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Photograph courtesy of Bio Bio Expeditions
First Descent: Drangme

The Drangme Chhu River is Bhutan’s largest drainage, a spillway for Himalayan snow and ice that roils into turquoise Class IV and V rapids through sheer granite walls. And it has never been run. But this month a team from Bio Bio Expeditions and its U.K.-based partner, Ultimate Descents, will make a first descent of the Drangme into Royal Manas National Park—an area that has long been closed to tourists due to violence in the neighboring Indian province of Assam. If the test run proves a success, the Bhutanese government will grant Bio Bio permission to guide the Drangme’s first official commercial whitewater trip through the now peaceful park in 2010. “On our initial survey of Bhutan’s whitewater, we found some of the most amazing rapids on the planet,” says Bio Bio co-owner Marc Goddard. But they were all short, rocky runs. In the Drangme Chhu—which has sections of continuous whitewater, golden langur monkeys as onlookers, and optional side trips to Bhutanese villages—they hit the jackpot. Or, as Goddard puts it, “We finally discovered the longer trip we were looking for.”

Outfitter: Bio Bio Expeditions;
Price: $6,800 ($$$$)
Length: 17 days
Departs: November

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