Friday, 2 June 2017

1 week in the Swiss and Italian Alps – The 5 best things that happened:


Paddling the Versasca, both classic and upper section. The classic section of the Versasca is insane, lots of drops and slides built on bedrock. No choss, just clean and perfect! The Versasca is around 9 hours driving from Dunkirk or Calais, so it’s pretty easy to smash out to for a long weekend, and will run on most levels. If it’s too high to run the classic section then you can run the upper. You also have the Asola at the top of the valley which runs well on low flows too.
Paddling the Gronda and Sorbe Slides during heavy rain giving them a juicy flow. On the third day we had a mega storm hit the mountains which meant that the rivers were charging. Fortunately we had seen this coming so had driven quickly to Italy to escape a 150 cumec Versasca and hit up high level Italy. In the morning we got up early and enjoyed the classic bedrock run with spice!
Having the bluebird day of the century and ticking off a quadruple crown. The day after the mega storm, the sun came out, the levels were a perfect medium high after the day before and we energized on Italian coffee. Starting at 9am, we ticked off the Egua, Semenzina, Mastalone and Lower Semenzina Gorge. A 10 hour day leaving us all knackered in the evening but stoked after an incredible day.
Running the Mollia rapid at the bottom of the Alpine Sprint, Sesia. This rapid has always seemed beyond me in previous years when visiting Val Sesia. Either the levels were too high, I wasn’t feeling skillful enough or was too hungover. Either way all the elements were aligned for a descent this trip. Perfect crew, Medium levels, sunshine and feeling on top form. All led to a successful run!
Enjoying the simple times between runs in the mountains with top friends. A fantastic crew who were always up for charging and socialising. The Italian coffees found in the small villages were exceptional and gave us a well deserved break and time to reflect on the paddling.