Hey all you paddlers and water junkies: Imagine a river with steep, big water rapids like the Stikine in British Columbia running through deep-walled canyons like the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It’s understandably hard to visualize, but these pictures of Kyrgyzstan’s Sary-Jaz River should help. The river begins at the Inichelk Glacier—one of the largest non-polar icecaps—and descends through inescapable rapids and steep canyons that narrow to nearly one meter across in the tightest sections. That’s a description to send most people running. For others, like photographer and paddler Erik Boomer plus a team of proven international kayakers, it sounds like an invitation. Here, Boomer shares a few of his favorite images from the crew’s September expedition down one of Asia’s most difficult rivers.
Photo: Days felt short in the canyon as the sun would quickly pass and jump from one wall to the other. Here, paddler Jared Meehan flows into the shade.