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Rafting directions and topographic maps. Part 1

Speaking about main rafting directions, we will look on the topographic map and single out Altai, Karelia, and Caucasus.

Also there are interesting tours on the topographic map along the rivers of Kola Peninsula, Yakutia, Eastern Siberia, the Far East, where the tourist can not only paddle, but admire the beauty of scenic and wild regions of Russia. Ural was very popular rafting destination among amateur tourists for many years, because it provides a big variety of routes. Now Ural is known as a river of little complexity or without difficulties at all.

Numerous karelian rivers with a lot of various difficulties is a dream of every tourist.

Rafting tours in Karelia

The most of the tours, presented by travel agencies, belong to the routes along Karelia. Numerous karelian rivers with a lot of various difficulties is a dream of every tourist. It’s not difficult here to choose a tour of any complexity. Commercial tours are organized along the rivers Shuya, Suna, Chirka-Kem, Ohta and many others. One of the most popular water tours in Karelia is the tour along the river Shuya, where even children can take part. River Shuya flows along populous places, high banks, covered with pinery; there are a lot of beaches on the route and of course difficulties of second complexity. According to the tour duration, rafting can be as independent traveling or as an additional impression of multi-day excursion tour Kizhi-Balaam-Solovki.

There are also sporting tours in Karelia for those who want to feel extreme while passing difficult rapids. To such tour belongs a tour along the river Ohta.

A peculiarity of karelian rivers, alternation of river regions and laky regions, is used by travel agencies for organizing combined water tours. Among combined tours the most thrilling is a week tour –Yanisioki-Ladoga skerries-Balaam. It includes rafting along the river Yanisioki, traveling on a motor boat along rocky bays and narrow straits along numerous islands of Ladoga skerries and a tour of the Central estate of Balaam monastery, situated on the wonderfully beautiful island.

Besides, karelian travel agencies render additional services such as transportation of amateur watermen, help to deliver equipment and boats to the beginning of the tour and at the end help to get to the train station.

Karelia map set is available for purchasing.

Rafting tours in Murmansk region

One more interesting rafting tour in the north-west of Russia is a tour along the river Umba in Murmansk region. The river flows out of Umb Lake and flows into White Sea. Over the river reaches, lakes and rapids up to 4th complexity alternate all the time. The best time for rafting tour along the river Umba is July or August. This traveling is for people who like remote, but active holidays with fishing and picking up mushrooms or northern berries and of course map reading.

Murmansk map set is available for purchasing.

Rafting tours in Altai

Altai, the same as Karelia, allows doing multi-day tours of any complexity. In vast majority rivers here have rough, mountainous nature. Among Altai rafting tours, the most widely spread are tours along the river Katun and its right tributary Chuya.

Chuya is a mountainous river with technically difficult rapids. All rapids are usually signed on topographic maps, so you should first examine the topographic map of your route very well and only then begin to raft. Katun is the main water artery of Mountainous Altai. The river is very wide with powerful waves, which springs from glaciers, situated on the south descents of the highest Siberia mountain – Belukha. It is more thrilling to pass consecutive one river after another. In contrast to classical tour along Katun, inclusion of the pass along the river Chuya significantly raises the complexity of the tour. During the tour the team passes rapids from 3d to 5th complexity. To pass such rapids you need to retain self-control and keep your head cool as well as work consistently in the team and of course to have a leader who will give order and read topographic maps. The rapid “Horizon” fascinates watermen very much: the river Chuya, grasped between rocky cliffs rumbles and rages in powerful flow and steeply turn to 90 degrees. However, if you look on topo map you will see that, on the further way after middle Katun, powerful rapids (3d or 4th complexity) do not finish. You cannot also relax on the tour “Upper Katun”, which passes along the rapids of the ravine “Akkemian debacle”. Difficulties in lower flow of Katun are not dangerous, that’s why children of school age can participate in this tour under the parents’ supervision.

Altai map set is available for purchasing.

Rafting tours in Caucasus

Among the rivers of Caucasus the most popular is the river Mzimta and Belaya, as main floatable rivers of Altai, where World Cup rafting stages are usually held. The river Mzimta springs from the mountains of Big Caucasus, flows in narrow valley (in upper reaches flows through the lake Kardavich), flows into black Sea near Adler. The route of the tour from ravine Akh-Tsu down the river is famous among many holiday makers. This tour is very popular among women with children, because it represents as very calm and safe rafting tour. However there are more extreme tours. They begin almost from Krasnopolyanski hydroelectric power station and extends up to the ravine Akh-Tsu: in this region water returns in Mzimta from hydroelectric power station, taken in pipes higher up-stream and the river again become powerful and deep, totally justified its name Mzimta, which means furious. In some river areas rafts almost begins to jump over big waves, conquering with rotating foam water pit. After float, which as a rule lasts for an hour, tourists have a possibility to buy honey, products of beekeeping, wine, cognac at one of the bee-garden in Krasnaya Polyana, the place of which is signed on topographic map.

Caucasus map setis available for purchasing.

Rafting tours in Adygea

Experienced watermen will like for sure a traveling to Adygea. One day summer rafting tour is worked out and conducted here for several years, the programme of which includes the float along the river Belaya. The river springs from main back of Big Caucasus at the peak Fisht and Oshten. Flowing roughly from the mountains, it passes several canyons and in the lower stream it flows calmly. In Adygea the tourist are delivered by comfortable bus from the coast of Black Sea – from Dagomys. Those people, who can spend two nights in the bus have a unique possibility not only float from the town Guzeripl to the creek of the river Kisha, where in spring rafting competitions “Interrally” were held for several years, but visit some natural sightseeing of Adygeya: Khadzhonskaya gorge – the canyon almost half a kilometer long of the river Belaya, picturesque waterfalls Rufabgo, visit a fairy-tale of the underground kingdom – Big Azishskaya cave and see unique building of the megalith epoch – dolmen. And of course they will admire the beauty of mountain scenery river valleys.

The route of the rafting tour along the river Belaya is considered to be the most dangerous when high tide. It is complicated and interesting to raft there when low or middle tide. There a lot of serious rapids here not long away from each other: Teatralnyi, Toporiki, Topori, Kishi-1, Kishi-2. The last three have 5th complexity. In summer when water falls the rapid Topori is not passable, that’s why the participants finish the tour before Topori or twine rafts by shore and with special equipment (insurance) pass the rapid Kishi-2.

Adygea map set is available for purchasing.

Last but not least, if you would like to have thrilling, unforgettable holidays don’t forget to bring with yourself good topographic maps!