The Nepalese call it Sagarmatha, meaning “Goddess of the Universe,” the people of Tibet call it Chomolungma, meaning “Mother of Mountains.” Today, most of the World refers to the tallest mountain on Earth as Mt. Everest. The native names of this magnificent mountain alone instill a sense of wonder and its importance, but setting eyes on this peak first hand is an experience that leaves all in a sense of awe.
The dramatic landscape of this mountain range on the rare, clear day as I flew into Meghalaya signaled how special this mission was going to be, and how much different this area of the World was in comparison to the flatlands and maple trees of Eastern Canada.
Bren, Adrian and the Cali boys – Carson, Johnny, and Evan - arrived a day before I did and I was eager to meet up, hear about their first day on the River and get kayaking myself! Landing in Guwahati after flying over the Himalayas and seeing its Whitewater rich regions gave great insight into the potential of this trip.
Basing out of the Shillong Whitewater Village, along the banks of the Umtrew River, I had 10 days on the ground to smash and grab the Megalayan classics and I was fired up to get things rolling. The trip unfolds in the photographs below, Enjoy.
“An extremely rare, clear day on the flight from New Delhi to Guwahati. This flight path follows the Southern ridge of the Himalayas and delivers a spectacular view of the tallest mountain on Earth – Mt. Everest.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Adrian getting his feet wet on the true joy river of the region, the Lower Umtrew is 25+ Km’s of instant classic style whitewater.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“Bren getting creative with downriver freestyle on every feature on the Lower Umtrew, this time, a sick kickflip on a small boof.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“The steps up the side of the dam at the takeout are a tricky task, the challenge is to get up without using the rope.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“All smiles form Bren as the crew embarks on a 3-day journey into the Lower Kynshi.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Bren takes on the first significant horizon line of the Lower Kynshi, seeing a line that none of us saw…” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Scouting became the routine on the Kynshi at every horizon.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“Bren on a mission, lining up and descending into the mist of the 50ft tall, ‘Shillong in a box’ waterfall.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Once it starts, the Kynshi continues to drop extensively, here Adrian enters Griff’s Gash, putting the slicey kayaks to the ultimate test.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Bren taking an up close and personal look at one of the massive holes that appear in every rapid on the Kynshi.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
"2 swims, 1 broken boat and a wild first day. The boys settle into camp 1 and recover from all the excitement and sunshine on one of the many pristine, sand beaches that line the canyon of the Lower Kynshi.” - Photo by Johnny Chase
“On the water train, Adrian doing his best to rehydrate on the go.” - Photo by Johnny Chase
“Kalob midway through the first big section of day 2, slicey kayak getting bow up through the colossal features becomes a common scene on day 2.” - Photo by Johnny Chase
“The important places, the important people. Stopping to enjoy the pristine beauty and re-fill the water bottles at the spring-fed waterfall.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Looking for the line, Adrian charging through a lengthy read and run rapid as we all get more comfortable with these kayaks, in this style of whitewater.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Driving, the name of the game in India. One-track roads, mountain passes, thick jungle and no straight lines on the entire region, it takes the crew hours upon hours to reach some put-ins.” - Photo by Kalob Grady
“Stellan the master, as mentioned above, driving is the name of the game Stellan was the best of the best. Keeping us safe and putting in the hours.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“We heard the Kopoli was low, but we had to see ‘The best river in the World’ for ourselves.” - Photo by Carson Lindsay
“The final falls on the Kopili, typically a river wide veil of crystal blue water, at this point in the day, we were just stoked it had enough water in one line for a solid boof.” - Photo by Johnny Chase
"Getting vertical, Bren going bow to the sky below the final waterfall of the Kopili, guaranteed smiles following a long day.” - Photo by Kalob Grady