Courting the Diamond Sow: A Whitewater Expedition on Tibet's Forbidden River
The harrowing account of the pioneering descent of Tibets Tsangpo River one of modern explorations greatest challenges which ended in tragedy with the death of Olympic Paddler Doug Gordon. A COMPELLING AND DRAMATIC EXPEDITION ACCOUNT set in one of the worlds most beautiful and remote regions. The Tsangpo is one of the last great uncharted rivers in the world. It's the Everest of whitewater, except unlike Everest, it's never been done. -- Arlene Burns, the Washington Post ROMANCE OF THE WORLD'S FORBIDDEN AND SECRET PLACES: Mysterious and sacred, Tibet has fascinated explorers for more than a century. The stretch of the Tsangpo attempted by Walker and his team is the source of the legend of Shangri-la, and the model for James Hiltons novel, Lost Horizons. CONTROVERSY OVER THE 'DISCOVERY' OF TSANGPO'S HIDDEN FALLS: In 1924 British explorer Frank Kingdon-Ward observed what he believed to be the highest waterfall on the Tsangpo, a waterfall to rival Niagra. His observations led to a race to document these falls, which has attracted generations of explorers.FILM TIE-IN: The Walker expedition is the subject of a National Geographic Explorer special that will re-air at the time of publication. In 1926 botanist F. Kingdon Ward described one of modern explorationIs greatest challengesUtracking the course of the Tsangpo River of Tibet. In a mysterious region called Pemako, the Land of Flowers, the mighty Tsangpo loops around the eastern anchor of the Himalayan Range, cutting the deepest canyon on earth and emerging more than nine thousand feet lower on the plains of Assam, India, renamed the Brahmaputra. He and others added pieces to the puzzle he called Ithe riddle of the Tsangpo gorges, O but no one has yet followed the river throughout its course. For almost four decades on several continents, a small group of American companionsUWick Walker, Tom and Jamie McEwan, and Doug Gordon were privileged to participate in the emergence of a new and thrilling sport, whitewater racing. Moving from World Cup and Olympic levels to expeditions around the globe, Wick Walker and his companions were drawn to an area of Tibet where the highest and deepest of the EarthIs recesses come together.Perhaps no place in the world is more dramatic (or less known and explored) than the magnificent series of gorges that lie in far southeastern Tibet. In late September 1998, after years of planning, including a month-long reconnaissance into the gorge in 1997, and garnering support from the National Geographic Society, Malden Mills Industries, and a host of other sponsors, the expedition finally launched into the treacherous gorges for a first descent. Four whitewater paddlers, perhaps the best possible team in the world, would descend the Tsangpo, supported and resupplied at intervals by a team of four trekkers accompanied by two sherpas, local guides and porters, and a videographer from National Geographic. The descent, which began with difficultiesUa huge river swollen by a season of Ififty-year floodsO ended in tragedy with the death of renowned chemist and Olympian, Doug Gordon, who perished on October 16th while running a small put powerful waterfall. Although his teammates searched for his body for four days, his remains were never found, vanishing into the treacherous waters. The expedition was immediately abandoned.Courting the Diamond Sow is a compelling expedition account shaped by the first-hand diary accounts of the kayackers as they passed through the gorges; the history of this mysterious corner of the world some refer to as Shangri La and the attempts to explore it; and a cultural profile of this remote Tibetan region.
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Bailey bank base camp began Bhutan bivvy boat boulders British canoe canyon carried challenge Chinese cliff climbers climbing clouds crossed Dave Phillips descent difficult Doug Gordon Doug's downstream dropped eddy emerged equipment Eric Shipton Eskimo roll Everest expedition exploration feet finally flow foot forest four friends gear Gyala Pelri Harry and Doris Himalaya hole huge Inmarsat Jamie McEwan Jamie's John Wesley Powell Kami kayak Kingdon Ward Kinthup Lhasa loads Lobsang Mendung miles Monpas morning mountains Namcha Barwa National Geographic October packs paddlers paddling Panther Beach Paulo Pemakochung Pemba Peme Gompa plans porters racing rafting Rainbow Falls rapid resupply river team rock Roger rope route satellite telephone scout Sherpa shore side slalom slope Squad Leader steep takin Tibet Tibetan Tom's trail trees trip tsampa Tsangpo gorges Tsuga upstream Village Voice walk waves Wetherbee Wick