Exploring the Rivers of Tibet and China

Yangtze River

Chinese rafters completed a first descent of the Yangtze from source to sea in 1986, winning a race against an American team led by Ken Warren. Warren's plan to start near the spiritual source on the spring snow melt in June had the unfortunate consequence that both the Chinese and American teams ran the huge mainstream during summer high flow (over 100,000 cfs), resulting in the drownings of ten Chinese rafters and a mutiny of the American team that ended their expedition prematurely. The Chinese were inexperienced and had small rafts, and had no idea that if the American team had reached the Class 6 Tiger Leaping Gorge, they would have recognized that portaging it was required for safety. Read "Riding the Dragon's Back" by Rich Bangs and Christian Kallan for the incredible story of these expeditions.

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