom Laws

Tom P on the triple combo of the the Ayasse, Photo; Tom Laws

1 comment:

Tom Laws said...

Hahahaahahaha. You are gonna be in for such a slapping from ms parker when she reads that. Good work nick, expect shameless plugging on Level six blog shortly