Pat Clissold dropping in on the Souana

Reports from Peidmonte this year looked pretty grim, the snow pack was low, meaning that all the snow melt rivers would be low and the notoroiusly short Italian creeking season would be shorter than ever. Good job then that the region experienced torrential rain to keep the rivers at a tasty level.


Gronda, race setion

Park and huck on the Gronda, Photo: Tom Laws

Pat Clissold and I flew out for a long weekend to meet up with a bunch of assorted students and layabouts that had been hiding under umbrellas in Campotonga for the previous few days. They all spent the Friday muttering something disticntly un-British about it being too cold and wet, so Pat and I had quick blast down the race section of the Gronda and the Sorba slides at a good high level.

Tom Parker on the first slide of the Ayasse

Tom Parker on the first slide of the Ayasse

Saturday’s plan involved a drive across to the Aosta valley, and a blast down the short, steep and slightly terrifying Ayasse. We had all seen pictures of Simon Westgarth and co. on the Ayasse last year and were excited about some park-and-huck fun slides and drops. We got there to find that the rain had sent the river high, resulting in some long, fast slides in to sticky holes and a fair few chin-scratching moments, especially above the large triple drop combo. Good fun all round and we all felt that we had earned the large and unorthodox meal we enjoyed that evening.

Chin scratching in purgatory eddy above the big drop on the Ayasse

“There are two ways out of this eddy; run the drop, or jump the drop”

Tom Laws fires it up on the Ayasse

Tom Laws runs the drop

The Souana was Sunday’s river, described in the bar a few days before as “the best run in the Alps”, we had high hopes, and we weren’t dissapointed. Entering along and committing gorge, reminiscent of Corsican rivers, and containing numerous bedrock and bouldery rapids from grade 3 to 5, this is a fantastic day’s paddling. One drop in particular saw three of the five paddlers that attempted it swimiming like carp (myself included).

Nick Horwood on the Souana

Nick on the Souana

Chris Eastabrook on the ‘Land of Giants’ rapid on the Souana

Chris Eastabrook running the ‘Land of the Giants rapid’, Souana

Bank holiday Monday’s are made for relaxing, so this is what we duly did. Taking full advantage of the sun, we spent the day drinking good coffee, swimming in the River, taking touristy photos, and eating ice cream before heading to Turin airport and back to work…


Tom Laws, messiah complex?

Sunrise in London

…and back in time for sunrise in London on Tuesday


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