Yarkant River, Western Xinjiang, 1990

This expedition was planned and led by John Yost (Sobek Expeditions, now Mountain Travel Sobek, www.mtsobek.com). John was a co-leader of Sobek's 1987 first descent of a section of the Great Bend of the Yangzte. The river flows from the north flank of K-2 to Sache, where it becomes the Tarim River, then flows across the Taklaman desert to Lake Boston in the Tarim Basin (39 43 04N 79 01 01E), where it evaporates.

The put-in elevation was about 16,000' at Mazar (3626 35N 77 00 09E). Average gradient over the 200 miles they floated was about 25' per mile. The river was Class 2-3 at the average 7000 cfs they encountered. It flows through hilly terrain on the north side of the Kunlun Mts until it reaches the Tarim Basin near Sache (38 23 24N 77 23 24E). Rapids were gravel bars transitioning to braids through sandbars. Although flows are adequate at times for rafting, this is probably not a good repeat run due to remoteness and lack of whitewater. No pictures were available when this website was first created in 1995.

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Info on rivers in Tibet and western China