Paddlers’ Nepal Relief Efforts

Dispatch from Outfitter Darren Clarkson-King

Tragic news continues to cascade out of Nepal following Saturday's massive earthquake as the numbers of those injured and dead continue to rise (9,000 and more than 4,600, respectively, according to the latest count.)

Though international news outlets have documented the dire situation, much of the coverage has been focused on the capital city of Kathmandu, leaving the paddling community wondering about the Himalayan nation's less populated areas. The concern is that the same remote and dramatic topography that has created some of expedition paddling's greatest rivers must surely present staggering challenges to rescue and response efforts.

The road access to central Nepal's Buri Gandaki provides a view of the regional challenges for delivering emergency relief aid to outlying villages. Photo: Lucas Strickland
The road access to central Nepal’s Buri Gandaki provides a view of the regional challenges for delivering emergency relief aid to outlying villages. Photo: Lucas Strickland

Darren 'Daz' Clarkson-King knows this rugged landscape and its challenges well. He co-wrote the book on paddling there (White Water Nepal, with Peter Knowles, a work labeled as "probably the most iconic and famous rivers guidebook in the world of international kayaking and rafting"). C&K caught up briefly with Clarkson-King, an accomplished British expedition paddler, who is currently organizing ground-level relief efforts in Nepal through Pure Land Expeditions, the Pokhara-based raft/kayak/trek outfitting business he operates with his wife Andrea.

Photos courtesy Darren Clarkson-King / Pure Land Expeditions.
Photos courtesy Darren Clarkson-King / Pure Land Expeditions.

Clarkson-King noted over Facebook messaging that he was looking ahead to five hours sleep before delivering supplies in the morning to the central Nepalese village of Gorkha, then meeting a convoy of jeeps arriving from India to head east to the Bhote Kosi region.

"We have teams from Indian outfitters and trek agencies assisting," Clarkson-King wrote.

"I know grassroots-level work is so needed … aid charities have not made it out of Kathmandu yet." Pure Land is accepting funds for its direct relief efforts through PayPal (click to see more on the Facebook info below until Clarkson-King distributes a formal press release in coming days).

Stay tuned as we update this story. View footage below from the Gorkha region that provides a glimpse of the scale of the damage in Nepal's outlying villages, as well as this recent post from the Langtang region north of Kathmandu, a raft/kayak outfitting base for multiple outfitters which was devastated by a quake-triggered avalanche: