The first commercial rafting trip on China's Yangtze River is a Provo expedition leader's way of proving there are still untried adventures on the planet Earth.
"There's no question this is the biggest adventure in river running," said Steve Currey, of Steve Currey Expeditions, who has obtained permission from the Chinese government to take 20 paying customers on an eight-day raft trip on the Yangtze--the longest river in Asia and the fourth-longest river in the world.Some of the world's white water challenges are already well known to Curry, who leads expeditions on the Colorado River, Chile's Bio Bio River, the Petrohue and Futaleafu rivers in Chile and Argentina and the Landsborough and Shotover rivres in New Zealand.
"The Bio Bio has the biggest white waters in the world, but we've done it for 10 years. It's getting old hat," he said.
Adventure has its price, of course. The river run alone will cost interested participants $10,000. The 10 people who have signed on so far paid a cool $15,000 for the monthlong trip that also includes land tours from Beijing to Tibet. "All of them have been on a dozen trips with me throughout the world. There's no one that's new to rafting," Currey said.
One exploratory trip in 1986 preceded Currey's commercial venture, scheduled from Aug. 3 to Sept. 2.
The government-sponsored China Sport Service Co. helped organize Currey's trip and will have a Chinese national guide and an oarsman accompanying the western rafters.
Currey said the rafts will put in at Yushu at an elevation of just over 12,000 feet, much lower than the 1986 expedition, which started at 17,500 feet. About 150 miles downstream, the rafters will leave the river at Dege.