Published on December 8th, 2020 | by Kayak Session
1st D. Pakidaille – Val D’Isère, France (Entry #49 Short Film of the Year Awards 2020)
Who would have known that I would run one of the gnarliest rapid of my life less than a kilometer from home ? That in between the two very famous ski resorts of Val d’Isère and Tignes, there is a 3km gorge that looks just like the amazing rivers of Pakistan. And that in this gorge there is a huge ephemeral rapid which forms when heavy snowmelt meets the perfect level in the lake reservoir. There is only a couple days where the water covers up the bottom unrunnable chaos of rocks without flooding the entire rapid.
I had previously scouted this rapid a numerous time and I always though it was un-runnable. This section is full of metal bars, siphons and sharp rocks. But then Covid came uninvited forcing us to either step down, do the same old thing, or get creative and think differently. With a lot of creativity, hours of scouting, thinking, re-thinking, and a good dose of frustration following 2 months of strict lockdown, I started seeing a line. I just needed the conditions to align so I just started checking water levels several times a day. It was close to get good the evening before so I walk up at 6am to look at it and managed to rally a crew by 9am.
That day was the day. I convinced my dad to set safety without having a chance to scout the rapid, we called Martin to cover the upper part of the rapid, and I had none other than local mountain guides Tiphaine Duperier and Boris Langenstein to help coordinate logistics and help if any rope work were to be involved. At 10am that same day they were heading out to Chamonix and they completed their own first descent on La Blanche de Peuterey the next day.
By: Nouria Newman From: France