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France Day 14 Thursday the Isere by Helen S

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A person in a white water rafting Description automatically generated

2023 LCC Alpine Paddling Holiday

Day 14 Thursday the Isere by Helen S

The Isere is subject to releases from the Tignes barrage therefore, the day’s paddle was put back until 12.30pm. Prior to this, we all headed up to the Slalom course at Bourg Saint Maurice to have a look at the world-renowned championship slalom site. 

Before EDF turned the taps off after 10.30am, the course was looking very chunky indeed and much steeper than the Argentiere. site. Upstream of the bridge which crosses the course, the river looked a lot harder with steeper drops and bigger holes, not a place for the psychologically unprepared.

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Cameron on the slalom course at Isere

Following a long shuttle, the taps were turned on again and we cracked on. Stuart, Mike and Cameron started beyond the top of the course and picked the rest of us up  us up at the bottom of the slalom site. The water was big and bouncy again as we headed off down river. The big and bouncy theme continued with continuous grade 3 water taking us past our campsite and beyond. 

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Helen paddling hard in the rapids below the gorge

With no let-up in the big and bouncy, things became somewhat more serious as we approached Aime and the famous grade 4 Aime rapids. The water became even bigger, faster and continuous as we dug and boofed our way through, what seemed like some very intimidating rapids. Eventually, the furious pace eased up a bit as grade 4 settled into grade 3 water. This was a chance to catch our breath and to contemplate the consequences of taking a swim in the section we had just paddled. 

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Good volume grade 3-4 paddling on the Isere

After all the excitement, we came to a very picturesque gorge with some incredible rock formations. We weren’t sure what to expect here, but it was a relatively calm environment compared to the previous section. Soon after the gorge, the river opened up and we arrived at our get out at the village of Centron. This was a fantastic paddle grade 3/4 paddle but be prepared to dig in at the Aime rapids. 

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