Into the OM. Photo by Travis Winn.
Earth Science Expeditions completed the first descent of the Salween above Biru in 2000 and had planned to complete the stretch below Biru (12,900') for many years. In June 2007, ESE ran the 90 mile stretch from a beach below the Biru Dam (31.473885°, 93.717081°) to Sadeng (31.264929°, 94.483093°, 11,900') using 3 catarafts and 4 kayaks. The group, led by Pete and Travis Winn, encountered a 3 mile gorge with one Class 5 and three Class 4 rapids caused by an active landslide that cannot be safely run, lined or portaged at flows much below or above about 5,000 cfs (they were very lucky). Below the river below the confluence with the Sok (Mercury) River (which flows south from Soxian and enters the Salween below the gorge), the Salween is easy Class 3 with an average gradient of 8'/mile, spectacular side canyon waterfalls, abundant wildlife and many Tibetan farms and villages. If the Mercury River is safe to raft over a range of moderate flows, the section of the Salween from Sok to Sadeng would be a good repeat run at a variety of moderate flows (10,000 - 25,000 cfs).