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 (39.707998°, 78.729351°), where it evaporates.
The put-in elevation was about 16,000' at Mazar (36.442921°, 77.002932°). 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 (38.259045°, 77.268384°). 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.