Darren is a adventurer who thinks not about the technique but about the internal, the personal philosophy about why we put ourselves in a place of adventure. Over the last 20 years Darren has explored some of the worlds most challenging rivers, along with countless classic trails. He is a skilled expedition provider and crisis mentor.
In 2012 Darren did what no one has done before, he paddled alone done the rivers of Everest. He was paddling self sufficient on some of the most dangerous rapids on Earth. Now the expedition is over, the ghost in the machine is never at rest,. Explores Connect welcomes Darren to talk about over a decade of Himalayan river running, pushing the boundaries and future expeditions.
Tickets : A donation of £4 on the night
The Black Lion 7.30pm
65 Chapel Street, M3 5HW City of Salford
ALSO 23 MAY KAYAKS NORTH WEST 630 arrive for a 7pm start!
So I am sat here on the couch, Andrea is upstairs resting in bed after her second full hip operation in less than a year, the water is low in the rivers and my mind is wandering – far off lands call in my dreams.
The shifting ice of the great lakes on the Alsek river the bookends that capture the gates vaults of Turnback canyon. I remember it well, remember the rattle snake of a river as it kicked and bucked. It is a memory that will never fade.
Andrea went to surgery fully conscious – in the moment. Not in fear of what was to come but pleased to be made new and fresh – whatever that may mean as the months of learning to use her new hip will take time.
Perhaps this is how we can control our understanding of fear and our projections in the flow from the times where we put over selves in the place of fear. It is the Chinese that have possibly perfected this in a succinct fashion – Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of elements that signify “danger” and “opportunity.” For our purpose this appears to be sufficient. This is to state that only through the notion of a crisis as the birthing pool for change.
How many times have we ourselves witnessed a mini drama, a crisis of thought or a greater crisis only to emerge from the pool fresh and now. How we get to this junction is simple, we allow ourselves the place for Danger, give it an opportunity to appear, this is where change occurs. It is not the flight or fight response we are told it should be – rather it is to fully embrace the change you have allowed.
How we go along the road to allow our thoughts to develop is interesting – for those who want to know more, The workshop at The Dee Fest may suit. If this is of interest – follow the link – Build Confidence and Control Fear.
The river doesn’t care about the kayak we ride in, it doesn’t even care about the experience we have, so we must care. We must understand our own experience and how we interact with the river that forms our experience. This is land and water based. The day will offer a holistic approach to the moment and the truth we can find in each stroke, each drop of water and each breath. This requires an open mind. We will not be thinking about stroke analysis, its not about that, its about how our unconscious works.
Venue: Tail to town
Duration: FULL DAY
Coach: Daz Clarkson
Is it for me? You’re paddling with peers but have mind games and doubt on some features. Perhaps you want to start pushing your grades, know your have the skills but lack confidence.
As our Tibet schedule is open for kayakers in Aug 2013 we fondly look back at the first descent on the roof of the world.
It seems like an age since first descents in Tibet was the scene of our adventure…so it seems time to process the feelings of a 1st descent.
The rumble of the Land cruiser, the noise the rolling mass of the truck. The tyres pound the roads away from Lhasa, unsure we head into the unknown. Hours of idle chatter, hours of silence. The mind wandering into itself, into parts hidden for years. Into the desolate tears of youth. Surfacing in the gold lining of passion, of embracing the present. The road leads forever onward telling more about the soul than we care to mention.
With each mountain pass over 5000m we get closer to our aim. It is uncharted land, the river that flows away from Tibet. Like the river, we must also fall headlong into Nepal. We must follow the surprises that are around each bend; we must search for the lotus, for the jewel.
As the virgin flows grow from birth at Shisha Pangma, stumbling like a child, blindly into the world. With adolescence comes angst, it pays off well. The river engulfing all, drains the hills, taking with it the souls of men. Faster they fall into the gates of hell. Deep into the impossible cascades of Nylam and beyond into the new kingdom – unchartered by man in Tibet. The river, used and abused for commercial gain in Nepal, even before it joins the Sun Kosi. The river looses all its innocence.
Time ticks away, wild horses charge on the horizon; stampeding forward – never stopping. Hitching a ride is difficult, for our own sakes we must jump on. Riding like the wind into the fading future into a new game. Each morning call a new book, with each hour passed a new chapter turned.
As a 1st descent the Bhote Kosi/ShishaPangma is mind blowing. It matters that it happened. It sure as hells matters that we took the last eddy before it fell into hell at Nylam.
