Cycle-touring in Yunnan and Sichuan, China
I want to go back and paddle! I made some notes for when I do:
NW Yunnan (area north of Xiaguan): hardly saw anything worth paddling. The Yangtze tribs upstream of Shigu are very steep and fairly low volume and in the process of being dammed, or are flat/low volume. The Yangtze (Jinsha Jiang up here) is easy (I-II) above Tiger Leaping Gorge, TLG doesn’t really go, TLG has altitude about 1650m, near Lijiang it is about 1450m, so maybe worth paddling between here (it’s a big volume wilderness trip at least). There’s possibly a dam site below TLG?? Didn’t see Mekong (Lancang Jiang) or Salween (Nu Jiang)
Loads of great rivers but most/all have/will have dams on them. Lots had run-of-river power stations but levels were quite high in July (monsoon+some snowmelt) so there was still water in the rivers. This is prob the time to go.
Saw signs to a rafting centre near here?!
Anning He has some grade III and small dams on it. 50 cumecs?
Some grade III and IV and lots of dams just S of Ya’an, not worth paddling?
Along the Ya’an-Kanding road: First river you drive up has loads of dams!! and killer weirs and maybe some grade III through a small gorge. 200 cumecs. They you drive up a trib, maybe 50 cumecs. 2? dams higher up but plenty of water left in the river. III/IV (V), really continuous, gorged up in places. Low vol (10 cumecs) towards the tunnel. The Dadu trib from Kanding is incredibly steep – about 40 cumecs (20 between dams) and 40m/km. It is dammed regularly but plenty enough water between the dams. Grade V all the way! Both forks at Kanding look interesting; through town is a rollercoaster grade IV.
Dadu: 200 cumecs, Grade IV (V) Luding-Kongyu, easy above. Dam sites at Kongyu and above Jiangju. A few interesting looking creeky tribs.
Xiaojin: Some nice grade IV/V near Danba, easy+2 dams at+above Xiaojin town. 50 cumecs.
Min Jiang trib above Wolong: 20 cumecs grade III/IV, no dams!! Below: Lots of dams but would be interesting (grade IV gorges) with a bit more water
There’s a really high density of rivers around Kanding and loads I didn’t see, including lots flowing well away from roads that possibly don’t have dams on. Hitching+communication is hard—you’d need a driver.
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