By Eugene Buchanan
One of this video's opening narrations says it all: "Day one, we found a dead body… It’s the second one we’ve found.”
That sums up the intensity of Siberia's Lower Bashkaus Gorge high in the Altai Mountains just north of Mongoia, tackled last summer by Sickline Adidas Team members Sam Sutton and Jared Meehan of New Zealand, Stephan Pion of France, Tomass Mornics of Latvia and Florian Dillier of Switzerland. And putting it all together in this timeless segment is Olaf Obsommer and Thilo Schmitt, whose cinematography captures the feeling of one of the world's most powerful whitewater runs.
En route, the group of adventurers also encountered one of the classic river logbooks of all time, the Book of Legends, housed in a waterproof canister about halfway down the gorge. In it you can feel better about your own exploits after reading tales of the deaths behind the memorials lining the canyon walls; stories of epic five-day hike-outs, scaling the sheer canyon walls; and accounts of whitewater courage reduced to its rawest form.
The only other logbook that comes close? The board on the Stikine…
[Eds. note: C&K Editor at Large Eugene Buchanan knows the Book of Legends well; his name is in it, “written in scribbly, starving handwriting,” from his 1992 expedition with a Latvian team using homemade rafts and equipment, detailed in his 2007 book Brothers on the Bashkaus. Copies are available HERE at PaddlingLife.net.]