Words cannot express the emotions of the river, any article or report would steal the soul of the water and dilute the experience of the team. I hope that the words above can help you chance a glimpse into the soul. I hope that words are not used foolishly and memories will not become lost in myth. It matters, even if it only matters to the few.
Thank you for letting us pass through on the way to Nylam.
To celebrate a bumper 2012 year of expeditions we would like to let you all know about our special offer for 2013 expeditions.
Book and pay for any of our 2013 expeditions before the END of Jan 2013 and save 10 percent. Book as a group of 8 or more and we will double the saving to 20 percent.
Plan now and have the adventure you always wanted.
Peace to all
Our Nepal season is now almost finished, just one Thule Bheri trip left and we are done until 2013. We had a great season, ran some great lines, rode some great tracks, trekked some peaks. It was fun for us and our guests. We just got the following email and it really is one of the best things about running trips to hear about how our guests feel after the adventure.
I suffered from jet lag for at least a week which was very weird having never had the problem before (mainly because I have never been anywhere!)
I had a great time that will stay with me for a very long time. I signed up for a paddling trip but it was so much more.
I found many things quite demanding. Mostly the things that at home I take for granted; food; bathrooms etc. The difficult thing was getting my head around the fact that it’s all ok and I just need to get on with it. On top of this there is the added difficulties of not being a natural camper and accepting that it will take at least an hour to collect wood, light a fire and boil enough water for a cup of tea.
Getting back home and trying to describe Kathmandu is a challenge. The best I can come up with is sensory overload. Noise, smell, vision, taste are all pushed to the limit even before you factor in excitement, fear, confusion, anticipation.
Thanks for a great time. The rivers were obviously fantastic but your natural exuberance for the people and the country rubbed off and it was great to get as close to it as we did. I’m sure it would be easy to avoid the local cuisine and just stick to the tourist stuff but we would have missed so much.
Hopefully we are all better paddlers for the experience. I think we all stand a little taller now as we bore people with another tale of ”well when I was out in Nepal and paddling the Bhota Khosi,”
Please pass on our thanks to Adam, Anton and Jamie they all added enormously to the experience.
Best wishes and many thanks again,
The way we see the world and understand it amazes me, we have tools that can help us live better experiences.
We can only and for ever be in the ‘now’, we cannot be in the past or future. This ‘now’ is the only fixed point we have. We all measure time in one way or another – clock face or diary entry – it helps our brains calculate what has been, what is now, and what will happen.
We all organise our time upon such lines the past and future possibilities. When asked to think of time in this way we all fall in to two structures. Either we view the world ‘in time’ or ‘through time’.
In the former we view ‘us’ as part of time with the past and future on a line – mostly the past sits in a place behind us out of sight and the future line fades in front. Then we have the second ‘through time’. In this case we see time as an arc, we diss – associate from it, often the left is the past and the right the future. Moments of time displayed like a fan of cards.
It is this latter that I think we need to connect with in order to process our fear and risk assessments’. Let us ignore the former as in essence it is a series of ‘nows’ that may or may not occur. Unlike a ‘now’ this is fixed. In the latter, to phrase Snyder, we see a charging arc of our experiences and possible futures; where possible futures are stacked in our favour. In the arc we see positives and connect with these. Look now in your own timeline, if you wish – that xmas where you got the best toy in the world – the smile – the fun. Feel the colour, hear the noise. It feels so real on the timeline a connected experience although you are outside it, not ‘in it per se’.
Now let us look at this (diss) associated experience with fear and risk. Look at the timeline as images, or movies – remember the time when you ‘did’, when you had success at the point where you felt it impossible. – Visualize it. The passion, the heart, the pulse rate and how you felt. This is the key.
If we visualize our positives on this charging arc that leads out in front of us from left to right, all possibilities arise. The form, they hold, is a truth and unlike the ‘in time’ we can see past – now – future all around, we are apart from it – our fears can be accepted and viewed without our interaction (like watching a movie) we are not involved.
It appears simple for this to occur – we view our timeline ‘out of ourselves’.
It is a practice of timeline therapy and NLP, a journey. How we use this practice is important. When we look at a climbing route – when we look at a hard rapid – when we step out of our zones of comfort can we use what the timeline has shown us. Like an IPAD we can pick and choose from the applications – from the slides of the past – to position us in the future. This future is now. We can use our consciousness from the past, the positives, to function for us- to work with us and assist us. We have managed in stress before so will again. We have managed in fear, for what it is worth as a concept before, so we can again – it’s not unknown to us.
It is the beginning stages of the NLP journey for me, and indeed for many – if you are keen to learn more about NLP, please email us and we will put you in contact with teachers and courses to suit.
