Epicocity/National Geographic Challana River expedition launches Monday

On Monday, we will begin the main exploratory portion of our Bolivia project—a descent of the Challana River basin from its source to the village of Guayana in the Amazon basin. This roadless, very remote basin drains the rapidly diminishing glacial water source for the cities of La Paz and El Alto.

Our team will begin by making the trip up and over the 5,000m pass from the western side of the Andes to the village of Challana, where we will first explore the glacier and series of natural lakes that feed the Challana River. We will then begin the trip downstream, first on foot with our kayaks and equipment on mules for the first few miles. Given the gradient of over 1,000 feet per mile and relatively low flow at the source, we expect that this will be our only means of travel. At 7,000 or 8,000 feet of elevation, we expect the river to become passable by kayak, and when this happens we will bid our guides and pack animals farewell and hit the water.

We just finished several days of kayaking on the Zongo River, one basin to the south, to get some idea of what we might expect on the Challana, but lots of unknowns still exist. The Zongo is in a much tighter gorge than the Challana, has 10 hydropower dams affecting its flow and has a road along it. The team is nervous about the upcoming week, for sure. Check back with us in a week or so for an update!

Epicocity would like to extend a very special thanks to the sponsors of our Bolivia expedition. We are very grateful for all of your continued support:

National Geographic
Sierra Designs
Alpine Aire
Sweet Protection
AT Paddle
Adventure Medical Kits

And our media supporters:
National Geographic
Wend Magazine
National Geographic Adventure