Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lower Raundalselva - Norway

Mike Abbott starts off in sun and style, Lower Raundalselva - Norway

The Raundal of Voss is one of those rivers that offers multiple class III-VI sections of whitewater throughout a long season of varying water levels. Throw in some deep gorges, must run boofs, numerous waterfalls, 30 kilometers of river, and Voss's reputation as a creek boater's paradise soaks in. With a past week of high cloud, cold nights and clear skies, the water levels in the area dropped enough to bring the class IV-V Lower Raundalselva onto the minds of a few of us.

The Raundalselva needs manageable flows of around 20 or less cms to keep the nerves calm in a few not-so-clean boulder chokes within some deep walls. Even before you get into your boat, you are staring down the entry to a beautiful 20 foot waterfall. You can either go left for the boof here, or maybe try your luck down a clean slide on the right of the rock island.

Put in huck choices - and how about that sunny weather!

Mike with the new Palm max floatation PFD.

Not too far into the run comes an unappealing no-scout drop with big rocks taking up the majority of the horizon line. Again you have the choice to boof the left pinch and bounce off a rock at the bottom or go right through a winding corridor that puts you close to some sieves. Another drop worthy of mention lies just downstream and has an undercut rock blocking half of the exit on the right. The river stays fairly gorged up from this point on but offers slippery green covered rocks on each shore to scout or portage for the rest of the run.

Andy Phillips enjoying his relaxing float in the pool between drops.

Greg Dashper - happy times.

Michelle Basso - left line highlight waterfall close to the end of the gorge.

You will know you are nearing the end of the gorge when the gradient flattens out and the pools become clear and large. After the walls disappear paddle the flatwater for a short distance and take out on your right at some red army buildings. Thanks to Benjamin Hjort and the riverkore boys for the good lines, humour and a most perfect day in Voss.