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Day 08 Friday: Upper Guisane by Chris Murphy

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2023 LCC Alpine Paddling Holiday

Day 08 Friday: Upper Guisane by Chris Murphy

On Friday morning we all set off for the river Guisane and the put in at Le Casset, on the way up to the Col du Lautaret.  This is a pretty river that winds its way down the valley towards Briancon, through the different villages that make up the Serre Chevalier ski resort. We put on in four different groups and made our way down the top section which was a bit bony in places. This part of the river is pretty easy but can be quite fast with few eddies. The hardest part was trying to make sure that we evaded as many of the rocks as possible in the shallows. We all collected at the notorious “S bends” section to form a plan of attack.

S bends is a bit of a challenge because the river speeds up and there are several drops and many large boulders which means that picking a path through is not always straight forward. You may decide to boof a rock only to find another lurking behind it forcing evasive action. I have paddled this stretch a few times and have come a cropper before. I think the Chris V’s “S Bends” score was locked at 2-2 going into this paddle so I was determined to come out on top this time.

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We set up bank support and went down group by group. I set off in the last group with Ollie and Lewis behind.  “S Bends” is quite a long section and although my line over the initial part was pretty good it became a bit more ragged further down. After a few frantic moves and close shaves, I shot past Stu and Kurt attempting to rescue a pinned boat minus its paddler. Finally, I entered the final drop and despite knowing it was there, still managed to hit the submerged rock on the left, before eddying out on river right. Yes, 3-2 to me!  

After a short delay while we reunited paddlers with boats, we continued onwards. We passed through the commune of La Salle-les-Alpes and eventually reached the get out at L’Envers. This would be the put in for those wanting to test themselves later on the Lower Gusaine, but for most it was lunch and the end of the days paddle. As it was also the end of our weeks paddling, John, Kirk, Ste, and I headed back up to La Salle-les-Alpes to don some straw hats and sample a cold beer as we reflected on another great LCC trip.

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