For passion and grace.
Over the last month or two many people have asked me about motivation and how I decide to run rapids, plan trips or even have the courage of my convictions to have the visions for future exploits. Unsponsored online, just finalized an interview that you should read. It has some answers to questions you never thought you should ask. One of the important things to come out of the interview is – how can we stay calm but also stay driven, for me at least this is important as it fuels my daily life.
I think if we are to push our river boundaries and our comfort zones we need to look at how we control our feelings when we associate with a timeline of cause and effect and when or how we dissociate ourselves. Personally I fall in the latter section. How and why I have yet to understand fully. I know that when I am calm I see a timeline I don’t act within it. I see the past and possible futures, with me looking into them, not linear and part of them. I hear you ask how can you relax in times of stress is it that easy. For me – I have planned for the stress for an age, I train my emotions, just like I train my physical. I look to calm events of the past and frame them. I then train on the emotional junction that forms.
For over 5 year I have been engaged in a routine called the Five Tibetan Rites. As a big trip approaches I practice more, in quieter times I do less. It works well for me as an anchor to my day – just a twist on running or gym work. For those interest the book, whilst hard to get is worth every penny. It offer simple steps to calm the fearful mind with both meditation and physical yoga.
This is also known as Five Tibetan Rites a system reported to be more than 2,500 years old, first publicized by Peter Kelder in a 1939 publication entitled The Eye of Revelation. On a recent TV show Jack Osborne used the method when practicing Thai Boxing on one of his Adrenaline Junkie shows, if your interested you should look at it. all I know for sure is that for me its a great system.
Love to hear your views on training the mind, perhaps expanding this post.
It is here, I can feel the pull again and again. The nervous twitching in my heart, the monkey on my back, the chip on my shoulder. VHS machine memory of the gorge still wakes me from the dreams of yesterday. A cold breeze of emotions rattles the attic window. A rocking chair grandparent, all pipe smoke, ghosts and mirage.
It is here again, the call for the bridge – the way trucks make it raw. The yellow sign stained too many times with finger prints and hope. One rapid crashes to the next, large waves, larger than my brain wants to understand. Then hydraulic jumps, formations that dance. Before we were legion, the dreams of the pack united, with thanks, we supported each brother stronger with each stroke.
I ache to go again, to the belly of the earth. To play the harp that has us dancing, to sing in the womb of it all. The slither of water a crack in the earth, more than we wanted and all that we hoped for.
It is a chance to see our own beauty in the places we do not dwell. A place we no longer understand, the place we never look at. What this river gives, what it allows, is a full stare at the creature lurking in our minds eye. We all know the creature, the one of our soul. It sits in cracked windows, all shadow and cold. It dances for no one. Its pleasure is fraught. With dangers and annoyance finding the secret it entombs. Our life keeps on living, as if we didn’t know, the place we call our soul and the access we fight for.
This is the reason and the process alone. This place called the Stikine a place to take us home.
image Max K
The monsoon rains have kept flowing, but the break in the sky shows us the amazing views from the small town of Ilam. All tea fields flowing across the eye line, in the flow below, the clear river cuts a path all the way to the highway. Pure Land Expeditions In association with Nara, Rafting Star Outdoor School and the Heritage trail for the Tourist board put together a descent of the Mai Khola to promote the Eastern area of Nepal. This is a lesser traveled area, 18 hours on a bus from the chaos of Kathmandu and on the border with India.
What we found was a river, unspoilt by roads, away from trails. We passed the clear rapids, all now vivid etched to memory. Each village greeted us with shouts of Namaste and smiles. Welcomed to the family puja we settled to lunch, the pray for the harvest and the passing of the rains. As the walls closed in and the gorge section appeared we rested for the night. A humble settlement of houses, a bed, a meal and talk of developing the area for tourism – positive and negative. Day two and the river floated on. The trees the hiding place for the odd monkey. Crisp boil lines and waves were surfed. As the cremation ghats wafted smoke in the distance we took out – welcomed in our descent.
I short Ilam district has lots to offer, to raft – kayak – trek and explore. It is away from the Lonely Planet guidebook reader radar
Are you a river soaked raft guide? Are you an aquatic devil in a kayak? Is mountain guiding your thing? Are you a sales deva or a bookings dude? Due to rapid expansion we are looking for freelance guides, booking officers and sales agents across all sectors, Raft – Kayak – Trek – Explore. Posts are freelance and based in Kathmandu and North Wales. If you think you have the skills we are looking for please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a covering email and outdoor based CV.
See you in the flow
Daz and the team